Month: March 2016

Israel – Nationwide Launch of Emergency SmartPhone App Provides Video from the Scene

Reporty-logo

Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister, is the Chairman of this Technology Company.

Reporty Website

“The Reporty Homeland Security platform is uniquely poised to enhance critical response to emergency events and to transform the way the public accesses police, fire, medical and rescue services in crisis situations, as well as essential city services in non-emergency situations.”

Israel has launched this new platform nationwide. Responders are now able to view  live video from the scene and chat via text.

Reporty states that,  for calls made inside a building, an algorithm uses nearby radio frequencies, like WiFi signals, to determine the caller’s position, and its crowdsourcing technology makes it more exact as more people sign on.

The success of this launch will depend on Citizens downloading the app to their SmartPhone. The company suggests this technology could of great value to countries like the US.

Jerusalem Post Article

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Security and IP Networks – John Mcafee

John Mcafee Perspective

john

As we discuss the need to provide secure IP networks in the world of Public Safety , this article by John Mcafee, the creator of the first commercial antivirus program and no stranger to controversy, is out there.

John has led a wild life full of tabloid material. This post, totally correct or not, is worth a read, as it it surely makes one think!

John Mcafee Perspective

Transitioning to a Broadband State of Mind

 

BBSOM (1)

 

More bandwidth!  When using a computer, FAST is a great feeling.

I’ve met probably a half a dozen individuals who have transitioned away from traditional analog phone lines (CAMA Trunks) in their 911 Call Centers (Public Safety Answering Point- PSAP) and proudly speak about how much bandwidth they  now have with the new IP based system.

100Mbps to every PSAP!

I comment that they must have very large 911 centers. In my latest discussion with an individual who implemented 100 Mbps to all eleven of his PSAP’s, the answer was “there are ten 2 position centers and one with 4 positions.”

In the legacy world, a Manager with financial responsibility for a 2 position PSAP would never terminate 20 incoming 911 phone lines. Two people staffing that center could not handle 20 simultaneous 911 calls. Also, those 20 phone lines would fit nicely on a single T1 circuit, which is approximately 1.5 Mbps. There are formulas that have been established for years to size the required number of phone circuits into a 911 center .

There are also formulas for calculating how much bandwidth is needed for voice in the IP world- we’ve been doing this in the US for over 15 years. And this is the important factor- today as we move to IP in the world of 911, we are usually only handling voice. Text should also be calculated, but it is very minimal. Bandwidth is expensive.

What I am seeing today is a ‘practice’ where solutions are not being engineered. In the example of a PSAP that could easy have run on a 1.5Mbps T1 circuit in the legacy world and is now operating on a 100Mbps circuit, its similar to building a 1500 lane superhighway and trying to terminate it into a 2 car garage. With  voice and text, you will never use all of those lanes.

Let’s ballpark the cost- on the State of Florida contract the 2 Mbps local loop charge (the smallest available) is $155/month. A 100 Mbps local loop charge is $1,768- a $1,613 per month difference. $1,613 that maybe I did not need to spend. With a 36 month contract that’s $58,068 per PSAP. Include all ten 2 position PSAPs in the example above and we have $580,680 over 36 months – 911 funds wasted.

Walk into a PSAP, staff today are answering phone calls and dealing with text messages, not streaming NetFlix.

Every deployment is unique. The bottom line is make sure that your solution is engineered. Make the vendor/consultant look at your historical usage, make them show you the numbers and don’t fall for the ‘more bandwidth is better’ sales pitch.

Today, increasing the bandwidth on an IP circuit, if you need to do that in the future,  can often be performed by a simple software command. This should allow for increased bandwidth, as needed, as we introduce broadband based services into the PSAP ecosystem.

 

 

 

ESInet as a Service (EaaS)

There is a desire by numerous groups and agencies (NENA, APCO, FCC, DHS, DOT to name a few) that, as a nation, we transition as  quickly as possible to NextGen 9-1-1 technologies.

FCC

Recently, my team and I spent the day here in Palm Beach County with Alan Benway, Executive Director of Product Management for AT&T ESInet and Mike Nelson, VP and Sr Technical Officer for West Safety Services (formerly Intrado).  West pioneered the Field of Dreams concept for ESInets- “build it and they will come.”

Press Release

After receiving an in-depth technical dive into the offering,  I believe that the West/ AT&T  ESInet as a Service (EaaS) offering, rather than a RFP based- build a dedicated system model- will gain tremendous momentum. It simplifies an extremely complex aspect of  moving to NG9-1-1. West has other Partners reselling their current two node offering (e.g. Motorola and CenturyLink), but AT&T is investing millions in buildout, adding nodes and aggregation points across the US.

I believe that this partnership will inspire others to provide a similar EaaS product offering. Now, if we can encourage State level funding, we can get some serious traction.

Simply plug in..

 

From the Users Perspective

As consumers, we regularly embrace new technologies. There is no extended training process, (well- maybe, if you are old enough to remember the flashing 12:00 on a VCR) and certainly no requirement that you understand all of the complex technology behind it.

In the 911 community, however, there is a push to educate everyone on how the proposed Next Generation system will work. I recently attended an event where a vendor, with the best of intentions, gave a very animated ‘educational overview.’ A large group of their employees wore (or were forced to wear) signs with NG9-1-1 acronyms (LIS, LoST, ECRF, etc.).  They then moved around the room as they took turns walking the 911 ‘call’ through the proper sequence.

As attendees were leaving this demonstration,  I heard a number of comments such as ‘what was that all about’, others that I choose not to include in this post.

This same type of instruction scenario happens throughout the country.

A certain segment of the 911 community welcomes in-depth technical training on the detailed network aspects of NextGen but, for the vast majority, it is of little interest. I have always thought that someone needs to focus on the users (911 call takers and management). How will this new technology impact operations, etc. The reality is that as users, we just want it to work...

APCO has announced a new initiative, Project 43 which is focused on the user, “Practitioner-led effort prepares for the paradigm shift in public safety communications”

APCO Project 43

I’ve applied to participate, this should be  interesting.

  

 

A Solid ESInet Product Launch

Press Release

February 29, 2016

Here in Palm Beach County, we launched the first ESInet in the US with AT&T. I was told early on in my career “with technology, someone needs to go first- always make sure that it isn’t you.”

Fast forward five years and everyone in this industry has learned ALOT.

What I like about this strategy is that it makes sense- AT&T will build a strong, robust IP network and West will provide its stable, proven applications. The other aspect is that AT&T will be able to drive the IP transition of 9-1-1 and, in the process, speed up the retirement of all of those legacy central office ‘Selective Routers’, which are manufacturer discontinued products.

There are a lot of technical and support details that should be forthcoming over the next months.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet the Exec team and believe that this will be a very successful partnership.