MCP Insights

This Weekend's GPS Rollover Event Requires Public Safety Communication's Attention

Posted on April 5, 2019 by Dennis Matzen

Global Positioning System (GPS)-based time sources are used throughout the public safety sector to synchronize a wide array of systems and equipment, including radio consoles, voice recorders, and computer-aided dispatch, fire alarm and video surveillance systems. Such time sources, known as master clocks, also ensure that every system used by a public safety agency generates an accurate, consistent timestamp for every emergency event that requires a law enforcement, fire/rescue and/or emergency medical services (EMS) response.

An event that will occur in two days—Saturday, April 6—threatens to throw things out of sync, at least to some degree. GPS marks time by transmitting signals that indicate the current week and the number of seconds into that week. That data is then converted by the various systems and equipment into the more recognizable format of year, month, day and time of day.

Because the field that represents the current week is a 10-bit binary number, a total of 1,024 weeks can transpire—roughly 19.7 years—before GPS resets the week value to zero. In the world of GPS, this time period is known as an epoch. The first epoch began on January 6, 1980 and rolled over on August 21, 1999; the second epoch will roll over in two days.

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Life at MCP: Meet Heather McGaffin

Posted on March 14, 2019 by Morgan Sava

Our people and culture make Mission Critical Partners (MCP) a great place to work. Our "Life at MCP" series introduces our team members, the role they play in our organization and their passion for helping the public safety industry thrive.

One thing that differentiates the team of specialized professionals at MCP is the fact that many of them came from the “other side.”

Nearly half of MCP’s subject matter experts were former public safety answering point (PSAP) managers or first responders who have dedicated their entire career to supporting the mission. With them comes specialized industry experience and a unique perspective on what clients really want in order to realize project success.

One such example is Heather McGaffin. Heather is a Communications Consultant at MCP, where she works primarily on next generation 911 (NG911) projects. With her comes the operational experience she’s earned from rising up the ranks in the PSAP environment. Her career began as a telecommunicator and she quickly rose to the role of assistant chief of communications in a Maryland PSAP where she worked until she joined MCP in 2015. Today, she plays a unique part in helping clients along their NG911 journey—focusing on the human aspect of NG911, which includes training and continuing education so that telecommunicators and PSAP administrators can thrive in an NG911 environment.

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Public Safety Cloud Solutions: Clear Sailing Ahead

Posted on March 8, 2019 by Chad Brothers

Do not be alarmed—those are not storm clouds on the horizon.

What you are seeing is the front line of cloud-based solutions entering the 911 technology marketplace. While cloud-based computing in its current form has been used effectively for more than a decade in non-public-safety markets, the 911 community has been glacier-like in adopting this technology. This largely is because 911 officials have been reticent to trust that cloud-hosted solutions can meet the rigorous demands of operating 24 x 7 x 365 with high reliability and availability—which is essential in a 911 center. 

However, cloud solutions have proved that they can achieve this high standard with other mission-critical entities, such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Defense missile systems. They also have proved to be quite advantageous from implementation, maintenance, scalability, disaster-recovery and cost perspectives.

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10 Years of MCP: An Interview with Len Kowalski, Co-Founder

Posted on February 25, 2019 by Glenn Bischoff

Our clients’ mission has made this much more than a job

In previous posts, MCP Insights shared the memories and perspectives of two co-founders—Kevin Murray and Brian Bark—regarding the firm’s 10th anniversary, which will be celebrated throughout 2019. In this post, the third co-founder, Len Kowalski, who today is MCP’s chief operations officer, shares his thoughts.

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Topics: 10 Years of MCP

An Important Milestone: 10 Years of Mission Critical Partners

Posted on February 14, 2019 by Morgan Sava

This month is very special for Mission Critical Partners: it’s the month we celebrate 10 years of being in business.

A decade ago, our co-founders—Kevin Murray, Brian Bark, and Len Kowalski—started the firm in makeshift offices above their garages and in their basements. They were joined shortly thereafter by David F. Jones and Dave Boyce. Together, the team of five worked countless hours and weekends to build a company consisting of innovators, engineers, subject-matter experts, former emergency responders and 911 center managers, and project managers, who share a common passion—improving life-safety outcomes. Since their humble beginning in 2009, the founders had a vision of growing the firm to 75 employees, the size they believed would give it influence in shaping the future of public safety communications.

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