MCP Insights

How Public Safety Agencies are Navigating Change and Accelerating Progress

Posted on August 8, 2019 by Morgan Sava

MCP’s Model for Advancing Public Safety is Helping Agencies Build a Blueprint for Today and What They Can Become

Last year, the 911 Center that serves Harford County, Maryland, was having a hard time recruiting and retaining telecommunicators, a problem that is quite common in emergency communications centers (ECCs) across the country.

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APCO Preview: This Year's Hot Topic Will Be the Growing Cybersecurity Threat

Posted on July 31, 2019 by Glenn Bischoff

During the decade that I covered the public safety communications sector for Urgent Communications magazine, I always looked forward to the national trade shows and conferences, such as the one that the Association of Public-Safety Officials (APCO) will host in Baltimore in a couple of weeks. In fact, I and my colleague Donny Jackson spent most of our time in the educational sessions because we felt that was the best place to learn where the sector was heading. As important, those sessions are where one learns about the sector’s biggest challenges and their potential solutions.

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Three Tips for Navigating Public Safety Vendor Consolidations

Posted on July 10, 2019 by Mark Moloney

Vendor consolidations happen all the time across all business sectors, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is to eliminate the competition. Other times it is to expand into new markets. Still other times it is to acquire new technology—generally, it is far less expensive and time-consuming for a company to acquire technology than to develop it on its own.

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The Three Components of an Effective Vendor Support Agreement

Posted on April 18, 2019 by Mark Perkins

When it comes to public safety vendor management, times have changed—dramatically.

A decade and a half ago, information technology (IT) managers and agency leadership dealt principally with a small number of support vendors. Service agreements were simple and easy to understand. Today, in stark contrast, the landscape is much different. The average agency has nearly 30 agreements—covering a plethora of systems—on which to stay current. The vendor support agreements themselves have become dramatically more complex. And many of the personalized relationships that were formed in the past no longer exist. What’s more common today is that customer support is provided by network operations centers or help desks where service and troubleshooting might be addressed by a different technician every time a new ticket is opened.

So, what does it take to be more effective at navigating the complexity of vendor support and management in today’s public safety communications environment? How can you begin to trust your maintenance and service providers again?

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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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