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These Are 2022’s Most Important Public Safety Trends

MCP Insights asked the firm’s subject-matter experts to predict what will occur this year concerning communications technologies, operations, and governance in the public safety sector (law enforcement, fire/rescue, emergency medical, and 911) and the public sector (government and justice). Here’s what they said:

Take This Step to Move Next Generation 911 Interconnection Forward

Next generation 911 (NG911) networks represent a huge leap forward compared with legacy 911 systems. They locate emergency callers more efficiently and accurately because they leverage geospatial routing. Because they are broadband-enabled, they can transport incredibly large files, e.g., video, that would choke legacy systems. And because they are Internet Protocol (IP)-based, they enable seamless shifting of a 911 center’s operations to another center in a bug-out situation.

After Radio System Implementation, There Is Still Much to Do

A radio system implementation is an enormous undertaking that requires months, sometime years, of planning followed by years of deployment. The process starts with development of technical specifications and creation of procurement documents, usually in the form of a request for proposals. Vendor responses then must be scored and evaluated. A vendor must be selected, and a contract negotiated, including performance requirements. The system then must be designed, staged, built, and tested to ensure that it is performing as designed. Finally, the system goes live.

And that’s when the real work begins.

Once the new system is operating, it must be managed and maintained, which requires a considerable time investment and an equally considerable amount of expertise and experience. Mission Critical Partners has developed a checklist of 67 tasks that must be performed to effectively manage and maintain a radio system, with most of these tasks falling to the agency to perform.

9/11 Two Decades Later — Much Done, Much Still to Do

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, as well as the hijacking of a third commercial airliner that day, United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers confronted the terrorists. The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities and more than 25,000 injuries. It is the deadliest single incident for firefighters and police officers in the U.S., who respectively lost 340 and 72 members that day. It remains the deadliest terrorist attack our history.

Learn More About How Drones Are Being Used in Public Safety

Over the last two decades, I have written now and then about a relative who was a career firefighter for the city of Chicago. I am writing about him again today because he’s the reason I’m so excited about a panel discussion that I’ll be moderating in a couple of weeks during MCP’s second-annual Conference for Advancing Public Safety (CAPS).

The Seven Best Cybersecurity Resolutions for the New Year

Cybersecurity continues to be a persistent problem for government agencies, including those operating in the public safety and justice sectors. These entities must be constantly vigilant in their efforts to prevent breaches, a task made incredibly difficult given the ingenuity of cyberattackers, the fact that the number of attacks continues to increase at a dizzying pace, and the reality that attack vectors evolve seemingly by the hour. Nevertheless, while fighting the battle isn’t easy, it is essential.

Be Wary of Using Commercial Broadband Networks for Public Safety Voice

More than ever, broadband communications networks are essential to the public safety and justice communities. Such networks easily transmit highly bandwidth-intensive files, e.g., video and building floor plans, that would choke a narrowband network. Such files enhance situational awareness for incident commanders and other officials—as well as emergency responders and jail/prison officers—by orders of magnitude, which in turn helps them do their jobs better.

But there’s a flip side to broadband communications networks of which the public safety community needs to take seriously. Such networks typically are owned and operated by commercial entities, and because of this public safety agencies that contract for broadband services typically do not receive the performance guarantees and—even more importantly—the visibility into these networks that they’re used to receiving from the networks that they own and operate, for example, their land mobile radio (LMR) systems.

Consequently, public safety agencies should proceed carefully when they consider whether to contract with any commercial entity for broadband services.

Public Safety Needs to Make Itself Heard Regarding the FCC’s 6-GHz Order

In April, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order that enables unlicensed devices to share 1200 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band, to meet the growing demands for wireless broadband services.

The FCC cited in its order a Cisco report that projects mobile data traffic will more than double between 2017 and 2022. It also cited an Ericsson report that predicts the average amount of data per month used by a smartphone will increase from 7 gigabytes (GB) in 2018 to 39 GB by 2024. A large portion of this mobile data traffic is expected to be delivered on an unlicensed basis utilizing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and similar protocols. 

Life at MCP: Meet Mark Athearn

One never knows when the proverbial light bulb is going to turn on. For Mark Athearn, who recently was promoted to consulting lead within MCP’s wireless communications services market segment team, it happened when he was in the U.S. Navy, when he was on his hands and knees scrubbing the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

The Case for Private Long-Term Evolution Networks for Power Utilities

Next month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote on reconfiguring the 900 MHz band for the deployment of broadband services and technologies. This is an important issue that Mission Critical Partners (MCP) has been tracking for some time, and we are encouraged to see a conclusion on the horizon. 

The Role of LTE in the Utilities Sector

Southern Company is one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the United States, covering a large portion of the southeast. The company is known for being an early adopter of telecommunications technologies. Its subsidiaries include Southern Telecom and Southern Linc, companies dedicated to serving the telecommunications needs of power subsidiaries and charged with reselling any surplus capacity to outside entities. The Southern-owned, multistate, Motorola Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) primarily was used by energy companies, but also by other commercial enterprises and even by some public safety entities.

Utility Communications Networks Resemble a Spider’s Web

Last fall I attended a conference presented by the Utility Broadband Alliance (UBBA), which caters to utility companies that are interested in using wireless broadband technologies for their operational needs.