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A Few Words of Praise for the National 911 Program’s Laurie Flaherty

On Friday, December 17, Laurie Flaherty, the longtime coordinator of the National 911 Program, will retire. That will be a sad day for the 911 community and for me personally. I first got to know Laurie when I was editor-in-chief of Urgent Communications. Our paths crossed often over the years at conferences, usually when I was covering an educational session where she was speaking. Inevitably, I would make a beeline to her as soon as the session ended, at which time she would patiently answer every question that I had, generously giving me all of the time that I needed.

Broadband Could Be the Key to Unlocking Federal Funds for NG911 Implementations

It has been a few weeks since Congress reduced the amount of federal funding for Next Generation 911 (NG911) implementations in the Build Back Better Act — also known as the Budget Reconciliation Act —from $10 billion to $470 million. Also included is $20 million for administrative costs associated with the grant program that will disperse the money, $9 million to establish an NG911 cybersecurity center and $1 million for establishing an NG911 advisory board. The House passed this legislation on November 19 and it now goes to the Senate.

There seems to be a considerable amount of handwringing about what slashing NG911 funding by roughly 95 percent means for the future of this vital technology. That’s understandable. NG911 represents a quantum leap forward compared with legacy 911 systems — an apt analogy is that the former is an airplane while the latter is a horse and buggy.

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.

Data Integration Infographic Brings a Vast Technology Ecosystem Into Perspective

The technology ecosystem that exists in the public-safety/justice community is vast, complex and powerful. Because of its vastness and complexity, we developed an infographic to help clients more easily grasp it. Here’s what it looks like:

Next Week’s CAPS Explores Public-Safety Opportunities & Challenges

Having attended dozens of educational conferences over the decade that I served as editor-in-chief of Urgent Communications and Fire Chief magazines, I know an excellent one when I see it—and I can report without fear of contradiction that the second-annual Conference for Advancing Public Safety (CAPS)—being presented by Mission Critical Partners (MCP) on June 15-16—is shaping up to be an excellent educational event.

Leading by Example—T-Mobile Steps Up for Public Safety

This year was plagued by much hardship and sorrow, yet heartwarming stories and demonstrations of great leadership abound. From the heroic frontline workers battling the coronavirus to the pharmaceutical companies’ development of life-changing vaccines in record time, leaders are rising to the challenges. Similarly, the public safety community has had its fair share of challenges in 2020, especially those related to implementing Next Generation 911 and its life-saving capabilities, but now, as we wind down the year, an unsuspecting leader in public safety has emerged—T‑Mobile.

MCP’s Nick Falgiatore Nominated for Critical Communications Leader of the Year

Three years ago, MCP’s Nick Falgiatore received an IWCE Young Professional award, which was created to showcase next-generation leaders who are shaping the future of the communications industry. Now Nick is being recognized again, having been nominated for IWCE’s Critical Communications Leader of the Year award. This program recognizes individuals whose outstanding leadership has resulted in successful critical communications implementations. MCP Insights recently chatted with Nick about what his nomination means to him, the firm and—most importantly—our clients.

Five Things Happening in Public Safety We’re Thankful for This Thanksgiving

As we kick off the start of the holiday season and give thanks for the successes of the past year, as well as the change underway in the public safety communications sector, there’s a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Here’s what we’re thankful for.

Understanding What is Good in Public Safety Communications Networks

A key component of effective emergency response is the ability for first responders to communicate with each other, and with their dispatch or control center. Not only is it critical that they can communicate across a common network platform and within the same agency, it is equally important that they have the ability to communicate with first responders from other agencies across disparate platforms. Interoperability between agencies and first responders is a critical consideration for the effectiveness of any wireless network. However, network interoperability is only the tip of the iceberg.

MCP's Top Eight Public Safety Predictions for 2019

What trends are expected to disrupt the public safety sector in 2019?

For 911 and emergency response organizations, it has never been more critical to stay ahead of the curve. In this post, Mission Critical Partners' (MCP) subject-matter experts offer their take on the advancements that will have the greatest impact on public safety’s transformation this year.

1. 5G Will Significantly Expand, Opening the Door for Transformative Capabilities that are Limited Today by Wireless Bandwidth.

Dave Sehnert, Director of Innovation and Integration (Twitter: @NG911Consultant)

“5G is expected to expand in 2019 beyond its current limited deployment, and the first wave of smartphones for 5G networks also is expected this year. 5G technology offers speeds that are 10–20 times faster than 4G LTE, and latency is reduced to a few milliseconds. 5G’s impact extends to public safety and other fields that increasingly rely on high-speed connections. Last year, one wireless carrier announced the creation of a 5G First Responder Lab that will serve as an incubator and testing ground for innovative technologies that use 5G and can be deployed for public safety use cases. With 5G, public safety communications finally will benefit from a full spectrum of new and increasingly prevalent technologies, such as sensors, wearables, smartphones, smart buildings, facial-recognition systems and drones, to name a few. The integration of data from these applications into the emergency response ecosystem will create increased situational awareness, reduced response times, and ultimately, the potential for more lives saved.”

What’s the Future of Land Mobile Radio in a FirstNet World? [Webinar]

Nick Falgiatore, an MCP subject-matter expert from the radio and wireless team and a 2017 recipient of the IWCE Young Professional award, investigated a key question on the minds of many public safety officials last month in an Above Ground Level (agl) Magazine article.

The article, “What’s the Future of Land Mobile Radio in a FirstNet World?”, discusses how the nationwide broadband network being implemented by FirstNet will eventually provide mission-critical voice, but predicts that it’s a long way off. As a result, public safety officials should consider not only investing in—but also replacing, when appropriate—their land mobile radio (LMR) system.

The Difference Between Change Management and Change Leadership In Public Safety Communications

Profound changes are coming to the public safety sector, particularly to 911 centers. Next Generation 911 systems and the nationwide public safety broadband network—which is being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)—will generate a tremendous amount of new, actionable data in real-time that dramatically will enhance situational awareness, in turn improving emergency response by leaps and bounds. In time, even more usable information generated by the billions of data-collection sensors already in place—whose numbers will reach into the trillions in the not-too-distant future—will be leveraged by 911 centers, which will become the center of the information universe, at least as it pertains to public safety.