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Chicomm Blog

We thought we’d round up some of the top highlights this week in the Communication world and give them to you in one place. Check out some buzz worthy stories happening in the wireless communication and public safety world!

1) Google Glass & Public Safety- Google Glass is a wearable technology (like a pair of glasses) with a head mounted display that would relay information to the officer’s line of sight, replicating a computer monitor. This would reduce the time an officer spends on having to radio in information, while waiting to obtain an answer. NYPD seems to be the first one to test this new technology, and you can read about it on PublicCEO.

Tags: Chicago Communications, Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety, Safety Solutions, GPS

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We thought we’d round up some of the top highlights this week in the Communication world and give them to you in one place. Check out some buzz worthy stories happening in the wireless communication and public safety world!

1) P25 (Project 25) Communication equipment- These are the set of standards used for federal, state, and local police departments set forth by APCO.  It ensures interoperability between these levels in terms of radio communication to enhance timeliness, effectiveness, and coordination during emergencies. Why is this important? FEMA opened applications for Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) on the 18th, which is only available for “the acquisition of P25 compliant equipment”. Read more of the details about the guidelines here.

Tags: Two Way Radios, Public Safety Communications, Motorola Solutions, Interoperability, Next Generation Public Safety, GPS

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911...Do you know when to call?

Posted by Kendra Newlon on Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We’ve been taught ever since childhood to dial 911 when we encounter a problem concerning the law, health, or safety. As natural as this may feel to us in a time of need, there is actually protocol into whether or not to call 911 vs. the general police/safety numbers.

Now of course, incidents that put someone’s life, safety, health, or property in immediate danger without hesitation require a 911 call.

I’m speaking of those occurrences that may not be time sensitive, or requiring emergency services. Events that happened longer than 15 minutes prior, (that do not involve an injury and suspects are not present at the scene) do not require an immediate 911 dial. Instead, contact the local authorities via their general phone number. If you don’t know your local non-emergency line, dial 411 to be connected or click on the link below. If you live in Chicago, dial 311 for non-emergency events.

Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety, Safety Solutions

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What Local Municipalities Need to Know about LTE & P25

      In a discussion I was having with one of my co-workers, I was asked about P25 (public safety's latest standard), LTE (long term evolution) and what it means to local public safety radio users. It made me think about our current radio system configurations, the abilities they have now and what is needed to get them to a higher level. Current systems used by our local governments operate analog two way radios, in essence, I talk and you listen. Similar to cellular phones in 1983, when a call was placed it was on one specific frequency. Effective, yet in our world today with ever increasing demands on information, it lends itself to being archaic. In addition with the limited frequency resources from the FCC we find adding any type of capacity to these legacy systems in a similar analog fashion is restricted by co-channel users on that frequency. Thus we are educating users on digital and what it will do for them.

Tags: Two Way Radios, Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety

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3 Trends Shaping the Future of Law Enforcement

Posted by Jill McNamara on Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Technologies in Next Generation Patrol Vehicles

     Motorola Solutions has done more than 5 years of focused research, with hundreds of ride-a-longs, focus groups, simulations and usability studies to help understand the need for police cruisers to bring critical information together in an automatic and intuitive way. Research shows users want vehicle controls that are integrated and easy to use so that actions flow quickly and intuitively when responding to an incident.

Tags: Public Safety Communications, Motorola Solutions, Technology, Next Generation Public Safety

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This article was written by Noah Reiter and originally published on Rave Mobile Safety's blog. Thank you to Noah and the Smart911 team for sharing this article with us. 

     With declining revenue and increasing demands on service, could citizen self service / eGovernment be extended into the realm of 9-1-1 and emergency servicesin order to provide better service and drive improvements in operational efficiency? A couple of weeks ago, my colleague Todd Piett blogged about measuring what matters in the public safety answering point (PSAP) environment. This post will attempt to push the envelope in a slightly different direction by examining whether PSAPs could enhance their efficiency by offering more options for citizen self service.

Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety, Maintenance/Installation/Service

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Converge, Integrate, Understand: LMR vs. LTE

Posted by Jill McNamara on Friday, November 2, 2012

      One major point to keep in mind before we dive into LTE (Long Term Evolution) & LMR (Land Mobile Radio) is that it will be many years, maybe even a decade before the transition is made and convergence plans are rolled out completely. There are understandably many concerns about the latest technologies being introduced, ranging from costs to planning to integration—and there is not a simple answer to these concerns. The convergence options made possible will have a lot of different benefits for a lot of different users that will depend on the users in each community. Therefore every agency will have its own set of possible solutions. One thing we can all agree on though is the rise of expectations for first responders and the increasing demand for the tools that make it easier for public safety personnel to do their jobs. Now let's take a step back and break down the complex capabilities of both LTE & LMR.

Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety

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Public Safety & 9-1-1 Working Together to Educate

Posted by Jill McNamara on Wednesday, October 10, 2012

 Upcoming Public Safety Conference Preview from the President of ILAPCO 


  The 28th annual Illinois Public Safety Telecommunications Association (IPSTA) Training and Conference will be held from October 21st to October 24th this year in Springfield.  This joint venture of the Illinois chapters of APCO and NENA is intended to provide excellent educational opportunities, the ability to meet with numerous vendors and a phenomenal networking experience.  Attendance at the conference typically exceeds 600 people and is considered one of the premier state conferences in the United States.

     Illinois APCO has been extremely busy this year.  Our efforts to educate public safety and beyond regarding narrowbanding has been highly successful and praised by chiefs, sheriffs and city management throughout the state.  A concept of video taping, editing and duplicating the narrowband presentation was brought to the association by Treasurer John Mostaccio.  His vision allowed over a thousand videos to be sold and distributed around the country and to attendees at the MABAS and ILEAS Conferences.

Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety

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     If we are to remake the movie The Graduate today, what one-word advice would you give to Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman’s character)?  Obviously not “plastics”.  Most people would probably say “wireless” or “mobile”.

     Indeed, the technology of wireless communication has profoundly changed the way we work, live, and interact with each other.  Along with it comes the expectation that people should be able to use their wireless devices whenever and wherever.  Commercial wireless providers (cell phone carriers) want to maximize revenue from their customers and encourage them to use their phone/tablet/laptop as much as possible.  At the same time, public safety agencies are also demanding reliable radio coverage wherever their personnel may be called upon to perform the mission critical tasks. Since the vast majority of the people spend the vast majority of their time indoor, it’s natural that RF in-building coverage has become a fast growing market in the recent years. 

Tags: Wireless Communication, Next Generation Public Safety, Bi-Directional Amplifiers

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Critical Communications Lessons Learned From NATO

 The recent events of the NATO summit in Chicago has a number of very important lessons that can be applied to our own communications plans for our businesses.

#1 - Effective communication requires immediate access in critical situations.  Messages cannot be delayed by network congestion or distances when situations are rapidly changing.

As protestors got more and more aggressive in demonstrating during the NATO summit, the Chicago Police relied on two-way radio communications to obtain orders directly from Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.  Despite the radio communications amongst officers, miscommunications did occur, and without direct access to clarify, a potentially dangerous situation did not escalate any further than absolutely necessary.  The Police maintained their professionalism, and the demonstration was allowed to resume in an appropriate manner.

Tags: Two Way Radios, Technology, Next Generation Public Safety

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