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Chicomm Blog

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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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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Keep Your Cops Out of Court!

Posted by Jill McNamara on Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Serve and Protect Your Police Force with In Car Digital Video Recording

First things first. For those non-believers and late-bloomers still thinking, “Why record video?” Think about disputes between offenders and officers…how do you determine what really happened? What about all those court dates for minor offenses that are keeping officers in court instead of out on patrol. Think about all the liability risks that come with civilians, old and young, using smartphones with cameras that can record YOU. These devices and applications tie to the lawsuits you may hear about in the news where offenders are giving officers a bad name. Are you keeping up with these concerns? How are you addressing them? While smartphones and instant communication may have started predominantly with the younger generation, it has prevailed across the board in all agencies and to people of all ages. Technology continues to evolve at such high speeds that you can no longer afford to refute the revolution. Besides, with the constant change of technology, digital video isn’t really a luxury anymore, it’s becoming a necessity.

Tags: Technology, Next Generation Public Safety, Video Surveillance

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Future Concern for Public Safety: Funding

Every year we make the glorious trip to Las Vegas to attend the Motorola Expo and follow up with IWCE (International Wireless Communications Expo).   For geeks like me it lends to understanding new technologies and reviewing what new products and innovations the two way radio community develops.

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

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Addison Public Safety Makes Strides in Technology

Posted by Jill McNamara on Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is an excerpt from an interview with Delores Temes, Deputy Director of the Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center(ACDC). For more information about ACDC visit their Facebook page or their website.

Tell us about some of the technological changes that have been happening in your department.

    "With technology moving so fast, governments and police departments don’t always move as fast, mostly because it costs so much money. So we are usually at the back end of changes and technology. But some of the things we’ve done internally are look at the processes in place and what we do on a day to day basis, and try to apply technology to those things. For example, with parking permissions, we used to fill out a form by hand and one copy would go to the records department and one would go to the officer on the street, etc.  So we asked, how can we take things to the next level? We need to be able to e-mail that document and attach it to an MDC laptop that’s in the squad cars so the officer that’s in that beat gets an email message. Plus we now have a remote printer to get things to our remote location in Bensenville, and it's e-mailed to both records departments. It seems like something that’s no big deal, but when you have a process like this for every task you do, it ends up being really inefficient. So migrating to these new technologies and new ways to do things makes things more convenient, and now our dispatchers can do everything from sitting at their consoles.  

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

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Top 3 myths of Texting to 9-1-1

Posted by Jill McNamara on Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is a guest blog provided by Smart911 and written by Todd Piett, Chief Product Officer at Rave Mobile Safety. Visit the bottom of this post for more information about Todd. You can follow him on Twitter @toddpiett.

The public safety community is under increasing pressure to find a solution that meets growing public expectations around the ability to Text-to-911. The FCC is actively soliciting feedback on interim solutions while the industry continues working on and evaluating options for texting with NG9-1-1. Unfortunately, misconceptions about texting abound. As a company we have been delivering emergency communications via SMS and have years of data as well as operational experience with the realities of text messaging. We are also actively involved in research and development on text via RTT utilizing the protocols envisioned in NG9-1-1. Based on our experience, here are the top 3 myths:

Myth: Text messaging to 9-1-1 is available today or will be magically enabled by NG9-1-1.

Tags: Next Generation Public Safety, Safety Solutions, FCC

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