APCO 2017 Trends and Expectations

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APCO 2017 International Conference

The annual APCO International Conference is an event that we look forward to each year. The event consistently brings together some of the best and brightest 9-1-1 and public safety industry thought-leaders, both from the public and private sectors.

What will be most satisfying about attending the APCO 2017 conference event is the chance to visit with our customers and hear how our solutions are positively impacting their ability to respond to a crisis and improving the outcome of real emergencies. By reconnecting with our customers we’re also given the opportunity to discuss the challenges they are facing that we can potentially address through additional features or new ways to leverage existing product functionality. Each time we connect with public safety practitioners (regardless of whether they are yet a Rave customer) it both reaffirms our mission and re-energizes all of our efforts.

At the APCO 2017 International Conference, a forum will be provided for us attendees to learn more about the latest industry trends, connect with those working hard to push the envelope, and give us an opportunity to contribute our thoughts and expertise.

What are the trends we expect to see at the APCO 2017 International Conference?

Data Integration & Visualization

Location-based dataAs a greater number of PSAPs are transitioning to a next generation infrastructure and making text-to-911 available, the next question is often, “What’s next? Photos, video, sensor data?” The implications of an IP-based backbone are powerful but also potentially troubling for PSAP operations. The most common concerns include:

  • The time required and potential distractions involved in processing additional information
  • The need to train telecommunicators on multiple new systems and interfaces
  • The potential impacts – psychological or otherwise – that some of these sources of data, such as photos and video will have on the workforce

We are beginning to see a welcome shift in the philosophy of major 9-1-1 systems and data providers to address the first two common concerns. Specifically, Rave and many of our new partners recognize that a single solution is incapable of providing all sources of additional information during an emergency call.

As Rave will soon announce, we will be making Rave Facility profile information available through a major CAD vendor. Our partner recognizes the value of crowdsourcing current information about schools, businesses and other commercial properties and providing that in an automated fashion during a 9-1-1 call and response. Rave recognizes the fact that this particular CAD vendor has a large footprint and provides a solution that telecommunicators leverage on every single call. This partnership integration will allow Rave to surface new critical data through a feature in an existing Rave Mobile Safety application – thus requiring minimal additional training, equipment, desktop real estate, etc.

Public Safety Broadband Network & Body Cameras

A public safety broadband network is closer to becoming reality through the efforts of FirstNet. The opening of this data pipeline creates incredible opportunities to move massive amounts of data in ways that just aren’t possible today. Many of these have the potential to impact 9-1-1. One that I find compelling and see on the horizon is the streaming of live video from the field from in-car video to body worn cameras.

When I worked for the City of Sandy Springs in Georgia, our police department piloted the first generation of Taser’s AXON system. As impressive as the system’s capabilities were, the police chief and I were equally interested in the potential to stream live video back to either the PSAP or a real time crime center for the purposes of “virtual backup.” Events unfold rapidly and sometimes unexpectedly in the field, so the possibility of officers having access to virtual backup when they are patrolling alone or in situations where actual backup is distant could have a significant impact on officer safety.

Location-Based Services

The availability and accuracy of location-based services have been top of mind for a number of years, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Challenges still exist with locating 911 callers but emerging technology is beginning to have a significant impact.

One such example is Rave’s recent partnership with RapidSOS to deliver enhanced location data through the Rave 911 Suite from a native wireless 9-1-1 call. There are also needs for better in-building location information and even z-axis or elevation data to assist locating callers who might be located in a large office complex or not on street level. We see some of these challenges starting to get addressed through Wi-Fi access point mapping initiatives.

Check out Mapping Indoor Spaces for Emergency Response to learn more about the challenges of delivering accurate indoor location information to 9-1-1 and how modern technology is providing the solution.

PSAP Consolidation & Operational Efficiency

For the past several years, regions and states have realized the potential for operational efficiency and economies of scale through PSAP consolidation. While the topic itself can be a bit of a lightning rod, we are seeing momentum building across the country with consolidating small, local PSAPs into either a new or existing multi-jurisdictional facility. The cost savings of many of these consolidations has allowed for more rapid deployments of NG9-1-1 and other novel technologies, to actually enhance service delivery and provide better redundancy and business continuity.

Some areas have taken the approach a step further by outsourcing specific functions, such as IT – or more – the entire management and operation of the PSAP to a private contractor.

I’ll be presenting the potential benefits and pitfalls to avoid during my Developing Public-Private Partnerships That Work session at APCO 2017 on Wednesday afternoon at 1:45 pm. If this is a topic of interest to you, I would enjoy having you join me for that discussion.

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If you are attending the APCO 2017 International Conference event in Denver, CO, swing by Rave Mobile Safety’s booth #1057 in the APCO Exhibit Hall. We want to learn more about the challenges you are facing and share with you the capabilities of the Rave platform.

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