Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate 8/22/13

Courtesy Andrew Seybold, Public Safety Advocate News

Thu Aug 22, 2013
Public Safety Advocate News-Patterns Weekly News Update

This was a busy week for many of us. APCO’s convention took place in Anaheim, CA, and it was a week of meetings, events, conference sessions, walking the show floor, and of course, many parties. From what I saw, the convention was very well attended. The sessions, including mine, were packed, the show floor was busy, and the side meetings were productive all around.

My session was on Sunday and I spoke about how to prepare for FirstNet–not only how to make use of commercial broadband but also how to start working cross-agency, what types of devices are available, what is coming, and a few pointers on how to get the very best pricing from the commercial LTE vendors. The PDF of my slides can be found here: (http://andrewseybold.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/APCOWhileWeWait-Final2.pdf).

I found it disturbing that there were so many exhibitors still pushing Voice over LTE and demonstrating their own, proprietary PTT services over LTE. I was also disappointed in the lack of tablet computers shown on the floor. Tablets will be very important for incident commanders, logistics, and even for those performing building and other types of inspections, yet they have not begun to show up in any numbers. What was on the floor was many mobile devices, call them modems, call them routers, whatever you call them, these will be the first devices installed on the network and most of the ones I saw on the floor supported the PSBN, a least one commercial network, Wi-Fi and/or 4.9-GHz, and at least USB connectivity for laptops. I was very surprised that I did not see a single LMR mobile radio with LTE onboard, which to me would be a perfect product. Most LMR mobile radios have room in them to add an LTE modem and it seems logical that this combination could save money in the long run.

One final thought about devices. The handhelds shown on the floor are all two-handed devices, which may be fine for use by a first responder not involved in an incident. However, if we expect these devices to aid first responders during an incident, we need to look at how to we can use them for information needed during the incident while requiring only one-handed operation as well as operation while wearing gloves. The handheld folks have a very long way to go in this area. Android and other graphical user interfaces are not designed to enable easy and quick one-handed access but I don’t know of any first responder who would be willing to tie up both hands during an incident.

While I was in Anaheim I started talked to as many dispatchers and dispatcher supervisors as I could find. I talked to more than fifty, asking them all the same question: “How are you going to handle incoming pictures and video from both citizens and first responders at an incident?” I received many different types of answers from, “My dispatchers will faint at the sight of blood or some other bad things,” to “My dispatchers will handle it or I will fire them” (wrong answer), to the answer I heard over and over again: “We think we will be able to handle it IF we get some advanced training and know what is or could be coming our way.” Perhaps APCO should add incoming video to its great dispatcher training sessions.

There was lots of excitement at the show, not only about FirstNet but also about Public Safety in general, and a better understanding, I believe, that LMR voice will be around for a very long time to come and that the Public Safety broadband network will augment, not replace LMR voice.

Have a great week,

Andy

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[Editor’s Note (Andrew Seybold): Voice Over LTE?]

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[Editor’s Note (Andrew Seybold): Move Voice over LTE]

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