Data sharing is the foundation for public safety organizations working well together. We are pleased to introduce our data sharing overview webpage, featuring InterAct InterDEx.

InterAct InterDEx connects first responders across work shifts, departments, jurisdictions, and geographic boundaries to deliver critical data and enables collaborative communications in support of safe and effective tactical and investigative missions.

Features include:

  • Allows participating agencies to remain in complete control of their data and decide what they want to share outside of their organization
  • Fully integrates with InterAct CAD, RMS, Mobile, and OMS
  • Supports the unique security and identity concerns of the public safety community
  • Utilizes easily configurable adapters that connect to a wide variety and ever expanding set of different data sources
  • Query returns are rank ordered for relevance similar to a search in Google or Yahoo with returns available in a matter of seconds from any Internet connected device

Visit the data sharing overview page for more information.

It used to be so simple. When someone made an emergency call from their wireline phone—the only kind of phone at the time—the phone company would immediately provide the address, which was based on the billing information they had for that phone line. In a matter of seconds, the address would be displayed on the 911 telecommunicator’s screen, and moments later, first responders were on their way to the exact location of the emergency.

Everything has changed with the emergence and rapid growth of wireless phones. Today, locating 911 callers is more challenging, because wireless phones allow them to make an emergency call from almost anywhere. This was not, and still is not, a problem for calls in which the victim is conscious and knows where they are; in such circumstances, telecommunicators generally have no trouble getting the caller to provide the location needed to quickly make the appropriate dispatch decisions. Things become more problematic when emergency callers are unable to provide such information, such as when the caller is disoriented, is speech or hearing impaired, does not speak English, or is unable to speak, because doing so would place the caller in danger.

In 1997, technology emerged that provided the caller’s telephone number and the location of the cellular tower that transmitted the call, referred to as “Phase I” wireless location accuracy. Phase I represented a quantum leap forward—having the callback number for the cellphone was a huge benefit for telecommunicators, because it meant that they could call the victim back if the call was terminated for some reason—something that happened quite often in the early days of cellular communications. However, knowing the location of the cell tower was only marginally helpful, as the coverage area of a tower can be quite large. The public-safety sector clamored for something better—and rightfully so, as quickly and efficiently locating victims is a critical factor in emergency response.

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Cost savings… elasticity…. scalability…. load “bursting”…. storage on demand… These are the advertised benefits of cloud computing, and they certainly help make for a solid business case for using either third-party services or a virtualized data center.

But after the agreements are signed, systems and processes are set up, and users are retrained, something unexpected happens. The initial use cases are realized, but then additional benefits begin to emerge — sort of like the icing on the cake, but often, these unforeseen benefits provide far more value to the business than initially planned.

Over the past couple of years, I have spoken with many CIOs and executives who not only talk about the unplanned challenges, but also cite pleasant surprises as well. Here are some examples of such unexpected benefits that emerge as cloud projects roll along:

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You may not think your business has any information stored in the cloud, but it does. (Quick: Who handles your email spam filter?)

And whatever business functions you already use the cloud for are only poised to increase.

“Ultimately, I don’t think you have a whole lot of choice,” said Marty Metz, chief information officer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, speaking at a Nashville Business Journal panel on cloud computing Tuesday morning.

Building on the metaphor of in-house data storage as money kept under your bed or in a sock drawer, while the cloud is more like a bank, Metz and four other panelists focused on the costs versus benefits of cloud computing, as well as its risks and its myths.

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The cloud has created a paradigm shift that’s every bit as important as the industrial revolution for businesses and consumers, says Gary Turner, managing director, Xero UK. For firms that haven’t already made the most of it, the opportunity to re-imagine services and create innovate new ways to add real value for clients is beckoning.

The year 2014 has heralded a real turning point in the maturity of digital. Almost three billion people – 40% of the world’s population – are using the Internet according to the latest figures from the United Nations. Facebook has 1.35 billion active monthly users, which is incredible when you consider the site has only been around for ten years.

Where can digital take you?

With the web becoming a way of life around the world, commercially the cloud as a mechanism is no longer the primary focus. Rather, what’s important is the benefit that digital can bring. In this respect, it’s not about the engine, it’s about all the new places that engine can take you.

The emergence of cloud-hosted digital innovation is a shift that’s every bit as important as the industrial revolution two centuries ago – it’s honestly that mould-breaking. History shows that the invention of steam power radically rewrote the entire fabric of production, economics and employment. In the longer term, it even ended up rewriting the fabric of Western society itself.

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Four years ago, the National Security Agency realized it had a data problem.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, armed with new authorities that allowed the intelligence agency to collect an assortment of global communications and Internet metadata, NSA ramped up its operations. These expanded surveillance efforts—many of which were disclosed publicly in leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden—produced a massive volume of data that began to flood the agency’s disparate databases.

By the mid-2000s, NSA was adding racks of servers to quell the voracious appetite of multiple programs, a costly effort that further burdened intelligence analysts who had to access dozens or more databases and perform individual queries against each of them. Analysts could spend 30 minutes or longer each morning just opening the databases they needed to query, a senior NSA official told Government Executive.

“What we were doing was just adding servers, and that doesn’t scale at a certain point,” the senior official says. “We had a volume issue—more than a volume issue, our analysts are swamped going in and out of repositories.”

The Best Bet

NSA officials picked up on Google research in 2007 that ultimately paved the way for the intelligence agency’s formal adoption of cloud computing in 2010—part of a broad effort within the intelligence community to more effectively share data and services. In a similar move, the CIA last year signed a contract with Amazon Web Services for a cloud to be used by all 17 intelligence agencies.

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With FCC officials indicating that they would establish rules regarding location accuracy for indoor 911 calls from cell phones, the four nationwide wireless carriers on Friday announced a voluntary agreement with two key public-safety organizations on the topic, although other first-responder groups expressed objections to the deal.

In the agreement signed with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the four nationwide U.S. cellular carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon—promise to provide public safety with a “dispatchable location” for many 911 calls and meet benchmarks that begin within two years.

“The proposed solution harnesses the availability of Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® technologies that are already deployed and expected to expand significantly in the near term,” according to a joint press release issued Friday afternoon from the parties to the agreement.

Features of the agreement include timelines to verify technologies and vendor performance in a testbed environment; to demonstrate, implement and develop standards for database and handset capabilities; and to improve existing location-based technologies both indoors and outdoors.

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Indiana Chief Information Officer Paul Baltzell recently spoke with StateScoopTV to discuss the Hoosier state’s efforts to harness big data — and highlights his other top projects over the coming months.

Indiana recently completed its Management and Performance Hub Technology Center, which aims to bring greater effectiveness, efficiency and transparency to state government by using real-time data technology.

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Spending on public sector cloud services is expected to grow from $56.6 billion in 2014 to more than $127 billion in 2018, according to figures from analyst firm IDC.

The increase represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8 per cent, over six times the growth rate for the overall IT market.

The firm said public sector IT cloud services would account for over half of worldwide software, server and storage spending growth in 2018.

“Over the next four-to-five years, IDC expects the community of developers to triple and to create a ten-fold increase in the number of new cloud-based solutions,” said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC.

“Many of these solutions will become more strategic than traditional IT has ever been. At the same time, there will be unprecedented competition and consolidation among the leading cloud providers.”

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Spending on public cloud computing services is forecast to grow at six times the rate of the overall information technology market over the next five years, IDC says. The research firm predicts that public IT cloud spending will hit $127.5 billion in 2018, up from $56.6 billion this year.

That represents a five-year compound annual growth rate of 22.8%. In 2018, public IT cloud services will account for more than half of worldwide software, server, and storage spending growth, IDC said in a report Monday.

The cloud services market is entering an “innovation stage” that will produce an explosion of new services and value creation on top of the Internet cloud, IDC said.

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