The ability to interoperate during emergencies is critical to quickly resolve incidents with the best outcomes. To share information with first responders, a picture is worth a thousand words. And video is worth a hundred images. So think about these benefits when considering how you collaborate within your agency and with other agencies:
Sometimes when responding to emergencies, words fail us. Sometimes we don't know how to describe what we're seeing. Words can be subjective. But live streaming video puts the recipient in the moment. In the thick of the action. They can ask questions about what they're seeing to gain clarity. They don't need to interpret someone else's words. Video should complement, not replace, voice. It reinforces and gives depth to your spoken word.
Morover, video conveys more in a minute than words can alone. By sharing video from the scene of an accident, the dispatcher or emergency room personnel can engage more fully with what first responders are telling them. In addition to what they hear, they may see something that will aid in their evaluation of the scene or the patient, and enable more appropriate action. With the proliferation of public cameras and private video management systems (VMS), as well as personal smart phones, video is more available than ever. Engaging with this video brings everyone involved in the incident closer to the problem. Closer to achieving resolution. And fuller engagement leads to faster resolution.
These days, we increasingly turn to our mobile devices for information. Increasingly, it's in the form of video. Similarly, virtually everyone today uses their smartphone video camera - a powerful tool for communication. In addition, surveillance video, often used for forensic reconstruction, can be shared in real time with current technology, doubling the value of the investment in cameras and VMS. With the anticipated availability of FirstNet, the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the sharing of video among public safety agencies will be further enhanced, with dedicated bandwidth available to first responders. As a participant in the FirstNet Early Builder project JerseyNet, Atlantic City Police Department experienced these benefits first-hand during large events held in the city in recent years.
Advance intelligence provides not only information, but it instills confidence. When first responders recognize an environment, say an office building or school that's reported an active shooter situation, they predict threats better and are better oriented on arrival. Video shared from a school showing the relative position of the red hallway with respect to the blue hallway, for example, requires less thought on the part of responding officers. It enables them to visualize the needed action better than hearing the description, "The blue hallway goes off to the left; the red hallway goes straight". The voice description and video together provide a full picture.
With bidding recently closed for a 2,000-mile wall across our southern border, we need to ensure that any attempted breaches of the wall have rapid coordinated response with integrated communications across the multitude of federal, state and local agencies that may be involved. This requirement creates a complex communications challenge that necessitates coordinated communication within federal agencies, between federal agencies and with state and local agencies.
The challenge is that communications content (radio, video, telephony, sensors and data) exists in disconnected silos, controlled, rightfully, by their respective owners (whether local, state or federal government entities or private owners). Each of these communications content owners is unlikely to relinquish control or to share their information and communications content in an environment that is not secured. These communications silos exist for many important purposes: security, regulatory restrictions and mandates, differing jurisdictional and functional responsibilities, differing stakeholders and political implications, and numerous others. In addition, a wide variety of transport methods onto which the content is placed (wireless, terrestrial, satellite, etc.) are utilized within these organizations.
Placing the content from these organizations onto the available transport modes, authenticating it, and securely bridging these silos to achieve a distributed but unified capability is the way to leapfrog a very complex problem, leverage existing content and transport, and allow any organization to share its content with any other organization, thereby achieving multi-jurisdictional, multimedia integrated communications. In fact, this simple, distributed approach, implemented at scale by various individual agencies, would overcome many previously daunting communication challenges. Individuals from within complex entities and among unrelated entities making the same decision - simply enabling their content onto whatever transport they choose - will solve more problems than they intended.
There are two distinct ways that this approach can provide integrated communications for response at the wall: notifying the proper parties of a breach and then bringing them together.
Mutualink's Model for Border Security Communications
The diagram above depicts a variety of sensors that serve as alerts connected to video systems. As the sensors are triggered the associated video system will be shared with all associated federal, state and local responding authorities to achieve unified situational awareness. Radio and other voice communications will also be brought together to further contribute to the coordinated response. Additionally, video from aerial assets such as UAS/UAV and blimps can similarly be shared for coordinated response.
Las Vegas, NV - March 29, 2017 – Mutualink, Inc., the leading provider of secure multimedia interoperability and collaboration for first responders and critical infrastructure in the United States, today announced the launch of a browser-based version of its solution, called IWS Web. The new capability allows users to log into a secure browser-based application that enables full two-way interoperability, streaming video and information sharing in real time. It will be demonstrated in booth 1249 at IWCE through March 30. The application allows users to collaborate on demand with other partner agencies on the Interoperable Response and Preparedness Platform (IRAPP) network, which now hosts over 1500 federal, state and local agencies, critical infrastructure and security entities and facilities throughout the nation, the largest multimedia interoperable network in existence.
According to Mutualink CEO Mark Hatten, the new app for Windows and Mac is a fully functional and secure complement to Mutualink’s eco-system of delivery options for customers. “IWS Web serves our customers by providing immediate desktop or laptop access in remote user circumstances. This is part of family of options that includes hardened workstations, hosted servers, SaaS and thin delivery mechanisms within a secure environment,” said Hatten. Industry leading security remains a key aspect of Mutualink’s innovative distributed architecture.
“Creating a WebRTC-based communications text and voice chat system is one thing. There are plenty of those solutions for consumer-level use. Creating and delivering a secure, public safety level interoperability system in a browser is another”, said Hatten. “The driving aspect of our design and implementation was to preserve the uniquely powerful distributed multimedia peer- based architecture and the multiple layers of encryption and dynamic authentication in a medium that is generally perceived as being subject to potential vulnerabilities for internet-based attacks. There is little benefit in ease of access if security is compromised in the process. Our browser platform utilizes the same high-security framework that is one of the few to earn certification by the US Department of Defense and NATO”.
Mutualink is demonstrating its new browser capability in booth 1249 at IWCE. Mutualink has received significant market interest in the new browser solution from global enterprise critical infrastructure entities seeking flexibility across various environments.
Mutualink, Inc. has developed an interoperable communications platform that enables community-wide multimedia sharing of radio, voice, text, video, data files and telephone communications in a secure environment. Mutualink’s system is currently deployed by hundreds of public and private entities worldwide, including homeland security and defense installations, NATO Special Operations Forces, police and fire departments, transit authorities, hospitals, schools, universities, shopping malls, casinos, and more. Mutualink’s technology is on the “Approved Products List” for both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense. Mutualink is a privately-held company headquartered in Wallingford, CT., with R&D facilities in Westford, Mass., Allen, Texas and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. For more information please visit www.mutualink.net.
WARWICK, R.I. – Sitting in front of a large screen at the school administration building off Warwick Avenue, city and school officials watched in real time a scene in which police officers took down a man brandishing a rifle at the Oakland Beach Elementary School, miles away.
The exercise Thursday night was a drill to demonstrate the school department's newly acquired Mutualink system.
The communication platform allows firefighters, officers and rescue workers to communicate in real time as they respond to emergencies, and monitor what is happening through cameras installed in the city's public schools.
"Surreal," said City Council President Joseph J. Solomon after the drill ended. "It's a necessary tool."
All staff members in the city's schools can now download the Panic Button from Rave Mobile Safety on their phones. When they open it, they can press one of five buttons: "active shooter", "fire", "medical", "police" or "911 other".
Once a staff member pushes a button, other staff members in the school receive a text message, alerting them of the emergency.
Then, staff members, police officers, firefighters can all communicate together on the platform available on computers, tablets and phones. They can also all access the cameras.
The system will only work when staff members are on school grounds, Schools Supt. Philip Thornton said.
In the past, "if the school dialed 911, it went to dispatch," said School Department Chief Budget Officer Anthony Ferrucci. Then, dispatch had to contact officers and firefighters separately, and communicate back to the school staff who had first called.
The new system cuts down response time said Jeff Kelly, a national field trainer for Mutualink.
Fire Chief James McLaughlin, who was at the presentation, said the district's schools are big.
Being able to access cameras allows rescue workers to head directly to the back doors of a school if they already know that someone in distress is there for example, rather than entering through the front doors and walking through the school, wasting valuable time.
Ferrucci said the School Committee approved $378,255 in 2016 to install Mutualink. An additional $39,738 is paid annually to support the system, he said.
The Warwick School District is the first in Rhode Island to use the platform, said the company's president, Colin McWay. The Warwick police and fire departments as well as the Warwick Mall and Kent Hospital already use the system.
In Massachusetts, Dartmouth schools and one school in the Old Rochester Regional School district use the platform, according to Marketing Director Beth Clay at Mutualink.
Providence Journal video by Kris Craig
Solution Will Save Lives at Public Schools through Enhanced Collaboration with Police Department, Fire Department and Kent Hospital
Wallingford, CT and Framingham, MA – March 9, 2017 – Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety today announced that Warwick Public Schools enabled faster real-time communication and information sharing with first responders through the installation of their joint solution. The deployment represents the first district-wide implementation of the solution combining Mutualink’s multimedia interoperable communications platform with Rave Mobile Safety’s Rave Panic Button.
Under the leadership of Mark Hatten, Chief Executive Officer, Mutualink, and Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety, the two companies leveraged their experience in emergency communications and public safety to create a safer school environment.
“With the Rave Panic Button, Warwick’s teachers and first responders are in closer contact,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian, Warwick. “Rave Mobile Safety integrating with Mutualink improves the safety of our community by reducing the time to incident resolution. When first responders have voice, video and data information before arriving on site, the outcome is better for all concerned.”
Rave Panic Button activates Mutualink’s multimedia communication platform with the push of a button, while instantly dialing 9-1-1 and notifying stakeholders on the campus. All Warwick Public School teachers and staff will have this powerful tool at their fingertips.
“This is an innovative collaboration tool that spans the entire community. Our schools benefit from the experience our first responders have on the platform,” said Philip Thornton, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools in Warwick. “Our goal is to connect with law enforcement more quickly, creating better situational awareness before they even reach the school. We’re also seeing a better way to work between schools.”
Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety rolled out their integrated solution following a presentation to the Warwick School Committee and subsequent contract award. After a quick implementation process, responders and administrators conducted thorough training and scenario planning over several months. Warwick Police Department, Warwick Fire Department, Kent Hospital and the Warwick Mall were early adopters of Mutualink’s collaboration solution and have used the platform for emergencies and training for 4 years.
“Rave Mobile Safety’s industry leading panic button app drastically reduces response times,” said Mark Hatten, CEO, Mutualink. “By collaborating with Rave Mobile Safety, we are leveraging their extensive public safety experience by providing an all-in-one technology solution that improves safety for schools and other critical infrastructure.”
Additionally, Rave Mobile Safety is better protecting teachers and staff by instantly calling 9-1-1 while opening a collaboration session between school staff and the police.
“Over the last ten years, Mutualink has enabled schools to have secure and rapid communications with law enforcement,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “This joint solution protects students, faculty, and staff through better communication and collaboration.”
Mutualink, Inc. has developed an interoperable communications platform that enables community-wide multimedia sharing of radio, voice, text, video, data files and telephone communications in a secure environment. Mutualink’s system is currently deployed by hundreds of public and private entities worldwide, including homeland security and defense installations, NATO Special Operations Forces, police and fire departments, transit authorities, hospitals, schools, universities, shopping malls, casinos, and more. Mutualink’s technology is on the “Approved Products List” for both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense. Mutualink is a privately-held company headquartered in Wallingford, Conn., with R&D facilities in Westford, Mass., Allen, Texas and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and Defense Services office near Washington, DC. For more information please visit www.mutualink.net.
Rave Mobile Safety provides the leading critical communication and data platform trusted to help save lives. Used by leading education and healthcare institutions, enterprises and state and local public safety agencies, the award-winning Rave platform including Rave Alert, Rave 911 Suite, Rave Panic Button, Rave Guardian, Rave Prepare and Rave Eyewitness protects millions of individuals. Rave Mobile Safety is headquartered in Framingham, MA. For more information, please visit https://www.ravemobilesafety.com.
As tens of thousands of artists, art enthusiasts and press congregated last week in Miami Beach to take in the exhibits of Art Basel in America, public safety professionals ramped up efforts to protect the increased population. For the second year, Mutualink's interoperable communications platform added a multimedia dimension to situational awareness in the area and among various agencies, including the Miami Beach Department of Emergency Management and the Miami Beach Police Department.
"It makes my job so much easier knowing the video feeds are being shared with the City Warning Point and the Miami Beach PD"
Miami Beach Homeland Security Coordinator Eric Koblinsky
Constant change and increasing complexity assault your operational effectiveness and make your job harder every day. The arrow of time moves us forward into an inexplicable future. Disasters (natural or man-made), terrorism, fires, floods, and all sorts of events and incidents will continue to happen locally, regionally and nationally. All of these events have been occurring since the beginning of human existence and as time moves on, they will get more complicated and involve more stakeholders than you ever thought possible. More and more public safety agencies will find themselves faced with “wicked problems”.
It is becoming more and more difficult to address todays challenges because the world is experiencing an exponential increase in the rate of change, complexity, and the corresponding information flow. The world is changing ever faster and becoming more complex every day. How can you keep up? How can you ever hope to achieve the highest level of operational excellence, to save lives and property, to provide for the safety and security of the public, in the midst of all this chaos and confusion?
The new way to achieve higher levels of operational excellence is with multi-dimensional information flow through a Public Safety Coordinated Operations Management Platform (PS-COMP).
This white paper provides an overview of Coordinated Operations Management Platforms – what they include, how they can help you deliver operational excellence, and also achieve your operational mission more effectively in a world of constant change and increasing complexity.
Re-posted from pessemier.com
It takes time to call 911, and for law enforcement to arrive. And when they do, information is limited.
The Albany County Sheriff's Department thinks it has a solution. It's called Mutualink, and the department is willing to install it in schools for free.
Right now, Mutualink is a pilot program in the Voorheesville and Berne Knox Westerlo school districts.
The system not only links the school with the sheriff's department, but with several local response agencies.
Mutualink can be used in many situations, including not only active shooters, but natural disasters and even vandalism.
A joint industry effort has produced ruggedized augmented reality glasses that securely deliver real-time multimedia information to first responders. The solution, developers say, would shave precious minutes off response times, which could mean the difference between life or death.
Such technologies are picking up traction in law enforcement and military environments as officials look to the virtual world for life-saving solutions.
The Recon Jet eyewear—originally designed for endurance sports—is essentially a wearable computer with an integrated camera and networking capabilities. It can capture live video footage and stream it to ground personnel and command centers and transmit a first responder’s location and vital signs. The glasses are the second in a series of devices to emerge from an Internet of Public Safety Things (IoPST) initiative spearheaded by Mutualink. The first was last year’s Wearable Smart Gateway (WSG), a palm-size device first responders can carry or wear that securely sends data from cameras and body sensors, for example, to command posts and other agencies. “The WSG is a high-performance multimedia gateway leveraging mobility, connectivity, resiliency and cloud ecosystems for next-generation first responders,” says Michael Wengrovitz, Mutualink’s vice president of innovation.
The IoPST builds on the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon that emerged a few years ago as the next shiny tech bauble. The idea is to better equip the next generation of first responders with interconnected technology. The IoPST leverages communications tools, incorporates emerging technologies and prepares for the rollout of FirstNet, the first nationwide high-speed wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.
The glasses, a creation of Intel’s Recon Jet and Mutualink, were developed in the shadow of Google Glass, once considered a failed experiment. Now it is making a comeback as augmented reality eyewear hits the marketplace. The Jet glasses, which include a Global Positioning System (GPS) and Bluetooth capability, are powered by a tiny Intel Edison module. “Because the architecture is flexible and powerful, we’re able to not only get information back securely to the command center across Mutualink’s national network, but we can also turn it around and send information … to the wearable,” Wengrovitz explains.
Developers sought to deliver mission-critical information at a glance—and completely hands-free. They also worked to streamline systems that otherwise did not communicate easily with one another, command and control or other agencies, Wengrovitz says. They dared to imagine that a body camera and the WSG could be integrated into the same package.
First responders can send or receive text messages, images and video via the Recon Jet smart glasses. Text can overlay images to annotate special instructions or detail, for example, a floor plan. Live video streams can come from a drone circling overhead, surveillance cameras or even another head-worn camera device. For the wearer, all this information appears on a tiny screen tucked into the right corner of the glasses, minimizing distractions and avoiding the line of sight.
Of course, displaying the data is only one part of the puzzle: Securely transmitting it is another. The Recon Jet eyewear carries multiple layers of encryption and authentication to ensure data is not tampered with or intercepted. Information is sent to a central hub through a secure network provided by Mutualink’s Interoperable Response and Preparedness Platform (IRAPP), which enables disparate organizations to share multimedia files. The IRAPP, which is part of the federal FirstNet initiative, connects state and local first responder agencies, emergency operations centers, hospitals and other critical infrastructure facilities for interoperable communications and information sharing.
Increasingly, technologies are being combined into unified platforms “at a wearable level,” says Joseph Mazzarella, Mutualink’s senior vice president and chief legal counsel. Gone are the days of monolithic systems that tend to slow innovation. “If it’s a modular-based environment, it tends to allow for quicker innovation as people focus on different kinds of functions, such as sensors, and so forth,” Mazzarella says.
Wearables, which can carry out a variety of functions, contribute to a dynamic computing environment “with many devices, some smarter than others, but all working interactively,” he continues. “Wearables, as a concept, are really movable, intelligent computing platforms with augmented human intelligence on them. The problems and challenges we are facing are not dissimilar from what others are probably experiencing as these technologies begin to roll out into real-world environments.”
Developers struggle to perfect what Mazzarella refers to as the many-to-many concept: How do devices that have separate, independent existences or purposes act with one another in a physical environment? Additionally, wearers can be challenged to interpret what is in the real world versus the virtual world. “The ability for a human being to operate in the physical world requires relatively hands-free operations as well as the ability to use your normal human senses,” he says. “When you interpose a computer system into that environment, you start challenging human resource availability for use of hands, use of eyes and all kinds of other things. Effectively, there is a command and control challenge that remains with these wearable systems, where you want to have your operator be able to use those systems without impairing their fundamental human senses and interfering with their tasks.”
The Recon Jet glasses are available for commercial applications, but the software app for first responders still is being optimized.
Thursday, October 27, 2016 by HPN News Desk
The Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD) recently deployed a new interoperability response and preparedness system to provide a secure communication channel for officers working in the field during crowded events and emergencies.
The system, called Mutualink, allows law enforcement personnel to communicate by voice, video and data with other officers or private stakeholders across a secure, invitation-only network. The platform eliminates the challenges that first responders face with using public data networks, such as connectivity jams and slowed data transmission.
Additionally, Mutualink is on the approved product list for both the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The system is currently being used by thousands of public safety agencies, hospitals and schools throughout the country.
Mutualink has helped the ACPD leverage its surveillance efforts after Atlantic City recently installed 230 city-owned security cameras across the boardwalk.
“What’s great about the Mutualink system is not only can I see the feeds of casino-owned cameras in real-time, I can return the favor and share my camera feeds with them,” ACPD Det. Capt. James Sarkos said in an interview with Homeland Preparedness News.
Sarkos said Mutualink also gives him the ability to talk to all casinos at once with a single button, as opposed to having to communicate with each one individually.
A key feature of Mutualink technology is the interoperable work station, which allows a user to share video, pictures and voice in real-time with other users across a closed, secure network.
In addition to every casino on the Atlantic City boardwalk having access to the platform, the Atlantic City Convention Center, the AltantiCare Regional Medical Center and the New Jersey State Police’s Regional Operation Intelligence Center also have the ability to communicate and transmit data over Mutualink.
ACPD had success with Mutualink when it used the platform to secure a large area of land for the recent 70-mile Atlantic City Ironman Triathlon, a major event that came a day after an improvised explosive device was detonated in Seaside Park, New Jersey.
“We increased the security for the event and Mutualink was a major part of that,” Sarkos said.
“While the changes might not have been in our plan from day one, once that incident happened, in relatively no time, we were able to greatly expand our response plan with Mutualink with almost no advance notice,” he added.
Although Mutualink is useful with crowded events and high-stakes scenarios, Sarkos said he envisions using the platform in other facets of daily police work.
Prior to Mutualink’s introduction, the ACPD would use a fax machine or email to distribute a suspect’s wanted poster to various security units across the city. The problem with those options, Sarkos said, is that fax machines degrade the image quality of a suspect and emails sometimes did not reach the intended recipient until hours later.
ACPD is currently developing a centralized technology center called the real-time crime center, which will be fully operational in December.
The center will be equipped with Mutualink connectivity along with the latest detection technology such as ShotSpotter, a gunfire detection system that conveys the location of gunfire using acoustic and optical sensors.