By: Mutualink Staff
The return of in-person teaching across America has seen a corresponding increase in school violence. In 2021 there were 168 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 36 deaths and 99 injuries. These tragedies are no longer isolated incidents, and no school system is immune. A school safety alert solution is now a requirement for every school district nationwide.
Immediate collaboration and communication are critical for disaster communications and school safety alert systems. Technology systems can connect community responders with school officials to prevent and mitigate school violence. But choosing the right technology partner can be confusing for school leaders.
The marketplace for public safety technology has become more crowded in recent years. An increase in threats and the availability of government funding have attracted numerous startup companies. Many, however, lack experience working in the public safety market. They do not understand the unique requirements of schools and first responders.
School safety is too important to rely on the “latest shiny thing.” Mutualink technology grew out of the interoperability needs identified after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. From day one we have focused on improving safety and collaboration by connecting customers via radio, phone, video, text, and data.
Mutualink’s LNK360™ is the leading communications solution for smart communities, public safety agencies, schools, private enterprise security, hospitals, and critical infrastructure. Our technology and quality of service enable first responders to go beyond basic radio interoperability systems. We customize and configure advanced interconnectivity solutions that provide rich, real-time data during emergencies.
Available as a software download, LNK360™ is not a “rip and replace” solution. It uses a school’s current communication assets and can be scaled to incorporate new devices as needed. Schools can connect to the network via any kind of broadband network. LNK360™ is more powerful and easier to implement than any other system on the market.
A radio interoperability system, which links land mobile radio (LMR) systems via standard-based protocols, allows a user on one public safety network to communicate with someone on a different LMR network. But to make disaster communications “real-time” interoperability must go further.
It’s critical for agencies to connect radio and smartphones with LMR to LTE interoperability. This powers Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MC-PTT) applications. It delivers not only voice but files, imagery, and video to the first responder. With the right technology, responders can be talking to personnel inside the school, sharing video, floor plans, and the location of the intruder(s) – all before arriving at the scene.
Learn more about grants, funding sources and how Mutualink can help.
Mutualink technology is also FERPA compliant. A FERPA-compliant solution for video access requires implementing a system that allows for instant sharing when an emergency necessitates but otherwise blocks police access to school video. Mutualink’s patented emergency incident-based, secure video sharing solution uniquely satisfies this requirement.
FERPA compliance is achieved through Mutualink’s invitation-based interoperability platform. The platform enables on-demand, secure sharing of video. It bridges communications between entities, such as a school and public safety agency.
An entity will voluntarily start an incident and invite another entity to join the incident session. Incident invitations to an outside agency may be manually initiated or auto-initiated (such as via a panic button solution) by a school in an emergency.
Invitations are dynamically generated encrypted incident keys sent within an encrypted connection. This enables an invited party to join an incident session. The invitation keys last only as long as the incident session. Once a session is completed, all access to the video system is terminated. IP address, system login, and access credentials end with the session. If no invitation is sent, an outside agency can not access a school system’s video platform.
Read more about school safety alert solutions here.
As part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, Congress enacted the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) of 2002. Mutualink is the only multimedia interoperable communications product that is Safety Act certified by the Department of Homeland Security and is on DHS’s approved products list.
To receive SAFETY Act Certification, DHS must conclude that the technology will perform as intended, conform to the seller’s specifications, and is safe for use as intended. Mutualink works with many government agencies to improve communications and safety with innovative collaboration technology, such as school panic buttons.
All the data shared across the Mutualink network is doubly encrypted with AES-256 Encryption. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the method chosen by the U.S. government to protect classified information. AES was adopted as the federal government standard in 2002, and soon became the default encryption algorithm for protecting classified information. It also became the first publicly accessible and open cipher approved by the NSA for Top Secret information.
AES-256 is currently the strongest form of encryption possible. All endpoints are mutually authenticated with RSA keys, and all identities are authenticated.
Mutualink is secure transport mechanism for the sharing of data with trusted parties. It does not store any data. Because of these features, Mutualink technology is HIPPA compliant and used by hundreds of hospitals across the country.
LNK360™ further applies fine-grained application authentication. Verifiable client identity information further limits access to subsets of the LNK360 system model. This is critical for the implementation of Mutualink’s enforcement of sovereign control of resources and media security. This means clients retain total control of who they share information with and for how long.
Mutualink also manages FEMA’s Interoperable Gateway System (IGS), which is part of the U.S. Government’s National Continuity Program (NCP). IGS is deployed throughout the 10 FEMA Regions and Caribbean Islands, with expansion planned throughout the Pacific Islands. The primary mission of the IGS is to provide resilient ("black sky'') communications as part of the COG/COOP (Continuity of Gov't/Continuity of Operations) programs.
In partnership with Stafford County and Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), Mutualink successfully deployed and is powering the state’s first Smart City deployment, the Virginia Smart Community Testbed. Mutualink’s secure, intelligent network is the digital backbone for Smart Cities connecting community partners, smart infrastructure, and sustainable IoT technologies in real-time so community leaders can work together to improve livability and resilience.
When putting together a school safety response plan it’s vital to have an experienced partner. With over 3,000 deployments connecting over 10,000 public safety entities, Mutualink technology has proven it can protect citizens and connect communities. The two largest public safety networks in the country, FirstNet and Verizon Frontline, both depend on Mutualink to ensure the interoperability of their solutions.
Mutualink LNK360™ is trusted by hundreds of schools and police forces nationwide because every child deserves to feel safe at school. Let us put our certified technology and years of experience to work protecting our next generation. For more information, visit our website and request a free demonstration.