Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE’s Urgent Communications from last week:

  1. “Newscan: Arkansas superintendent says Rave panic button saves employees life” – In the week’s web roundup of relevant critical-infrastructure technology news, Blytheville School Superintendent Richard Atwill tells news reporters that an a Rave panic button, designed to let emergency responders know exactly where the button was pushed, saved an employee’s life. A school nurse pressed the button once she assessed the situation, and she was immediately connected with 911. The panic buttons have been deployed at schools across the state of Arkansas beginning Sept. 1, but this was the first known use of the button for life-saving purposes.
  2. “New Jersey public-safety LTE assets help Atlantic City use video to secure events” – JerseyNet – New Jersey’s early-builder public safety LTE network that operates on FirstNet’s 700-MHz spectrum – will not be launched for a while, but the system’s dedicated broadband connectivity already has proven helpful when used at a recent concert by Atlantic City police. The department used the five-site, fixed network of deployable LTE assets in Atlantic City to transmit video of beach concerts from deployable trailers. In previous years, massive crowds using available W-Fi and commercial connectivity to upload video and other content to social media had made it difficult to keep the video footage connected through broadband, said Atlantic City Police Lt. Jim Sarkos.  “We have [public-safety LTE] routers installed in our camera trailers and also in our command post,” Sarkos said. “We established connectivity with the pole-camera trailers without a problem—it stayed up before the event, it stayed up during the event and it stayed up after the event. It worked great. We weren’t affected by the massive crowds that arrived.”
  3.  “Rockwell Collins announces plans to offer nationwide disaster communications via HF radio” – Rockwell Collins announced plans for a nationwide high-frequency radio network, ARINC UrgentLink, which is designed to provide communications between public-safety and critical infrastructure bodies when typical communication infrastructure is inoperable due to natural or man-made disaster.  Rockwell Collins has a pilot HF Radio network running at a large sheriff’s department currently, and the system will be available to other public-safety agencies within a year, said Dave Chapman, Rockwell Collins product manager.
  4.  “VOST teams significant in the ‘rebirth of 911’ as incidents are shared more often on social media” – During APCO 2015, Clackamas County Communications Center’s Cheryl Bledsoe and Mark Spross shared some trends on social-media activity and how emergency management and other public-safety entities have used teams of volunteers to monitor vital data being communicated on social media sites during incidents such as active shootings and natural disasters. Virtual Operation Support Teams (VOSTs) are being used across the country and worldwide to take in the data from Twitter, Facebook and other sites for useful analytics, said Bledsoe, technology and accreditation manager for C-COM. “They have been active in wildfires, she said. “They want to make sure that they have the information to make sure that family notification is done in a timely manner, so the affected family doesn’t hear about it first on social media. They also take in citizens’ concerns, complaints and get feedback about the emergency response itself.”
  5.  “IBM enhances analytics capabilities within i2 Safer Planet Intelligence Analysis portfolio” – IBM unveiled a new analytics package to help customers make sense of all the new data that comes with the increasing amounts of information about their missions, said Steve Dalzell, principal offering manager for IBM i2 Intelligence Analysis portfolio. “There is a ton of stuff that you can do with IT, in terms of clever analytics that filter data down and slice it and dice it,” Dalzell said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “But, at the end of the day, somebody has to make sense of it and translate all of that machine stuff into what we would term ‘actionable intelligence.’ Because somebody needs to understand it in a way that people can understand it, and understand it in a way that people can make decisions based on that [information].”