Top 5 stories: Week of July 27-July 31
Here's a look at the most popular stories on IWCE's Urgent Communications from last week.
- “Black & Veatch bids more than $3 million to buy RCC Consultants assets out of bankruptcy as early as this week” –According to a motion filed by RCC Consultants in bankruptcy court, Black & Veatch could bid between $3.1 million and $3.5 million for the public-safety communications consulting company’s assets. Black & Veatch would not be responsible for liens and other claims associated with RCC’s Chapter 11 case. If Black & Veatch purchases for the price proposed, RCC could be positioned to pay off its $1.9 million in debts to TD Bank – its largest secured creditor, according to the motion.
- “FCC task force suggests NG911 funding model that includes fees for broadband connections” – During a FCC Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA) meeting, members of the funding working group offered recommendations on funding models such as assessing a “technology neutral” 911 fee based on broadband connections. The working group also provided insight on issues with collecting 911 fees from prepaid wireless services in certain states. “There’s an alleged under-recovery in the amount of $275 million from pre-paid plans as opposed to post-pay plans,” said Phil Jones, chairman of the TFOPA working group exploring funding options and commissioner for the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission. “It’s a pretty serious allegation that several, if not many, 911 administrators believe they are being ‘shortchanged.’”
- “Accurate GIS data critical to PSAPs migrating to next-gen 911”– The migration of public safety answering points (PSAPS) from the legacy 911 system to the IP-based next generation has widely been focused on the lack of funding, but another major hurdle is ensuring geographic information system (GIS) data is National Emergency Number Association (NENA) i3 compliant. This article includes viewpoints from 911 emergency solutions officials on the matter. “Today, you could have the call route correctly, and the consequence of poor GIS data is not locating the caller on a map—but at least the call has been delivered to the correct PSAP,” according to Raymond Horner, senior technical project manager with Intrado, a 911 solutions provider. "If you don’t have that accurate [in NG911], then you would not actually route the call properly—you might have to use a default route, if you did not have the correct GIS data.”
- “FirstNet: Jeff Bratcher talks about new technical job opportunities in Boulder office” – Jeff Bratcher, deputy chief technology officer for FirstNet, outlined the job opportunities that will become available in the organizations CTO office during an IWCE Urgent Communications podcast. The office, based in Boulder, Colo., has two positions posted, which can be viewed here and here.
- "TCS buys Loctronix to provide inertial-navigation-based solutions to locate 911 callers, first responders” – TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) recently purchased Seattle-based inertial-navigation developer Loctronix to enhance the TCS portfolio of location-based solutions that can utilized to better serve first responders in finding 911 callers or mapping the location of public-safety personnel at an incident scene—even indoors. Loctronix’s inertial-navigation technology operates independent of RF connectivity, unlike most location-based technologies, according to Sameer Vuyyuru, group vice president and general manager for the TCS location business unit. “One of the historical problems with such an approach is that these sensors are not very stable and tend to drift. What Loctronix has essentially patented is the ability to reset or recalibrate these sensors every time they detect any RF signal out there. They could pick up a Wi-Fi signal, a Bluetooth signal, a TV signal, a cellular base-station signal—any RF—and it uses it to recalibrate the sensor, so you get a very good level of accuracy for location and navigation,” Vuyyuru said during an interview with IWCE Urgent Communications.