Over the past several months, first responders have been tested like never before, requiring unprecedented levels of collaboration to help their communities during the pandemic. Add to that major weather events – such as Hurricane Isaias, which recently battered the East Coast – and the ability to communicate seamlessly when coordinating urgent, large-scale responses becomes absolutely essential. Michigan’s Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS) has been using cloud-based technologies in response to get a grip on what could otherwise be a chaotic situation.
Motorola Solutions using Critical Connect, one of its newest subscription services for ASTRO 25 mission-critical land mobile radio (LMR) network users, allows agencies to quickly connect securely to each other for fast, interoperable communications. According to Michigan state authorities, voice, video and data can be shared seamlessly across radio and broadband networks. Using WAVE for Critical Connect, first responders have access to carrier-independent push-to-talk service with an extensive set of mission-critical features that also keeps them connected.
The team behind MPSCS, built on ASTRO 25 technology, is testing Critical Connect to quickly and dynamically connect radio systems and various broadband networks across the state. They have also tied-in to Indiana’s Integrated Public Safety Commission (IPSC) statewide ASTRO 25 network for cross-state collaboration, enhancing cross-border mutual aid interoperability.
“Incidents don’t usually stop at a state’s border and neither should a first responder’s ability to communicate,” said Brad Stoddard, MPSCS director and Michigan statewide interoperability coordinator. “We continue to evolve our statewide radio system, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary on September 14, to one of the most advanced communication systems in the country. First responders across the state and in Indiana will have the future capability to connect with each other regardless of their location, network or device. These capabilities are critical when an emergency strikes.”
“Seamless interoperability is no longer a promise, it’s a reality,” said Chris Lonnett, vice president of Central Region Sales, Motorola Solutions. “With Critical Connect, Michigan and Indiana have demonstrated how they can communicate within minutes to send first responders closest to an incident regardless of the network or technology they use. For example, if you’re in a car accident on Interstate 80/94, the Indiana State Police can communicate effortlessly with the closest emergency medical technicians to get you the help you need, regardless of which state they are coming from.”
Motorola Solutions has installed over 13,000 networks worldwide. In the U.S., radio system users are leveraging new technologies to improve and extend communications across agencies, jurisdictions and state lines.
- State of Indiana: Indiana teamed up with the State of Michigan as the first two states who are using Critical Connect for seamless interoperability across borders. Indiana also continues to extend the exchange of information across the IPSC system and other networks across the state.
“To keep citizens safe and provide emergency services, first responders must be able to share critical data, when needed, and in a format that’s usable,” said Kelly Dignin, IPSC executive director. “Critical Connect will give us that next-level capability, opening the door to the convergence of LMR and LTE.”
- State of Louisiana: The state recently renewed a multi-year service contract for their statewide ASTRO 25 system. The Louisiana Wireless Information Networks (LWIN) was deployed after Hurricane Katrina to provide statewide interoperability with a system built to withstand hurricane force winds and flooding. The system provides voice communications for more than 99,000 users from federal, state, local and non-governmental agencies. LWIN has been critical for these agencies to coordinate the state’s response to COVID-19.
Statewide ASTRO 25 systems in North Carolina and South Carolina remained operational during Hurricane Isaias in early August. These networks are built for always-on communications during the worst natural disasters. They are part of Motorola Solutions’ end-to-end portfolio of Project 25 radios, infrastructure, dispatch consoles and software applications for mission-critical communications.
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