Uncategorized Category

A New Convergence

February 4th, 2011 by tbledsoe in Citizen Interaction, GreenIT, Technology, Uncategorized

The convergence of voice, video and data is old news today, but when it happened it changed the world.  New possibilities became available for the delivery of services like phone, movies and entertainment. All this was enhanced with the flood of small mobile devices.  And now, we love being able to use our smartphone to connect to the internet, to take pictures and post to Facebook, to instantly get information about our location, to remain in constant contact with our social networks, and to have access to thousands of apps.

Now that same technology is bringing about a new convergence, a convergence with the print and paper world. Did I just say paper?  If you have been involved in technology planning, you probably have explored the paperless office so saying that technology is now converging with print and paper probably makes you shudder.  But a simple little two dimensional bar code and a smartphone with a camera have converged to become one of the most promising technologies today.

Two dimensional barcodes, known as QR Codes are showing up everywhere.  They have become the missing link between the printed world and the smartphone phenomenon.  A look at Google Trends Chart shows that QR Codes have peaked the world’s interest.  Looking further, major brands are using QR Codes in very creative ways.  GMC, Ford, and Chevy have all used QR Codes to promote their cars. The Weather Channel uses a QR Code to download apps. Best Buy uses QR Codes to directly link customers to mobile shopping. Starbucks uses QR Codes in mobile APPs to allow consumers to pay with a simple scan of a phone. Adidas Japan launches the FIFA World Cup 2010 site featuring a QR Code that takes you directly to the mobile version of the site.  Facebook  plans to give 450 million users and brands a QR Code linking to their Profile Page or Fan. Iron Man uses a QR Code in movie posters to promote the sequel.  The JFK Presidential Library and Museum uses a QR Code to promote the associated Twitter account.  ToysRus launched a new mobile campaign integrating QR Codes on signage and shelf talkers. ReMax is using on house signage.  And the list goes on.  For more companies visit QRe8.

And what does this hold for local government? It gives us a way to bring printed materials and signage to life. I have already introduced you to the QR Codes on our building hard cards in the blog What Is That Funny Little Thing On My Building Permit? This allows builders to see all the details of their construction project right on their smartphone. This is a true convergence of print and smartphone technology.

So what are some other things you may see in this convergence? Perhaps a QR Code when you enter the Commissioners meeting that will allow you to load a copy of the agenda on your Smartphone. At the library, books may have QR Codes that take you to reviews and comments about the book. You may see QR Codes appearing on business cards that will automatically load the contact information to your mobile device. You may see QR Codes being used in the park to give you information about plants and animals or operating hours. You may see QR Codes being used on literature to link you to videos. The use of QR Codes converged with all types of technology is only limited by our imagination.

Who would have thought that the technological convergence of the first decade of this century which seemed to shun paper and print would converge again to embrace these powerful tools from the past?

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What Does Value Mean to You?

December 9th, 2010 by tbledsoe in IT Governance, Technology, Uncategorized

This sounds like a simple question.  What does value mean to you? And it may be simple for you to answer. But when we asked several groups this question, we found that there were about as many answers as there were people answering.  We also found that the answers varied depending on whether you were looking at it from a citizen’s standpoint or from a government standpoint.  It even varied depending on the department being represented.  

While the definitions varied, there was a lot of commonality.  People were quick to convey that value is not just monetary.  The intrinsic value or the underlying perception of the true value included all aspects of the organization in terms of both tangible and intangible factors.

As we evaluate the technology projects we have completed over the past five years, these group discussions play a critical role in understanding the value of each project.  Through consolidation of definitions, value was summarized to these seven areas: Savings, Efficiency, Relationship, Citizen, Expectations, Risk, and Strategic.

Savings related to all of the ways to save money like reducing personnel, holding growth, time savings, or just the biggest bang for the buck. Efficiency was defined by efficient processes, time savings, process improvement, improved services and the ability to match needs with resources. Relationship value represents the relationships with the public and the internal relationships that are extremely important for any organization. Citizen value includes increased levels of service, but it goes well beyond that to include removal of constraints, providing useful information and making a positive change in behavior, attitude and well being.

Expectation may seem like a strange value, but it has become part of the delivery of services.  People expect to have choices based on their personal preferences, they expect more online services, they expect accessibility, and simplification.  They also expect security in their dealing with the government which brings us to the next value, risk.  Reducing risk is of high value today.  Data security, integrity and the preservation of data and institutional knowledge are all part of the risk value assigned to projects.

Strategic value is the last of the seven.  Sometimes the value is in the priority of a service that is needed or desired.  Sometimes value is generated by an opportunity that would be lost if not acted upon. Or maybe it is just part of the business outcomes.

Below is a summary of the terms from our value discussions.  They are broken into the seven summary areas.  Perhaps your definition of value falls into one of the areas, or maybe you have other definitions.  The important thing to realize is that we may all look at things a little differently; however, when it comes to providing valuable services to the citizen we must review every project for its contribution to the County’s overall well being.

 Money Savings (Savings)

  • Reduce  Personnel/Hold the growth
  • Time Savings
  • Cost in relationship to alternatives
  • Biggest bang for your buck
  • Cost savings- resources, personnel
  • Limited resources

 Better Efficiency (Efficiency)

  • Efficient
  • Time Savings
  • Process Improvement
  • Ability to match resources to need
  • Improved Service Delivery
  • Improved Communications

 Public Relation Value (Relationship)

  • Public perception
  • Human Resources Support
  • Relationships- human and tangible

 Better Service to the Citizen (Citizen)

  • Increased Level of Service
  • Removal of Constraints
  • Positive change in behavior, attitude or well being
  • Useful Information

 Expectations (Expectation)

  • Personal preference
  • Desirable
  • Choice
  • Ability to do more
  • Anything that increases the quality of life
  • Access /Accessible
  • Meeting expectations
  • Ease of use/transaction/interaction

 Mitigates risk (Risk)

  • Reducing risks
  • Data Security and Integrity
  • Increased Security
  • Institutional Knowledge

 Strategically important (Strategic)

  • Priority
  • Needed/desired
  • Opportunity Lost/Cost
  • Business Outcomes
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Catawba County Promotes ‘Power IT Down Day’ to Encourage Energy Efficiency

August 26th, 2010 by tbledsoe in GreenIT, Technology, Uncategorized

Do you turn your computer and peripherals off when you leave for the day?   If everyone would turn his or her computer and peripherals off when they leave, it could save a significant amount of money and, at the same time, help make this a greener world by reducing our carbon footprint.

Catawba County urges employees to shut their computer down when they leave for the day, unless the computer is tied to other crucial services or needs to stay on for maintenance purposes. This is an expectation of all employees.  We encourage you to adopt the same practice.

While our employees shut their computer down every day, Catawba County will be participating in the third-annual National Association of Counties, “Power IT Down Day” on August 27, 2010.  NACo, along with its partners, is asking that counties participate in this nationwide initiative.  Information is included below about the savings that could be realized when this is done on a nationwide basis.

So what do you need to do if you would like to participate?  If you shut your computer and peripherals down every day, you just need to sign up for the program at the Power IT Down web site and continue shutting down as normal.  If you have not been shutting your computer down every day, please make this part of your daily routine and visit the Power IT Down web site to sign up to participate on August 27th.

Thank you for helping Catawba County save energy and the environment.

The National Association of Counties is sponsoring “Power IT Down Day” on August 27, 2010

There are about 3.8 million state and local government employees in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If each of those workers shut off their computer, monitor and printer at the end of a workday it would save about 4.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy — enough to power more than 5,300 homes for one month.

Friday, Aug. 27, will mark the third-annual Power IT Down Day, an event that encourages the public and private sectors to turn off their IT equipment at the end of the workday to save energy. For each person who participates in the event, an average of 13 kWh will be saved for each night the equipment is turned off. Participants can sign up at www.powerITdown.org. The event is sponsored by Citrix, Intel, HP and GTSI, who are working together to spread the word on benefits of energy-efficient initiatives.

“The whole concept is around raising awareness of what individual information technology users can do to contribute to green IT efforts and the overall conservation of energy within an organization,” said Tom Simmons, the area vice president for U.S. Public Sector at Citrix. “Our primary focus is awareness in government because it’s the largest single user of information technology out there, but we are also targeting the industry that supports government and will expand it as broad and wide as we can.”

It’s important for participants to register individually and not as an organization because if the 6,100-person goal is met, the sponsors will make a $45,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs for severely injured members of the armed services.

“It’s a symbolic contribution to show that if we don’t spend [money] on energy, we can spend it on very good and important things,” Simmons said.

 As a practice and as part of our Green Initiatives, Catawba County recommends that all computers and peripherals that are not performing a function be shut down when the employee leaves for the day. We will use “Power IT Down Day” to remind our staff that their computers should be shut down every day when they leave work or are going to be away from their desk for an extended period of time.

 To sign up and learn more about green IT in government, staff will be encouraged to visit the Power IT Down Day Web site.

This article adapted from “Local Governments Promote ‘Power IT Down Day’ to Encourage Energy Efficiency” by Elaine Pittman, Government Technology, August 25, 2010.

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Important Broadband Survey – Please Participate

May 7th, 2010 by tbledsoe in broadband, Technology, Uncategorized

Many of you have been involved with efforts to bring better broadband service to Catawba County.  One of the big issues is determining exactly what broadband service our residents now have.  To determine services that are available and what services would be used, the e-NC Authority is conducting a comprehensive survey in North Carolina.  This is an important survey to our area. It will be used to determine broadband need and where future infrastructure will be placed.


The survey can be found at www.e-nc.org at the bottom of the page.   Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and contribute to this valuable data that e-NC is collecting.  Note that you need to fill out this survey from your home computer so that the information reflects connection speeds across the area.  If you respond at work, the survey will reflect the high speed connection that you have on your work computer and not the slower speed that you may have at home. Responding at work is fine but be sure to also respond from home.  The speed test is the critical questions so please do not skip it.


I encourage each household to participate in the survey.  The more participants, the better the data will be.  For more information, I have included an email from e-NC below.


Thank you for participating in the important survey.


From: e-ncinfo [mailto:e-ncinfo@e-nc.org]
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 9:31 AM
Subject: The e-NC Authority Launches Comprehensive Broadband Survey: Please Participate!


Friends of Broadband Expansion in North Carolina:


One of the projects that the e-NC Authority has been working on with assistance from American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding is research about the expansion, adoption and use of broadband in North Carolina. Throughout this project, we will periodically update you on the results of this unprecedented study.


Currently, a public survey is available online that gathers input directly from our citizens and businesses about their use of Internet services. If you have not already responded to this survey, we ask for your consideration in completing it by May 19. We appreciate that you have many demands on your time and we hope that you can take approximately 15 minutes to participate in this research.


To complete the survey, please respond to the e-mail invitation that you probably have received. If you have not received an e-mail invitation to the survey, visit the e-NC Authority Web site at www.e-nc.org and see the survey notice at the bottom of our home page. If you represent a business, nonprofit organization, or government office, click that survey link. If you represent an individual household, click that survey link. 


For more information, you may contact the e-NC Authority at (919) 250-4314 or info@e-nc.org. Additional details about the survey can be found in its press release.


With great thanks,


Jane Smith Patterson

Executive Director

The e-NC Authority   


Brought to you by the e-NC Authority. Created by the N.C. General Assembly, the e-NC Authority is dedicated to increasing prosperity for North Carolina citizens and businesses by creating jobs through technology-based economic development, which requires a broadband Internet platform for success. To unsubscribe from future messages, please write to noemail@e-nc.org.



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Google Project Still Alive and Well – Still Needs Your Help!

April 28th, 2010 by tbledsoe in Uncategorized

Many of you participated in the Woo Google Campaign and now that the application is submitted want to know what’s next.  The team is still hard at work and preparing for the next phase.  What is the next phase?  I guess only Google knows for sure but we are anticipating that they will choose several communities as finalist and ask even tougher questions.  To that end, the team is preparing plans for serveral scenarios that could be implemented immediately.  As an example, one plan is for schools and how a gigabit connection to the home would change the way services are delivered.


Other groups are looking at the applications that were discussed at the brainstorming sessions and asking the question “Could we do this now?”  For some of the applications, the answer is definitely yes and we should move forward regardless of whether we are chosen or not. 


Yes we are moving forward and your support is even more crucial.  Please proudly wear your Google Tshirt, talk to people, participate in the discussion and if you haven’t joined yet, join the Woogle Facebook Fan Page .    Also check out the latest Catawba County news at our Catawba County Facebook Page.


Below you will also find a press release by Lenoir City Manager Lane Bailey.  



April 28, 2010


Contact:                 Lane Bailey

                         Lenoir City Manager

                         (828) 757-2200


Communities encourage citizens, businesses and organizations to check out Google application


LENOIR – The communities of Lenoir and Hickory, counties of Catawba and Caldwell, and the towns and cities in between and close by were one of 1,100 communities to submit an application for the Google Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Request for Information (RFI) on March 26. 


“Our application is www.googlehickorylenoir.com and it has become our resume to Google,” said Lenoir City Manager Lane Bailey.  “The resume tells our story on how this project could help transform our community into a technology hub in the south, add to our economic development tool box, enhance community organizations, assist the medical community, and provide endless education opportunities for citizens of all ages – from school children to retirees.” 


The experimental network that Google would build would provide a broadband connection that is more than 100 times faster than the current connection. Communities along the U.S. 321 corridor, which is also part of the North Carolina Data Center Corridor, joined together to submit an application to Google.  The momentum began while building the resume between mid-February to late March when community meetings were held, focus groups met, and government agencies worked together to put together the Google FTTH request.  The momentum continues as citizens read the online resume that includes the community’s story on how this project could transform the area, demographics, business opportunities, community organizations, and how the community has continued to persevere during extremely difficult economic times.


“There is a lot to learn about our communities on the resume and whether or not you have an interest in the project or do not know how it would enhance our community, we encourage everyone to take time to visit the website to learn more,” added Bailey.


To stay up to date on the Hickory/Lenoir Google project, join the more than 6,400 fans on the Woogle Hickory Lenoir Facebook page or check the websites of the surrounding local governments. 


According to the Google, a community will be chosen by the end of 2010.


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What is Apple Up To?

November 5th, 2009 by tbledsoe in Technology, Uncategorized

That has been the big question since Apple announced plans to build the biggest data center in the world here in Catawba County.  Apple has stated that it will deliver iTunes out of the center but industry analysts say that Apple does not need that large of a facility to just deliver iTunes.

Well maybe they do if iTunes becomes more than the music market that has made it so successful.  Rumors have it that Apple wants to deliver your favorite TV shows through iTunes.  If so, Apple could change or let’s say, revolutionize how we purchase entertainment services.  The service, which is expected to be via a-la-carte, would allow subscribers to pick the programs they wanted to view and pay accordingly.  The price is expected to be about $30 per month and serve as many as 65 million users via iTunes.

Success of the project requires Apple to get buy in from broadcast and cable TV programmers.  Industry experts say that changing the model will be difficult but acknowledge that Apple changed the model with iTunes and made  that industry profitable. 

Getting the first network will be the toughest but Apple may have an advantage here.  Industry executives believe the first to sign with Apple will be Disney.  Not hard to imagine since Steve Jobs is Disney’s largest single shareholder.  Jobs received the stock when Disney acquired Pixar animation studio in 2006.

Apple is very secretive with their plans so the future of Apple’s data center is still to be revealed.  However, changing the way something is delivered, simplifying the experience, and marketing at a price point that is beneficial to both the customer and Apple is what makes the company strong.  Delivering TV over iTunes follows that pattern, so could that be the plans for the data center?  We will be eagerly watching as the center goes up.

For more information about Apple’s iTunes rumor check out these postings:

All things Digital and Fast Company:

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Can you find me?

November 4th, 2009 by tbledsoe in Public Safety, Technology, Uncategorized

Sherrills-Ford Google Map 

Last week it was my pleasure to meet with a group of citizens at the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire Rescue base.  We were discussing 911 and emergency calls when one question came up.  “It is sort of hard to get to my house, could you find me?”  In today’s world of GPS’ and Google maps, that question sounds trivial.  However, if you look at the map of the Sherrills Ford area from Google, you can see all the little fingers of land and coves that attract people to live on the lake.  Finding some of these are difficult and add the fact that many GPS providers only update their map once every few years, the concern becomes very real.

So how do we find you?  Each EMS unit and Law Enforcement unit is equipped with GPS tracking and AVL (Automated Vehicle Location).  Just like the GPS in your car, the onboard GPS keeps constant track of the vehicle location.  Information from the unit, for example  location and speed, is sent back to a central data network.  How is this different from the GPS in your car?  Back at the central database, the GPS is integrated with the county’s GIS and complete up-to-date maps.  If a new road is added it will be available to our units in a few days.  New developments and new homes are added from the building services database.  Maps and data in the EMS and Law Enforcement units is constantly being updated.  At the same time, the location of each unit is being sent back to shift supervisors and to the 911 Center.

So how do we find you?  Let’s walk through the entire process.  You have just called 911 and stated that someone in your house is having chest pains.  Time is critical.  The 911 telecommunicator dispatches EMS to your location.  When you called, your phone number and address were displayed on the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) screen.  The 911 telecommunicator will always verify with you that this is correct.  When the call is dispatched, the 911 telecommunicator will call the EMS unit by radio.  At the same time, the information is being sent to a computer in the EMS unit.  The computer in the EMS unit displays the address and the emergency details  for the responders.  It also displays a map with the location of the EMS unit and the location of the emergency.  The responding unit can then choose to map to the location and the best route will be displayed on the computer screen.  As the unit travels to the location of the emergency, icons on the screen track progress.  Once at the scene, if  transport to a hospital is necessary, the system will map the best route to the hospital.

So how do we find you?  Thanks to GPS and AVL integrated with GIS, our units have up-to-date maps and routing information to save precious seconds when responding to your emergency.  So whether you live on a beautiful hard to reach cove on Lake Norman or small farm down a country road, relax, we should be able to find you.

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What would it be like if we couldn’t get answers in 5 minutes?

September 22nd, 2009 by tbledsoe in People, Technology, Uncategorized

In a meeting today, I was having a discussion with one of our young staff members.  The optimum word being young. Interpret – Gen Y.  We were discussing how to make a website easier for users to find and I told her type in “Search Engine Optimization” in Google.  The discussion them turned to Google and how easy it is to get answers.  She then made the statement, “I wonder what it would be like if we couldn’t get answers in 5 minutes?”

For those of us that remember, Before Google, this question is shocking but we know the answer to that question.  Before Google we spent hours, days, even months researching projects and trying to find answers to questions.  Often finding only one or two solutions because of limited books and resources at hand.  Sometimes we found all the information needed, sometimes we made decisions on the information we had only to find we didn’t have all the facts.  Doing research and getting answers to questions could be a painful process.

With Google and a host of other search engines, getting answers to questions is fast and easy.  Type in anything and you will get something back.  Find out about people, restaurants, building permits, definitions, maps that you can drive the route, anything you want to know.  And the 5 minutes in the question, if you have access to the information, you can get it from anywhere in the world in 8 seconds or less.

Those who hate change would say that this rapid access to information is bad.  Others would say that the information in cyberspace contains a lot of misinformation.  But to me the question represents an exciting time in our lives.

With the information available and the ease of access, people today have the tools to be more informed, the resources to make better decisions, and the power to challenge the status quo.  Research can be completed in a shorter period of time with more detail than we even thought to be possible Before Google.  Projects can be completed faster and one can build upon the knowledge gained from similar project information all over the world.  This feeds the change engine and leads to faster growth and innovation.

So “What would it be like if we couldn’t get answers in 5 minutes?”  I know the answer to that question, lived it, survived it but I wouldn’t want to go back.  I like having instant access to information and believe that it is making the world a more informed, better place to live.

So to my young colleague, take this powerful tool and change the world……

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What Should 911 Look Like in 2020? (Regional vs Local Model)

August 14th, 2009 by tbledsoe in Public Safety, Uncategorized

This  is the last article in a series of blogs related to 911 and what it should look like in the future.  Over the last few weeks, a series of questions that were posed to different groups for input were summarized and reveal the concepts that we feel make up the Next Generation of 911.  This last section talks about regional vs local models.

Should 911 Move to Regional Center verses the Current Local Model?

As 911 moves to NG911, it is important to look at regional verses local models.  How can data be passed ? What is the cost? How do you provide backup resources? And most important, how can the people best be served?

Some of the advantages of having regional 911 centers would be:

  • regional centers would make it easier to set consistent standards across the state
  • Regional centers could better facilitate resource sharing by acting as backups for each other and by load balancing in times of high demand.
  • Larger staffs at regional centers could be specially trained and dedicated to certain types of calls.

Some of the advantages of having local 911 centers would be:

  • Local centers are more familiar with the needs of the community they serve
  • Local centers are more familiar with the area and may have better GIS and mapping data available for the area
  • Local centers could back each other up and load balance using NG911 standards.
  • Having more local 911 centers reduces the security risks posed by having a few regional centers.

In discussing regional verses local, several questions come up.  Would regional 911 centers be call taking and dispatch or would they only be call taking and leave dispatch to local agencies?  Acting as call taking and dispatch makes the assumption that communication is fully interoperable and that 911 is one coherent system from the call taking process to the response in the field.  If regional centers are acting as call taking only and passing dispatch to local agencies, one has to make the assumption that local centers are capable of receiving all the data from the regional center and able to passing it on to responders.

Regional verses local is one area that will have to be studied in depth to determine the best delivery system.  This will be a balancing act between most efficient delivery of services, cost of delivery, and the emotional, political aspects of the delivery of service.

The mind maps created in the brainstorming session can be viewed at:

IT Governance Committee:  http://mind42.com/pub/mindmap?mid=df3eda39-6c8a-4f82-a3af-9a857803dee4 

Public Safety Information Committee: http://mind42.com/pub/mindmap?mid=6cc1eafb-c9e2-4a1e-ac12-683a5e6936cc

Regional 911 Administrators:  http://mind42.com/pub/mindmap?mid=a24ff7c5-07bb-46c2-85fb-5cbbe4913c00

Mind maps created using Mind42.

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What Should 911 Look Like in 2020? (What data should 911 be able to process?)

August 2nd, 2009 by tbledsoe in Public Safety, Uncategorized

This  is the third article in a series of blogs related to 911 and what it should look like in the future.  Over the next few weeks, a series of questions that were posed to different groups for input will be summarized and reveal the concepts that we feel make up the Next Generation of 911.

What data should 911 be able to process?

The original question asked in the discussion was “What should 911 look like in 2020?”  This takes us in the direction of Next Generation 911 and all of its potential to move and analyze data.  So what are the data implications for 911 in the future?

Currently, 911 calls come in on voice lines and are dispatched over the radio.  The data that comes in with these calls is ANI/ALI (Automatic Number Identification/Automatic Location Identification).  This includes the telephone number and the location of the number.  With older cell phones, the location may be the cell tower the call originated from. New cell phones give the GPS location of the caller.  Other data is gathered directly from the caller by a telecommunicator and is usually specific to the caller and the call at that moment.

Now consider what is possible if information could come in from virtually any source.  If the caller had a new cell phone, data could be sent in the form of text messages, email or voice.  The caller could also send pictures and perhaps video.  All of this information, whether transmitted by voice or data would be beneficial to the responders.  For example, a picture of a car crash could help determine the appropriate response.  In other scenarios, text messages could be sent silently protecting the location of the caller or provide a hearing impaired person a readily available method of contacting 911.

Data would not be limited to coming from phones. New model cars are being equipped with ACN(Automatic Crash Notification).  One familiar service is OnStar. Data from ACN can be passed directly to 911 and relayed to responders.  Depending on the system, ACN data can include vehicle speed, force of impact, areas of damage and is tied with GPS.  Some systems include sensors to detect body vitals such as heartbeat and temperature.

Another source of data is video.  Video can be passed from cell phones, surveillance cameras, news feeds, car cameras in law enforcement units, and  all types of web cams including traffic cams. These could be triggered to send information based on data from crash systems, traffic flow sensors, signal sensors, etc.  Having good video data during a response ensures that appropriate resources are sent and that there is not an over or under response to an incident.

Monitoring services have the potential to send very valuable data to 911.  Services like home security companies could have sensors on doors, window and rooms of a house including basement and attic areas to monitor everything from intrusion, fire, water and other dangerous things like carbon monoxide levels.  Most of these companies create a floor plan when installing the system so that they will know where a sensor is triggered.  Although all of this useful data is available today, a monitoring service is still forced to manually call a 911 Center and give information via voice communication.   With NG911 technology, monitoring services could pass any of this data directly to 911 and 911 could pass it to responding agencies.  Consider how useful it would be for law enforcement responding to a break in if they could see movement of the burglars on a diagram of the house and know which door the burglars are likely to exit.

Monitoring services are big users of sensors but in today’s security conscious world, sensors are being used by many agencies.  Sensors are being placed along major interstates to detect things like radiation, chemicals, and biological traces.  Other sensors detect more mundane things like roads that may be flooded or just reduced traffic flow.  Whatever the sensor is being used for, the data collected from it has the potential to be processed and passed through 911 to aid in emergency response.

Another form of security entering the market from the video surveillance arena is video detection.  This technology comes in many forms.  Some common to public safety are license plate recognition (LPR), facial recognition, and incident recognition.  LPR is used to detect stolen vehicles or vehicles wanted for some reason.  Facial recognition is being used for security at public buildings and at special events to detect security threats.  Incident recognition can be programmed to detect just about any action out of the norm.  For example, it could detect a slower traffic pattern on the highway while in a mall parking lot it could detect someone being abducted.  While this is a growing market area that may not be in use everywhere, 911 through NG911 should be able to process and pass this data to appropriate entities.

To this point, only data coming from outside sources has been discussed thus far.  All of the EMS, law, fire and rescue units in the field are constantly sending data back to 911.  This includes times, status and availability as well as location data from GPS.  So how would or could 911 process this amount of data.  Systems of the future must have some type of command and control built in.  It must be able to look at information coming in from unrelated sources and combine it together in some useful format for the particular incident that it is related to.  Once combined, pertinent data to the incident should be passed to responders.  This is a very difficult piece to put in place but a necessary one for future service to the public.

In the future, there will be a tremendous amount of data coming at 911 and as we talk about NG911, we must provide the capacity to receive it and to process it.   

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