Monday, March 14, 2011
From time to time, we receive comments that some of the things said in our Blog are somewhat harsh in expressing our opinion on things with which we do not agree. If you think we can be harsh, we would like to introduce you to Daryl Jones from out on the west coast. Daryl's Blog can be thought of as the Drudge Report for the communications industry.
A case in point is a recent Blog on the failure of P25. While P25 was, and is, a good idea; politics and indecision on the part of responsible agencies and self interests by the manufacturers who "support" this technology, coupled with apathy, indifference, and downright refusal to accept the need for interoperability by many in the public safety community have almost completely destroyed the original concept.
We pioneered the concept of the Doofus awards. Daryl has taken it to a whole new level! Without further comment, I refer you to Daryl Jones' Weblog:http://blog.tcomeng.com/index.php/2011/the-great-apco-project-25-boondoggle/.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
As the deadline for narrow banding comes closer, the horror stories related to this required change intensify. Worse yet, as government at all levels is forced to cut back on services, reducing work force, and delaying needed projects, the old traditions of squander and waste continue.
Case in point. We recently received notice that one of our ambulance customers was required to convert their radios to narrow band in order to continue communications with county dispatch. How much notice did we have? THREE DAYS and that was on a Thursday meaning that the work had to carry on into the weekend. This could have been done much less expensively with good planning and communications. As it turned out, the customer was financially penalized for lack of advance notice from the county dispatch center
A more graphic example is the case of the county communications dispatch center that relies on good old "xx", the local radio man who always takes care of them. He takes care of them by CHARGING the 911 board for helping them plan a migration to narrow band. The 911 director REFUSED to hear proposals from anyone other than good old "xx" even though we perform such services at no charge.
Here's another gem! In another county, the local 2-way shop charges $35 per radio for narrow banding, which is highway robbery compared to the rates of other service providers. The customers have no choice since this service shop, the champion of reducing cost to the consumer, takes care of their customers by password protecting their radios. This assures that unauthorized personnel cannot make unauthorized programming changes. The tragedy is that they don't throw him out and get competitive bids for service.
This narrow banding issue is not going to get better unless we all start using our heads and working together for the common good of all concerned. The good old days are over! The bright new day of common sense, cost efficiency, and better resource management is here. Are you ready to change the way that YOU do business? If so, give us a call at 800.489.2611 or email AtYourService@falcondirect.com. Do it today. You'll be glad you did!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Our March 2011 Blogs reflect a major emphasis on school safety. The reason being that Title IV and eRate funding is available for enhancing student, teacher, and driver safety. In Alabama, our schools are under proration (that's what you do when you don't have enough money to meet your needs).
Concurrent with a general lack of funding, there is a directive that all buses should be equipped with cameras and communications. Although off the radar, the need for GPS bus tracking is well known although the cost of infrastructure or utilization of cellular networks is cost prohibitive.
So, the conclusion is that there is a need to combine objectives for the purpose of reducing cost while simultaneously developing system technology that will qualify for grant funding (either Title IV, eRate, or both). That's why our new AVS (Advanced Video System) may be of considerable interest to our student safety and transportation administrators.
AVS is the ultimate bus camera system offering HD quality providing clarity and definition simply beyond comparison, but that's only part of the story. AVS eliminates the number one problem with bus cameras - you don't have to deal with removable storage devices - No tapes, no disks, no cards, no sticks - NOTHING!
And if you think that's something, think about this! The AVS system can provide voice and data communications plus real time vehicle monitoring. You read it right - With the AVS system, you don't need 2-way radios or cellular phones and you don't have to settle for a second class vehicle tracking system. With the AVS system, you can have real time vehicle tracking with simple report generation, emergency alarm reporting, and even the ability to look in on a bus from your office PC!
Want to know more? Give us a call at 205.854.2611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You are in for a very pleasant surprise!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
One of the major issues facing safety officials is the rapid and efficient movement of large groups of people to safety in an emergency. The problem is compounded when those needed to be orderly moved are children being directed by personnel who are primarily responsible for non-safety related activities (like classroom teaching for instance).
One of our fire department customers came up with a novel idea that we thought was worth sharing with our fire department and school users. We call it FireEvac since the plan was essentially developed for fire evacuation although it could be used for any emergency requiring the quick and orderly movement of students to an area of safety.
The secret of any evacuation plan is based on good communications between a person trained and skilled in incident command working through team members responsible for executing a coordinated evacuation plan. Through a combined effort between the City, the Fire Department, the School, and Falcon Direct; the FireEvac System was developed. Each member of the team was charged with a specific responsibility.
The Fire Department agreed to train school safety officers as coordinators responsible for student evacuation in one of four zones. The safety officers agreed to the necessary training under the supervision of an Incident Commander. Each of our four zone coordinators as well as the principal was equipped with a VHF radio set up for emergency operation on the fire department 2-way radio channel. The City agreed to fund the project with the purchase of the necessary school radios subject to a budgeted allowance of about the cost of a single HT750 radio. That's where Falcon Direct came in!
Falcon Direct met the cost target with ease! That's what makes us a little different than our peers. We don't just sell radios - we provide solutions! We would welcome the opportunity of helping YOU!
For additional information on the FireEvac plan, give us a call at 205.854.2611 or drop us an email to email@example.com.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Any law enforcement fleet administrator can quickly tell you the three major problems with current vehicle camera systems. To refresh your memory, they are (1) Cost, (2) Transference of recorded data, and (3) accessing the data when needed. A good dual camera system, installed, can be expected to cost between four and six thousand dollars per car plus the cost of the associated back office equipment. There is no efficient way to share data between agencies or the court system and real time viewing or file transfer can be a very expensive proposition. Now that we know the problem, let's look at a new solution!
We have a totally new vehicle camera system. We call if the AVS (Advanced Video Solution) System. The AVS system does it all for less! Big cameras with poor definition and bulky Mobile Video Recorders are replaced with micro sized high definition camera with no MVR required. The AVS system uses the computer already in most police vehicles, or we can provide an affordable and efficient mobile PC as part of the AVS package.
Unlike other mobile video systems, there are no CD's, SMC cards or other transfer devices used. You can transfer data automatically through an air card or public Wi-Fi to a cloud based server that provides viewing access to any authorized PC including courtrooms! There is no change of data being altered, corrupted, lost, or misused. It's there when you need it with a search system that allows easy retrieval by date, time, or even case number!
Did we mention that real time remote viewing is available? A shift commander can look in on any vehicle at any time directly from the office. Better yet, dispatch and administrative personnel can see the location of all vehicles at any time. You can even have live video streaming of a pursuit in progress! You get all the benefits of CAD plus a whole lot more!
Speaking of cost, did we mention that the AVS System actually costs LESS than a good quality standard video system? Want to know how much less cost? Give us a call at 205.854.2611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll be glad you did!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Over the past month, we have lost several bids on P25 radios. This is always distressing to a vendor who has done their best to make sure that potential customers get the best value for their money. What is more distressing is when a competitor offers an inferior product to win the sale based on price alone.
We take great pride in providing all the facts to allow prospective customers to make the best purchasing decision possible. This blog addresses such an issue. One of the considerations for determining suitability for a product performing a specified function is the use of standards based evaluation.
For example, the National Interagency Incident Command Division (NIICD) is a partnership between the USDA Forest Service and the Department of the Interior's agencies. NIICD's mission is to provide portable emergency communications for emergency use. Some might find it interesting to note that neither Kenwood, Motorola, or Vertex are approved for NIICD’s mission critical applications. A list of approved vendors is available by clicking here. Maybe that’s not important to you, but it is to those who truly understand the need for reliable mission critical communications.
Another standard for interoperability is the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP) which formally recognizes test laboratories to conduct a predetermined set of tests on P25 products. The tests demonstrate product compliance with a select group of requirements within the suite of P25 standards. Suffice it to say that the economical Vertex products (Motorola’s bargain basement) are not listed. For a listing of approved products, click here.
By the way – if are unfamiliar with the source of the aforementioned information, we strongly recommend a review of the FEMA Responder Knowledge Base at https://www.rkb.us. This is an excellent resource for first responders!
Before you purchase P25 radios, make sure you are getting not only the best price, but the best radios with support by a manufacturer and distribution partner (that’s us) committed not to just making a sale, but serving YOU! If you want all the P25 facts without fiction, give us a call at 205.854.2611 or email email@example.com.