The formation of National Interop was inspired by its customers, who are experiencing an explosion of new technology applied to very old problems: inadequate communications at emergency scenes.
Ask anyone in public safety what needed improvement on their last incident, and communications is always on the list.
Meanwhile, the application of Moore's Law to technology available to public safety has increased the number of technology providers by more than ten-fold, and the number of different technologies by ten-fold. We have literally seen an increase of 1000% in the past five years of the new technologies proposed for use in public safety.
We simply couldn't stand by and watch our long-time friends and colleagues in public safety grapple with all of this new technology on their own. So we combined our passion for the pragmatic and careful application of technology with our life-long involvement in public service, and a company was born.
The most obvious innovation that is fundamentally changing the public safety communications world is the arrival of IP Radio, which brings the potential of interoperability both backwards to legacy radio equipment and forward to the latest wireless device innovations such as handheld video displays.
IP Radio was the first -- but certainly not only technology – to convince the experts at National Interop that the fundamentals of emergency communications are changing.
Narrowband and ultra-narrowband technologies, the use of unlicensed spectrum, Digital P25 (APCO Project25) and other digital operating modes, text messaging and email, wireless mesh networks both fixed and mobile, sharing private agency networks and the public Internet, GPS and various location-based services, hosted web services and traditional agency-owned servers, computer-aided dispatching and incident dispatchers, interoperability switches and tactical repeaters… are all technologies that present a paradox for public safety and critical infrastructure managers.
It is a paradox because these technologies can be confusing, fantastic, troublesome, easy to implement, difficult to do well, save lives, increase risk, perform very well, and fail upon installation.
In short, they can help tremendously but also cause harm when inappropriate or installed poorly.
At National Interop we believe that the technologies absolutely must be considered, chosen carefully, and then implemented with the highest standards.
It does not have to be the most expensive to be the best, and our first responders deserve nothing less.