2 comments on “Gimme a radio that works

  1. Interestingly, last week I spoke at a School Safety conference at the Colorado state capitol on the topic of interoperability between schools and the traditional first responder community. One of the things I mentioned was on example of pervasive interoperability in schools – that’s our kids using social media and SMS. Doesn’t matter what brand cell phone, GSM, CDMA, TDMA, etc., our kids (and of course other adopters) have instant and worldwide interoperability, even with automatic translation into many other languages. But we in the public safety community have much bigger challenges. Even with technical solutions, some fairly simple, many complex, most expensive, we then have our human factor issues to deal with. Like using common terminology and clear text. This isn’t new… and wasn’t new on 9/11. I worked on Project FIRESCOPE from the late 70s to the late 90s working on interoperability, even though we didn’t yet call it that, and I’ve been working on it since. Interoperability was identified as a major public safety issue in 1970 after the Laguna Fire in San Diego County. Which if nothing else means our limited progress spans 40+ years, not “just” a decade. Another example I use is my placing a phone call to another country, let’s just say Iceland. When the other party picks up the phone, we’ve achieved technical interoperability. But unless we both speak some common language, we have a human factor interoperability problem. It’s not much different with radios when we use different terminology, jargon, or, God forbid, codes. We (still) have a long way to go, baby.

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