FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

DrugTest 5000 - Draeger Safety Diagnostics Inc
In the past, roadside drug screening has been difficult because it involved the...

Exclusive Webinar!

Originally aired: June 17, 2014  ‚óŹ 2PM EST

View Webinar Archive Here

Integrated Law Enforcement Complements and Completes Law Enforcement Capabilities

Discover how the combination of intelligence analysis, lead generation, agency collaboration, and communications integration can help you uncover issues faster and take action sooner. Learn how innovative IBM law enforcement solutions can extend the capabilities within your organization to deal with new and emerging threats, improve officer safety, reduce criminal activity, and protect the public. 

Join IBM industry expert Stephen Dalzell and members from the MDPD, IT and homeland security departments of the Miami Dade police department to hear more!

Click here to view archive

 

Features

Software: It's Nothing Without the Code

New software makes obtaining and organizing mission critical information easier than ever.

November 16, 2010  |  by Tim Dees - Also by this author


When new gadgets come on the market, I'm among the first to drool over them and contemplate how I'm going to justify my next purchase. It's easy to forget the work that goes into making those gadgets do what they do, those ones and zeroes that comprise their software. New software can be so complex that only the latest computers will run it, but it can also breathe new life into old metal and silicon.

So many of our tools are based on some kind of microprocessor, so it isn't just the devices immediately recognized as "computers" that benefit from these advances. Telephones, radios, and other gear also run on those lines of code we never see.

Communications hardware trends are moving away from dedicated, proprietary radios and data terminals toward consumer-grade devices. Consumer devices are often far more sophisticated than those developed for a much smaller market, taking advantage of the massive R&D that goes into a product that can produce millions in profit.

Your next portable radio might be an iPhone or a Droid. In the meantime, here's a look at software that you can use right now on the job.

Covia Labs DART Technology

Interoperability has been the name of the funding game for the last few years. Anti-terrorism preparation and natural disaster operations taught us that agencies have to be able to work together, talk to each other, and run off of the same game plan. Thus far, the answer to the communications problem has been to either junk the radios and networks in use in favor of new, cross-compatible models, or implement bridges between networks that can do the job, but also create a potential single point of failure.

Covia Labs is less than two years old as a company, but has a product with the potential to allow voice and data communications between any number of networks while everyone continues to use their existing hardware. Users and devices are added and removed from the operational network as needed, and when the operation is concluded, everyone goes back to working as they did before.

You've probably worked with platform-independent software like Java when viewing content over the Web. In order to play a game, view an animation, or otherwise interact with the host, you click on a link and a small application installs itself on your computer. When you're done, the application closes and is deleted.

Covia Labs' DART technology works similarly. A user of a laptop or smartphone might receive an e-mail containing a link to a Covia Labs server. Clicking on the link downloads and installs a small application allowing that device to communicate with others on the network, send and receive video, control other devices remotely, or perform any combination of these and other tasks.

A component called Covia Connector permits all peripherals attached to the connected device to also interact with the network, permitting the use of printers, cameras, repeaters, servers, and other resources by authorized users.

Voice communication across dissimilar networks is typically one of the most difficult services to implement with any satisfaction and reliability. Voice typically travels as a stream and in near-real time, so if there is a dropout or poor connection anywhere along the way, portions of the message are lost. Digital communications has done a lot to clear up these problems, but the result can still be an all-or-nothing proposition-you get a complete, clear message, or no message at all.

Covia's Push-to-Talk technology handles voice communications in a way similar to Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS. You may have MMS capability on your cell phone. If you can take a picture or a video and then send it to another phone with a text message, that's MMS.

DART stores the voice message as a digital file, then transmits it to the intended recipient(s) to be played back on arrival. There is some latency (delay) in this process, but most users have found it tolerable, especially considering the reliability of the method. If a portion of the message is unclear, there's usually no need to ask for a repeat. The message is just played back again, like a voice mail.

This process also eliminates the problem of several people transmitting at once, "stepping on" other users. The messages are received in the order sent, even if the difference between transmission times was in microseconds. The digital files are transparent to the network, so voice, images, video, text, and other information is sent as quickly and reliably as any other.

"There's been an assumption in the industry that we need 4G networks to do mapping and command and control as well as reliable voice and data communications," says David Kahn, CEO of Covia Labs. "We've been able to get voice communications with acceptable latency over standard cellular networks like AT&T and Verizon."

Connected Applications have been developed for Windows and Mac computer platforms and most cellular phone devices and networks. Development is ongoing for Project 25-capable communications systems used by most public safety operations.

Tags: Software


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Throwing Tech at the Problem
There are plenty of great products and services that help law enforcement embrace...
How to Start a Body Camera Program
Those who have succeeded in implementing wearable evidence capture programs say agencies...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine