Apple to utilize RapidSOS to deliver 911 caller-location information to PSAPs

Donny Jackson | Urgent Communications

Apple this week announced that its devices will utilize RapidSOS technology to share location data with public safety when emergency calls are made using iOS 12, an upgrade to the Apple operating-system platform that is scheduled to be released later this year.

“Obviously, it’s very exciting for us,” Reinhard Ekl, vice president of product development for public safety at RapidSOS, said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We’ve been working with the 911 community for many years, and at the center of our mission as a company is to provide faster, more accurate and more comprehensive data to 911. Getting location from millions of smartphones in a way that is robust, secure, fast and reliable is going to be a game changer.

“It obviously elevates our platform and makes it possible to reach a whole other audience and get it out to every 911 center in the country.”

Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) technology in 2015 that leverages GPS, network-based location information and the location of Wi-Fi access points to estimate a caller’s location, according to an Apple press release.

“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a prepared statement. “When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.”

RapidSOS CEO, Michael Martin echoed this sentiment.

“911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection,” Martin said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to work with Apple to provide first responders a new path for accurate, device-based caller location using transformative Next Generation 911 technology.”

Amid growing privacy concerns, Apple announced that the location information would not be used for commercial purposes and that only the responding public-safety answering point (PSAP) would have access to the caller’s location information during the emergency call.

Ekl said that this week’s Apple announcement is a reflection of RapidSOS’s philosophy to partner an integrate with all aspects of the 911 ecosystem.

“In the case of Apple, we receive the location information from Apple—it’s really their location technology that comes to play,” Ekl said. “What we contribute is the modern mechanism to deliver it to the PSAP.

“In other cases, we might be getting information from other sources. If you look at our partnership with Uber, it’s Uber that calculates the location, and we are the conveyance mechanism for the data to reach 911. Really, our core expertise is how to integrate new data sources and supplemental data with existing 911 systems.”

Under FCC rules passed in 2014, wireless carriers are required to provide PSAPs with caller-location information that is accurate within 50 meters 80% of the time by 2021. RapidSOS this year received the results from its participation in Stage 2 testing in the FCC-mandated location testbed that was conducted in late last year, Ekl said.

“It was very encouraging, because it just proved on standardized mechanisms what we had already known from our own field testing—devices with hybrid location from smartphone location services far exceeds what location-accuracy requirements are today and actually exceeds the location-accuracy requirements for 2021,” Ekl said. “The results of our testbed showed that more than 90% of calls were within 50 meters.

“That just shows that it’s time to act. It’s not a viable approach for public safety just to wait until 2021. If there’s location [technology] that’s available today that’s much better and much more accurate, then we just have to do everything we can to get it in front of the call-takers who need it the most.”

The RapidSOS clearinghouse platform also will support vertical—or Z-axis—information when that is available, Ekl said.

“When we get altitude readings from the device, from the application or from any provider or partner that sends us data, we can pass it on to public safety,” Ekl said. “It’s been very interesting to see that evolve. Public safety is still debating how to think about elevation data—there’s all of these ideas about barometric pressure, and nobody really knows what to do with that.

“At the same time, smartphone location services are starting to return an altitude reading in meters. In the near future, it’s been announced by Google that they’re working on floor-level accuracy. That’s just amazing. We have to take advantage of that and give call-takers the best possible data that’s available from the smartphones.

In addition to this week’s iOS 12 announcement with Apple, RapidSOS has conducted pilot programs with devices using the Android operating system that currently are being evaluated by Google, Ekl said.

with caller-location information that is accurate within 50 meters 80% of the time by 2021. RapidSOS this year received the results from its participation in Stage 2 testing in the FCC-mandated location testbed that was conducted in late last year, Ekl said.

“It was very encouraging, because it just proved on standardized mechanisms what we had already known from our own field testing—devices with hybrid location from smartphone location services far exceeds what location-accuracy requirements are today and actually exceeds the location-accuracy requirements for 2021,” Ekl said. “The results of our testbed showed that more than 90% of calls were within 50 meters.

“That just shows that it’s time to act. It’s not a viable approach for public safety just to wait until 2021. If there’s location [technology] that’s available today that’s much better and much more accurate, then we just have to do everything we can to get it in front of the call-takers who need it the most.”

The RapidSOS clearinghouse platform also will support vertical—or Z-axis—information when that is available, Ekl said.

“When we get altitude readings from the device, from the application or from any provider or partner that sends us data, we can pass it on to public safety,” Ekl said. “It’s been very interesting to see that evolve. Public safety is still debating how to think about elevation data—there’s all of these ideas about barometric pressure, and nobody really knows what to do with that.

“At the same time, smartphone location services are starting to return an altitude reading in meters. In the near future, it’s been announced by Google that they’re working on floor-level accuracy. That’s just amazing. We have to take advantage of that and give call-takers the best possible data that’s available from the smartphones.

In addition to this week’s iOS 12 announcement with Apple, RapidSOS has conducted pilot programs with devices using the Android operating system that currently are being evaluated by Google, Ekl said.

 

Source: http://urgentcomm.com/ng-911/apple-utilize-rapidsos-deliver-911-caller-location-information-psaps?page=1

 

Judge Grants Approval For Time Warner/AT&T Merger

By Jim Fryer, Managing Editor, Inside Towers

A U.S. court under Judge Richard Leon ruled late Tuesday, that AT&T could buy Time Warner Inc for $85 billion, without conditions, according to Reuters. The ruling opens the door for AT&T to compete with internet companies and grab the bottomless revenue stream associated with digital advertising, while providing new sources of revenue as carriers search for new income outlets in a stagnating market.

The deal also opens the way for additional mergers, such as Comcast Corp’s bid for some of Twenty-First Century Fox’s assets.

“I conclude that the government has failed to meet its burden of proof,” Judge Leon told the court. He called one of the government’s arguments against the deal “gossamer thin” and said any attempt to obtain a stay of his ruling would not only be unsuccessful but “manifestly unjust.”
Reuters said shares of AT&T were about flat in after-hours trade following the decision, while Time Warner rose more than five percent. Afterwards, AT&T praised the decision and said it hopes to close the deal by June 20.

Published June 13, 2018

Source: insidetowers.com

AT&T’s extreme-weather drone provides new LTE coverage option in difficult environments

AT&T announces a tethered drone that is designed to operate as a cell on wings (COW) that can provide broadband coverage in extreme weather conditions—a capability that promises to be valuable to AT&T, enterprise customers and first responders, according to an AT&T official.

AT&T recently announced a tethered drone that is designed to operate as a cell on wings (COW) that can provide broadband coverage in extreme weather conditions—a capability that promises to be valuable to AT&T, enterprise customers and first responders, according to an AT&T official.

Art Pregler, AT&T’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program director, said that AT&T previously has used drones to provide surveillance video of cell tower and deliver LTE coverage to remote areas, but the new drone has been designed to operate in rain, snow and winds up to 50 miles per hour.

“With most drones, the manufacturer designs the drone and then—kind of as an afterthought—they figure out how it can fly in various weather conditions,” Pregler said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Whereas, with this drone, from its initial concept, it was designed for harsh weather.

“For example, the motors are pointed down instead of up. The arms are hollow tubes that channels air through the tubes to cool the engines while it’s running. We put a cybersecurity system on our drone, as well, so that if anyone tries to hack it, jam it or spoof it, the drone autonomously detects what’s going on and will switch frequencies, and it will mitigate the threat. We’ve done quite a few things to it to ensure that it’s robust, so it can operate not only in harsh environments but in threatening environments, as well.”

AT&T’s all-weather drone has a 550-tether that provides power and two strands of fiber-optic connectivity—one to support data transmission and one for drone telemetry—from the LTE equipment on the drone to a ground station, where myriad backhaul options can be employed, Pregler said.

“If there’s no backhaul at all, then we’ll default to satellite,” he said. “But, if there’s Ethernet available, we’ll tap into that. If there’s microwave, we’ll go with that. We can also go with free-space optical, we can tie into aerostats, and we can even tie into AirGig, which is an AT&T technology using power lines. So, there are a lot of options for backhaul.”

From a power standpoint, the AT&T all-weather drone can use power from the commercial grid, generators, batteries or even a solar-panel array, Pregler said. As long as power is available, the new drone can remain in flight “theoretically forever,” but AT&T is still conducting tests to determine limits. Currently, AT&T is not using a drone for more than 24 hours at a time without maintenance, although manufacturers have stated that they believe the drone can remain operational for several weeks at a time.

Such power versatility and the 550-foot tether let the new AT&T drone provide LTE coverage for a significant area—potentially much more range that AT&T realized via LTE coverage during disaster-recovery efforts in Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Pregler said.

“The value of the drone with LTE technology is that LTE is line of sight, so the higher you go in altitude, the wider the coverage area,” Pregler said. “If you fly the drone at 550 feet, that’s taller than any tower in our network, so we’re able to put out a very large coverage area.

“In Puerto Rico, we only flew it at 200 feet, and even there, we had a 14-square-mile coverage area for each drone. And the real value there is that we’re able to get over trees, ridges and rough terrain, over buildings and over other structures, so it has a lot of value in the coverage capability.”

Pregler said AT&T’s experience in Puerto Rico using drone technology to provide temporary LTE coverage was valuable.

“We took our program from something that we believed could be done to putting it into practice and proved that is something that is viable, it does provide value, and it works,” he said. “It validated a lot of assumptions for us. We feel much more confident. Not that we weren’t confident to begin with, but having proven it in the field, we know our solution works.”

Source: http://urgentcomm.com/long-term-evolution/att-s-extreme-weather-drone-provides-new-lte-coverage-option-difficult-environme?eid=forward

ATS Successfully Completes Annual ISO Audit

Advanced Technical Services has successfully completed a re-certification audit by NSF in May of 2018.

The certification verifies that the Quality Management System implemented and maintained by ATS meets the requirements of the ISO 9001-2015 standard for our repair processes.

ATS has been ISO certified since 2007 and is proud of the ongoing commitment from our entire team.

M&A: Comcast eyes Fox buy

May 23, 2018    By BTR Staff

Comcast  is considering an all-cash offer to acquire portions of Fox. Disney has already made an all-stock offer for those same assets. Comcast issued the following statement:

"In view of the recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by The Walt Disney Company ('Disney') and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ('Fox') in preparation for their upcoming shareholder meetings to consider the acquisition of Fox by Disney, Comcast Corporation ('Comcast') confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney (which do not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets). Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney. The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of 'New Fox' and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer."

"While no final decision has been made, at this point the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced."

In February, Comcast announced a proposed cash offer for UK-based Sky. Comcast bought NBCUniversal in 2011.

Source: https://www.broadbandtechreport.com/articles/2018/05/m-a-comcast-eyes-fox-buy.html?cmpid=enl_btr_weekly_network_technology_2018-05-24&pwhid=66f81cc62bcbde81149dfab4493bdade22d0d8e60bc12173d3ace81fc1fd6b5480c74d12322ed74d82139006a117d59f609e5fc7200cf0ad99d81e78e78ff649

Drones May Need ‘License Plates’ in the Near Future

May 24, 2018 | FAA
By Michael Pehel

A new rule proposed will require drones registered with the FAA to display a unique identifier assigned externally on the craft. Currently, owners are required to enclose the ID on the inside of the drone with the suggestion of utilizing the battery department. The precise method or form this external ID would take was not stated in the initial rule proposal, but would be determined through the rule making process.

The change was recently listed as part of the semiannual Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, but the actual proposal happened over a month ago. The increase of small UAVs within the NAS has drawn the concern of regulators for years with the registration requirement for non-commercial drones going back and forth between the FAA and the courts. In May of last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the requirement was no longer necessary for hobbyist drones. By December, that ruling was rendered null by the National Defense Authorization Act, which required every drone weighing more than .55 pounds to go through the registration process.

In a recent forum hosted by Bloomberg, Acting Administrator of the FAA Daniel K. Elwell stressed the importance of tracking drones in the United States.“We need assurances that any drone, any unmanned aircraft, operating in controlled airspace is identifiable and trackable,” Elwell said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Calls for IDs on all drones are coming from both the defense and security side of things as well as the commercial market, whose vendors see digital IDs as a path to safe beyond visual line of sight operations.

Source: https://www.interdrone.com/news/drones-may-need-license-plates-in-the-near-future/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=InterDrone%20News%20-%20The%20FAA%20is%20Looking%20to%20Put%20License%20Plates%20on%20All%20Drones%2005-24-18%20(1)&utm_content=

Ford Will Stop Selling Fiesta, Focus, Fusion In North America

Ford's North American car lineup will soon be just the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active crossover.

If you live in North America, say goodbye to the lovely Fiesta ST and Focus RS (pictured above). In its 2018 quarter-one earnings call today, Ford announced that it's going all in on SUVs and trucks here, and it plans to kill most of its car lineup within the next few years. At that point, the only cars it'll sell in North America are the Mustang, and the Focus Active crossover-esque hatch.

A Ford spokesperson confirmed to us that the current Taurus will end production in March 2019, while North American-market Fiesta production will cease in May 2019. There isn't a specific timeline for the end of Fusion production. The conventional Focus hatchback that just debuted for Europe last week won't come to the US at all.

All these cars are disappearing in favor of the SUVs and trucks customers demand, which are more profitable than Ford's cars anyway. Ford says that by 2020, 90 percent of its offerings will be "trucks, utilities, and commercial vehicles." The Dearborn company also says it's exploring potential new models that "combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility."

In a statement, Ford CEO Jim Hackett explained the move away from sedans and hatchbacks.

"We are committed to taking the appropriate actions to drive profitable growth and maximize the returns of our business over the long term," Hackett said. "Where we can raise the returns of underperforming parts of our business by making them more fit, we will. If appropriate returns are not on the horizon, we will shift that capital to where we can play and win."

In layman's terms, Hackett is saying that Ford isn't really making money off cars like the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion, so it's shifting its focus to trucks and SUVs.

All of this is part of a plan to cut $5 billion in planned spending from 2019 to 2022. It makes sense, but enthusiasts who've grown to love Ford's hot-hatches like the Fiesta and Focus ST, plus the Focus RS won't like this news. Oh well, at least we're getting the Edge STand upcoming Explorer ST here. And we'd throw a fit if the Mustang died.

Source: https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/a20066196/ford-killing-focus-fiesta-north-america-2022/

Google Said to Be In Talks With Nokia for In-Flight WiFi Technology

Google is reportedly in talks with Nokia to buy Nokia Oyj’s aircraft broadband division as part of its plans to build an in-flight broadband internet service. Bloomberg reports the companies are in talks about the issue and could agree on a deal soon. Neither company is commenting.

Nokia has been developing its LTE air-to-ground (A2G) cellular-based system for five years, however it’s a lesser priority for the company than 5G deployment, according to the account. Nokia’s system creates an airborne WiFi connection by communicating with cell networks on the ground, rather than a satellite.

“Passengers expect 24/7 internet connectivity that’s equal to their experience with terrestrial WiFi hotspots,” says Nokia on its website. “Current short-haul and medium-haul continental flights use satellite-to-ground internet communications systems that are bulky, expensive, and have limited capacity, as well as high latency.”

The telco says it’s A2G architecture eliminates “the delay hop to a satellite,” and is more affordable than satellite-based systems.

Nokia’s technology could help Google offer a faster WiFi service than what is currently offered on planes, according to the sources. Current in-flight connectivity is spotty with weak bandwidth, reports Bloomberg. A Nokia deal is a business opportunity for Google that would give it a chance to expand its services.

Indeed, Nokia says its LTE A2G technology will provide a better in-flight experience, with business travelers able to use video conferencing while leisure travelers can watch live TV. The telco boasts to potential technology buyers in a white paper, that its onboard equipment is modular and versatile, including one or two small antennas along with a “compact and low weight on board unit with a transceiver that acts as a hub and ground interface.” It says its secure IP architecture allows operators to build a “complete, cost effective end-to-end network, including core, backhaul, LTE Radio Access Network and modem or end-user devices”.

 

 

 

Source: https://insidetowers.com/cell-tower-news-google-said-talks-nokia-flight-wifi-technology/?utm_source=Inside+Towers+List&utm_campaign=b7c1a9e854-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_af16c4fc22-b7c1a9e854-91617185

Exporting hurricane damaged “total loss” cars

Exporting hurricane damaged “total loss” cars

Posted on April 6, 2018 by aviyer2010

An article in the Wall Street Journal (April 5, 2018) titled “Hurricane-Damaged Cars Moving Again as U.S. Exports”, describes the disposition of over 600,000 cars declared a “total loss” i.e., whose repair cost would exceed their replacement cost. These cars are sold by insurance companies at auctions and then exported. The result is a 12% increase in export volume of cars shipped via twenty foot containers (at 5 cars per container). These repaired cars then find a new life in overseas markets where they are either salvaged for parts or refurbished for use. The continued weather challenges suggests that this export increase may continue as the supply of damaged cars continues at a rapid pace. Should manufacturers of these vehicles intervene to salvage these vehicles in the US, or let them find their appropriate demand locations ? Should vehicle designs be expected to change to respond to the nature of the weather patterns in coastal regions ?

Mediacom: Subs Flocking to 1 Gig Speeds

Who knew 1 Gig services might turn out to be popular even when priced fairly high? Mediacom certainly didn't.

In a pleasant surprise, the fifth-largest US cable operator is enjoying strong early subscriber interest in its new 1 Gig service powered by DOCSIS 3.1 over HFC lines. And that interest is there even though the cableco does not heavily discount the service nor offer any extra benefits. So go figure.

Speaking at Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver two weeks ago, Mediacom Communications Corp. CTO JR Walden said somewhere between 10% and 20% of new broadband subscribers are flocking to the cableco's new 1 Gig service, which it promotes as the fastest of its five speed tiers following a 16-month rollout throughout its 3-million-home footprint. Calling this early take rate unusually high, Walden said it compares quite favorably with the operator's initial penetration rate for DOCSIS 3.0 and the earlier DOCSIS specs. The 1 Gig service costs about $140 a month on a standalone basis and about $125 a month when bundled with other cable products like video and voice.

You're invited to attend Light Reading’s Big Communications Event -- the ONE event that delivers fresh perspective on the rapid transformation of the telecom industry and the road ahead. We'll see you May 14-16 in Austin -- communications service providers get in free!


"It's working great," Walden said. "It's also doing really well… far better than we thought it would do." Customers "are buying it at a really significant rate and we're happy to fill that need."

Mediacom, the fifth-largest cable operator in the US, has been one of the most aggressive US MSOs in rolling out DOCSIS 3.1, which can enable speeds as high as 10 Gbit/s downstream and 2 Gbit/s upstream. After upgrading its 22-state HFC plant for the new spec, the operator has been busy installing D3.1 cable modems in the homes of its data customers, covering 30% to 45% of its 1.2 million data households so far.

Notably, Walden said, Mediacom's early 1 Gig customers don't appear to be using the faster speeds in any new ways. For more on this story, please turn to our sister site, Broadband World News.

 

 

Source:http://www.lightreading.com/cable/docsis/mediacom-subs-flocking-to-1-gig-speeds/d/d-id/7