Motorola Invests In School Security
Every parent’s worst nightmare is the call that tells you there is a security situation at your child’s schools. Unfortunately, in this day and age, more and more parents know what that call feels like. A well-drilled and co-ordinated response from all players involved is the key to managing an unfolding situation and cloud computing has begun to play a huge role in getting that right.
Telecommunications giant Motorola recently announced a $420 million investment in the SchoolSafetyFund that is “designed to meet the needs of early adopter states such as Colorado and New Jersey that have formally established the viability of direct emergency radio communications between schools and first responders during school incidents.”
SchoolSAFE Communications is a web-enabled, two-way-radio-based product that allows for communications interoperability between school radio systems and public safety radio systems. The SchoolSAFE equipment is permanently installed and integrated into school and public safety data networks to allow remote activation and deactivation, and select personnel alerting.
The nation’s public safety communications networks were largely built by Motorola and the long-term goal is to include every school nationwide in this sophisticated safety network.
Modern Day Classrooms
The evolution of the modern-day classroom and the gradual integration of sophisticated technology tools for learning is a well-documented phenomenon. These same tools and the astonishing power of the cloud are a logical tool in the preparedness of schools for emergency scenarios such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
Within the Department of Homeland Security, there is a division called Resilient Systems Division (RSD) that is designed to “rapidly develop and deliver innovative solutions that enhance the resilience of individuals, communities and systems.” Laying out its mission, the RSD makes the point that “Our nation has become more reliant on cyber-physical systems where computer networks control physical systems, such as Global Positioning System (GPS)-based technologies. RSD is developing technologies to identify the extent GPS is used in critical infrastructure sectors as well as assessing weaknesses within the data transfer and cyber physical systems.”
One of the most impressive examples of cloud technology being used in disaster relief is called Ushahidi, and was developed in Kenya in the wake of the violence that flared up after the disputed election of 2007 to pinpoint areas where violence was flaring up. Most recently, the technology was used to provide disaster relief following the Nepalese earthquake. Wikipedia explains that “The organisation uses the concept of crowdsourcing for social activism and public accountability, serving as an initial model for what has been coined as “activist mapping”—the combination of social activism, citizen journalism and geospatial information.”
In the US, the Ushahidi software has been used extensively in Louisiana to record the effects of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion on the DeepWater Horizon oil rig in 2010.
SchoolSAFE is a vital tool in the fight to make our schools safer and one of the most valuable examples of cloud computing being put to use for the greater good. With remote activation via a dedicated IP address, enhanced notifications in an instant via email and digital audio recordings which are invaluable in post-incident investigations, SchoolSAFE is a concrete step in the fight to turn the tide of despair and helplessness that currently exists in the fight for school safety.
(Image Source: Shutterstock)
By Jeremy Daniel