THE MAGAZINE

Solving the Interoperability Riddle

By Matthew Harwood

Another benefit is U.S. Department of Defense-grade encryption. Once an invitation is accepted and Covia’s Connector is installed on the smartphone, communications between authorized devices are protected by AES 256-bit encryption. The software allows communications to play in a “secure sandbox,” says Kahn.

It’s also scalable. “It’s something we could use for truly a two-person operation all the way up to multiple person, multiple agency operations,” says Levine. “I think it’s going to be something that law enforcement and first responders are going to find extremely valuable moving forward.”

The software geotags and archives the voice communication, which can be retrieved at any time. “If the end user didn’t understand you and wants to listen to that message again, they can play it back,” he said. For devices, like the iPhone, that do not have push-to-talk capability built in, Alert and Respond generates soft keys on the smartphones’ screen that provide that functionality.

Levine also likes one thing the software doesn’t do—it doesn’t remain active after the event. “The beauty of Alert and Respond is that once the operation is over, or if the unit is no longer part of the operation, we can cut them off,” he says. This gives the incident commander absolute control over what information is shared during an operation and peace of mind that when it’s finished, former partners don’t have access to his police department’s communications.

The Blair visit, says Levine, demonstrated that Alert and Respond is a game- changing technology. “We had a major challenge we were able to overcome with sharing communications, data, photos, and Blue Force Tracking with Alert and Respond because it was not dependent on any sort of radio system,” he says.

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