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Intrepid Networks STING Mobile App

Written by Yesenia Salcedo

The number of mobile applications being created for police officers and other first responders is rapidly growing. Some are specifically for an officer’s personal use, and some are meant to be used to facilitate communications and the sharing of information between multiple officers. STING, created by Orlando-based Intrepid Networks, is one such system. STING is comprised of Web applications and a mobile application. The app is suitable for SWAT, narcotics, vice, surveillance, mobile field force, and advanced traffic/patrol units. STING can also benefit any integrated response team.

Designed for situational awareness in real time and to address communication issues during operations, the foundation of the suite is integrating officer positions and information gathering into a single mobile application. STING provides a live common operating picture (COP) for your entire team to view. You can view an officer list, road/satellite map and radar for greater context and situational awareness, in addition to automatically disseminating information. Each officer’s respective location can be adjusted or turned off at any time.

STING can hold a lot of information. Photo, text and voice-to-text notes can be collected and shared easily among your team. All information is geo-tagged and time-stamped for accuracy. You can receive notifications as information is shared with you, and effortlessly view all captured data in chronological order. After deletion, data is not archived to prevent undesired retrieval.

One of the main benefits is the increased communications efficiency. “Ultimately we want to shorten the communication loop to provide safer operations,” said Jason Winslow, business development manager at Intrepid Networks.

Tactical teams and other police officers have to rely on radios for communication on a regular basis. When they are called to a scene for an emergency situation, such as a “shots fired” call, those communications become so much more important—and increased radio communication can lead to chaos, which can be dangerous. Increased confusion leads to reduced situational awareness during dynamic situations.

“With police radios you can only transmit so much information at one time, and what STING does is offer a better way to communicate—a better way to create situational awareness,” Winslow said. “For example, let’s say there are three or four tactical team members on a mission trying to exchange information. Team Member 1 tells Team Member 2 where he thinks he is, and Team Member 2 interprets where Team Member 1 thinks he is, which may not be exactly where that team member is. With STING, any team member can see exactly where the other team members are.

“Now imagine a situation where an offender is fleeing, or there are shots fired, or where you have an ‘officer down’—that is going to increase radio traffic and possibly create some confusion,” Winslow said. Being able to use STING to find that injured officer is going to increase the speed of response and increase the safety of the operators.

“It’s all about enhancing the flow of information—the ability to save enough time on the radio simply by sharing locations alone makes a difference,” Winslow said. “But when you combine that with the ability to rapidly collect and disseminate other information like notes or photographs, which can be shared automatically if selected on the settings, that adds to operational efficiency.”

 

Positive Feedback

The majority of STING users are SWAT team members, and they have very positive feedback on the technology, according to Winslow. “Most of the teams have reported a reduced use of radio communication between 25 percent and 50 percent, freeing up radio time.”

One recent field trial included deploying STING for security operations for the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., where users reported STING was “invaluable” to security operations. Also, Winslow said there is a department in Florida that is currently using STING for patrol purposes, which has reported time-savings with traffic court mainly because of the automatic time- and location-stamp photo abilities of the app.

 

STING Administration

STING, which has been around for about two years, was developed by founders Britt Kane, who has an advanced technology background, and Joel Villa, who has a military background.

The app is designed to operate with existing commercial wireless devices as well as next-generation tactical radios. The mobile apps are built for both iOS and Android operating systems, while the web applications can be utilized by any Internet connected device with a modern browser.

While some police departments offer department-issued phones to their officers, many do not, but that doesn’t limit the officers who want to use STING. Today most police officers, and most first responders in general, carry their personal smartphones while on duty and use them for work purposes—specifically to communicate with their team members.

As such, Intrepid Networks designed the system architecture so that no data is stored on the mobile device. The fact that Intrepid Networks stores all the data with their own secure servers and none of the data is stored on the mobile device itself is a huge benefit, according to Winslow. “The notes, photos and all data is deleted from the device, so if a subpoena is served, it is directed at Intrepid and not the officer’s personal mobile phone,” he said. Of course, there is an option for agencies to store the data on internal servers.

 

Fees & Facts

Intrepid Networks, which has been around for four years, controls the distribution of the mobile apps and it is not available in the Apple App or Google Play stores. It is meant for teams or larger groups to synchronize operations. To date, there are many nationwide agencies using the STING system, and Intrepid Networks is currently discussing deployment options with more than 200 agencies.

Prices vary, so interested departments should contact Intrepid Networks to ask about pricing based on their department size (volume discounts are available. There are subscription options with relatively inexpensive annual service fees associated with the service, and there is also a one-time purchase fee option where the agency can use its own servers or pay a fee to have Intrepid Networks manage the data on Intrepid servers.

STING is designed specifically for law enforcement operations. Other situational awareness solutions on the market are developed for military requirements first and then marketed to public safety. “Every agency deserves a product designed exactly for its needs, and we designed STING specifically for law enforcement agencies” Winslow said.

 

Yesenia Duran is the former managing editor of, and current contributing editor to, LAW and ORDER and Tactical Response Magazines. She specializes in police technology devices and may be reached at ydsalcedo@gmail.com.


Published in Law and Order, May 2014

Rating : Not Yet Rated


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