Kopis Mobile is excited to announce that we have been ranked #384 in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. This is truly an honor for the Kopis Mobile team. Additionally, we ranked third in the Computer Hardware category nationwide and we are the second fastest growing company in Mississippi. This honor could not be achieved without all of the hard work, dedication, late nights and lots of travel done by Team Kopis. When I say Team Kopis, it’s not just the men and women who come into the offices every day, it also includes our employee’s families. Our folks missed a lot of family events and quality time with their kids over the years. 

This honor solidifies our endeavor to develop and deliver the best products to those that keep us safe! It fuels us to work even harder to improve their efficiency, safety and awareness.

Congrats Team Kopis on a job well done!

Cellular Network For First Responders Set To Launch

First Responder Network

We have been hearing about a first responder cellular network for over two years now. During the attacks on September 11, 2001, the cellular network in and around New York City was completely over taxed. It took 11 years for Congress to establish a first responder specific network. It would seem it has taken another 6 years to finally make it a reality.

After years of discussion and planning, a nationwide cellular network for police, firefighters and other first responders is set to launch.

The FirstNet broadband network will allow public safety workers to communicate directly through voice, text, data and video. In emergency situations when cell towers are overloaded, communication to and from emergency personnel will take priority over calls from the public.

As the Washington Post describes it, paramedics in the back of an ambulance will be able to send video ahead to the emergency room, firefighters can stream video of an incident to their commanders, and police who aren’t near a computer will be able to access criminal records. The network will also track the locations of safety workers.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was established by Congress in 2012 in response to the communication problems after the Sept. 11 attacks, but the plan to create a broadband network didn’t move forward until this year, when a major carrier signed on as a partner.

In March, FirstNet announced that it had awarded AT&T the wireless spectrum for the project. AT&T has agreed to invest $40 billion to build out the network and secure it.

The network is expected to launch this coming March. 

States Signing On

States and territories must sign on to the project individually. In June, FirstNet and AT&T released customized plans for each state outlining the coverage, features and capabilities of FirstNet.

Since 2013, FirstNet has worked with states, territories, public safety officials and federal authorities to collect input on how the network could best meet their communication needs.

“When we announced our public-private partnership in March, we committed to begin building this unprecedented network and technology ecosystem for public safety later this year,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president of AT&T – FirstNet, said in a June 19 statement. “Later begins now. States, territories and public safety have expressed their desire to move quickly.”

As of Friday, 10 states had opted in: Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. The U.S. Virgin Islands territory has signed on as well.

According to the Washington Post report, FirstNet has set a series of deadlines for states that began Friday, which was the cutoff to provide comments or ask questions. In mid-September, FirstNet will notify states that they have 90 days left to make a decision. Mid-December is the final deadline to opt in. 

Promises and Concerns

FirstNet is not intended to replace traditional radio dispatching, but due to bandwidth shortages, it is viewed by many as a much-needed supplement that will offer more reliable communication and new methods of communicating, aside from just voice.

Network security will be paramount, due to the private and sensitive nature of some emergency communications. AT&T has pledged to create “the most secure network on Earth” – one that is as bulletproof as possible with security centers that are dedicated solely to monitoring it.

Still, some first responders have reservations. The Washington Post article pointed to concerns about the cost of purchasing phones for officers and firefighters – many of whom do not have department-issued smartphones now – and paying for the subscription plans. Thus far, AT&T has not released plan or pricing details.

Some agencies also have reservations because they’ve purchased wireless service plans from other carriers. Joining FirstNet would require committing time and money to switch.

Partners and Integrators

AT&T certainly won’t be alone in getting the network off the ground. Partners like Motorola, for one, have signed on to provide mobile apps, software and services for FirstNet as part of AT&T’s team.

A slew of developers are expected to begin creating apps for the network’s smartphones now that the launch is imminent.

FirstNet has compiled a list of hundreds of vendors that have expressed interest in subcontracting or partnering on project requests for proposals (RFPs). Although the deadline to get on the list has passed, being on the list is not a requirement to submit a proposal or participate in an RFP related to the the project.

A cellular network like this is long over due. First responders have to be able to communicate during a crisis. Hopefully, all the other states in the country get on board with this ASAP.

Opioids, The New Hazardous Material

Opioids are everywhere

In our continuing effort to post information about what are first responders are doing and what they have to face, I wanted put this out about opioids. This is an ever growing problem in this country.

It is amazing how bad the abuse of opioids have become. They are to easily prescribed and to accessible.

The following is an article from the Eagle-Tribune:

LAWRENCE, Mass. —The discovery of three men who overdosed on illicit drugs in a Garden Street home earlier this month triggered an intense response from firefighters specially trained in handling hazardous-material incidents.

Backed by local police, firefighters and paramedics, the investigation exceeded six hours and carried an estimated price tag of $75,000. Testing revealed the three men had overdosed, two of them fatally, on a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl, a man-made opioid 50 times stronger than morphine.

In the wake of the overdoses, and the public response that followed, Fire Chief Brian Moriarty is asking for some guidance at the state level.

Going forward, Moriarty said he thinks firefighters need standards and protocols to follow when they handle overdoses that may involve highly toxic substances. The fear on Garden Street that morning was the men had overdosed on either fentanyl or carfentanil, an even stronger man-made opioid that can be toxic to someone merely in its presence.

“I definitely think this needs to be reviewed… It’s always safer to have an abundance of caution than to ignore it. But we need to work on the future of how we are going to handle this,” Moriarty said.

He explained that for years firefighters have used universal precautions—gloves, masks and eye goggles—when they respond to medical aid calls, including reports of overdoses.

Now, when are those universal precautions sufficient? he asked.

“We need more education and training,” said Moriarty, who contacted the state’s Division of Fire Services and the state fire marshal. He said state officials were receptive to his request and planned to discuss the matter further.

Current policy calls for police and fire chiefs to weigh the necessity of a heightened overdose response and then notify the state if specialized services, such as a hazmat team or bomb squad, are needed, according to James DeSimone, spokesman for the state’s Division of Fire Services.

“Basically, it’s case by case on the local level. They made the decision if they feel they need our services… We are not responding to every overdose,” DeSimone said.

At 6 a.m., Monday, July 17, rescuers responded to a two-family home at 194 Garden St. after the homeowner called police to report cocaine he ingested may have been laced with “carfentanil,” Fitzpatrick said.

Officers arrived to find two men dead and the survivor, Jorge Contreras, 33, in need of immediate medical treatment.

Fitzpatrick said Contreras told police he “thought it was straight cocaine.”

“He said, ‘I took it and I knew something was wrong because I was getting all groggy,'” Fitzpatrick said. “He said, ‘I snorted it and all of a sudden my body starting shutting down.'”

Contreras remained hospitalized this week and may have suffered some nerve damage due to the overdose, Fitzpatrick said.

Similarly to firefighters, Fitzpatrick said police officers will “glove up” and wear protective masks when responding to overdoses or other drug calls. At times, officers encounter what appears to be a narcotics “mill operation or packaging area” and have contacted hazardous materials experts.

Fitzpatrick said Lawrence detectives in the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit have worked with Drug Enforcement Administration agents who have training in hazardous materials response.

The overdoses at 194 Garden St. remain under investigation as detectives try to ascertain where and from whom the men obtained the cocaine-laced with fentanyl.

No similar overdoses were reported in Lawrence during the past two weeks.

With the exception of the Garden Street overdoses, Fitzpatrick said the department has not encountered many cases where cocaine was combined with fentanyl.

In June, however, the New York City Health Department issued a warning to cocaine users, “even occasional users,” that fentanyl had been implicated in a growing number of cocaine-involved deaths.

“In the past, fentanyl has been commonly present in heroin-involved deaths but fentanyl is increasingly being identified in other overdose deaths involving other drugs,” according to the alert.

In Lawrence, while Jorge Contreras, 33, survived the overdose, his brother who shared the same name, Jorge Contreras, 31, died. Joel Rodriguez, 26, also died.

The second floor of 194 Garden St., where the overdoses occurred, were sanitized by a professional cleaning company before the building could be inhabited again.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration, in recent alerts, warned that carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds are a serious danger to public safety workers, including first-responders, medical and laboratory personnel, and others.

“These substances can come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets, and spray—they can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder,” the DEA warned.

Signs of carfentanil and fentanyl exposure include respiratory depression or arrest, drowsiness, disorientation, sedation, pinpoint pupils, and clammy skin. The onset of these symptoms usually occurs within minutes of exposure.

The antidote for opioid overdose is Naloxone, also known as Narcan, which is administered through nasal canisters.

Illegal doses of heroin have been combined with both fentanyl and carfentanil, triggering overdoses.

The New York City Health Department also issued a warning in June to cocaine users warning them fentanyl has been implicated in a growing number of overdose deaths, as was the case in three overdoses—two of which were fatal—in Lawrence on July 17, 2017.

Virtual Training Prepares First Responders For An Active Shooter

Active Shooter Drills

We like to spread the word about things that assist our first responders to be better trained and prepared for bad situations. An active shooter scenario can be very chaotic and dynamic situation. The following article was put out by DHS last month.

Amidst the chaos of an active shooter event, preparedness is key to a seamless, swift and effective response—and a new video game funded by the DHS S&T and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory just might do the trick. Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, or EDGE, is a virtual training platform, available now to all response agencies nationwide. Built on the Unreal Engine, it allows responders of all disciplines to assume discipline-based avatars and simultaneously role-play complex response scenarios.

Amidst the chaos of an active shooter event, preparedness is key to a seamless, swift and effective response—and a new video game funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory just might do the trick.

S&T says that Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, orEDGE, is a virtual training platform, available now to all response agencies nationwide. Built on the Unreal Engine, it allows responders of all disciplines to assume discipline-based avatars and simultaneously role-play complex response scenarios. The first scenario, an incident at a local hotel, brings law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, dispatch, and unified command together to combat an active shooter also armed with fiery Molotov cocktails.

“We developed the EDGE virtual environment to be completely true-to-life,” explained Milt Nenneman, Program Manager in S&T’s First Responders Group. “Everything from the hotel lobby to the elevators to the boiler rooms to the bedspreads in the guest quarters, was built completely to scale.” The scenario is based on a real hotel in Sacramento, where the program was piloted with local response agencies.

EDGE also features authentic response vehicles, tools, and personal protective equipment. The training is not pre-scripted; most EDGEavatars—including the actual shooter—are controlled by the responders themselves using agency-standard operating procedures to guide all training outcomes. Responders navigate their avatars as they would act in a real emergency, responding to threats according to their department’s policies.”

The beauty of EDGE is it was designed to allow a single agency to train its staff or multiple agencies can train together across disciplines and jurisdictions for a more synchronized response. And, unlike real-world training exercises, EDGE doesn’t cost money for agencies to travel to a single location—they can conduct the training from their own home stations. The goal: improve coordination and communication before an active shooter or other catastrophic event happens in order to mitigate injuries and loss of lives during a live response. 

All actions are determined by first responders’ own decisions in the environment, which means the game can play out differently depending on the specific training exercise and first responders’ actions. Because of the open sandbox, a department’s instructors can create any event or scenario to reinforce their training curriculum.

“These days, it is essential that responders have every tool at their disposal to prepare for and respond to critical incidents,” Nenneman added. “Those first at the scene must make decisions in a flash, and in those initial moments every bit of training helps to save civilian and responder lives.”

S&T and the Army plan to release a second EDGE active shooter training scenario using a school as the backdrop later this year. Like the hotel scenario, the school shooting environment will be available for free to all first responder agencies and personnel charged with school (and student) protection.

“These types of incidents are now an unfortunate reality, and when schools come under fire everybody becomes a first responder,” Nenneman said. “This EDGE scenario was created to train staff on the critical steps to take, whether corralling students for a quick exit to a safe location or barricading classrooms before responders arrive on the scene.”

The EDGE school environment will be released in fall 2017.

Not All First Responders Have Two Legs

World Trade Center Search

When most of us think of first responders, we often think of a firefighter or police officer. The four legged variety isn’t usually what comes to mind. However, mention September 11, 2001 and almost everyone can remember watching dogs on television searching for survivors in the rubble.

Reports vary wildly regarding how many dogs actually participated in the search operations. Depending on what you read, upwards of 900 dogs were involved in the rescue mission. Some reports say 300. Some say 100. I don’t think it really matters how many were ultimately there. They all played a vital role.

The dogs and their handlers worked an average of 10 days for 12 to 16 hours at a time. Not all of them were searching for survivors or remains. Many were present just to comfort their two legged counterparts.

The canines of Pennsylvania Task Force One at Ground Zero

Last Summer, the final 9-11 rescue dog was laid to rest. Bretagne made it to almost 17yrs old. This is pretty amazing considering what these rescue dogs went through. Many suffered physical injuries from traversing the multiple piles of rubble. One of the most interesting things I found about the dogs was they actually helped prevent human first responders from getting PTSD.

First responders from all over the world use dogs for post natural disaster operations. They have been used in the aftermath of tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods. Furthermore, dogs are used in war torn countries to search for victims of bombings.

It is important to support first responders for all of the tough work they do. In addition, don’t forget to remember the four-legged responders as well. Dogs are pretty amazing creatures. Studies have recently discovered how similar their brains are to our own.

They help us find survivors, provide comfort to the elderly, keep us safe and serve as our companions. Kopis Mobile supports all first responders regardless of how many legs they have.

Kopis Mobile Is At Warrior Expo East In Virginia Beach!

Kopis Mobile is gearing up for the 2017 ADS Warrior Expo East, happening 13-14 July at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. General Martin Dempsey (U.S. Army Ret) will be speaking from 900-1000am on the 13th in Ballroom C. The main floor opens at 1000am and will remain open until 430pm. The main floor will also open at 1000am on the 14th, but will close at 330pm.

Virginia Beach VA

We are displaying our full product line in booth 121. Additionally, we are walking the show floor with our ERSA and NTtv products showing how they are used in a real life HAZMAT situations.

If you don’t catch us walking the floor, we are presenting two operational demonstrations titled, ‘Situational Awareness in CBRN Emergency Response’ in booth 121. The first demo will be at 200pm on Thursday. We are presenting a second one at 1100 am on Friday.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the show. Please stop by and say hello. As usual, we want to hear what makes your daily job miserable. We can’t do anything about *hitty bosses. We do however have several ways to make you more efficient and eliminate time consuming paperwork.

July 4th, Not Just For Hotdogs And Hamburgers

Independence Day

Today, I thought it was fitting to post about the formal beginning of our country. It is truly amazing how smart the Founding Fathers really were. On this day in 1776, they officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.

I am going to take a bit of plagiaristic license and post the words they all agreed upon after much deliberation. I think it very important for every citizen to read and understand this document. Frankly, everyone should read The Constitution as well, but that is asking a lot because most people could really care less. Pretty sad.

So, here goes. Happy 4th of July to everyone! Please take a minute or two to read our Declaration of Independence. You will be glad you did and it will make you thankful that we live in a country where we all can enjoy hotdogs and hamburgers anytime we want. Of course washing them down with a cold beer…

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Seeing Is Believing – Subjective vs Objective Observation

Room Entry

This week, I am going to talk about Subjective vs Objective Observation and how video can significantly improve training.

Subjective: “reality as perceived – rather than as independent of mind.”

What does this really mean? When something like an observation of an event is viewed in a subjective way, it is based inside of an individual’s brain. Things like life experiences, memories, personal biases and prejudices all command the subjective view. To get even more crazy scientific on you. When a person looks at something in a subjective way, they see it as perceived reality instead of reality itself. The bottom line is a Subjective Observation can change wildly from person to person.

Now, let’s look at the opposite of subjective.

Objective: “the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.”

The real meaning of this is pretty simple. This type of observation starts and happens outside the mind of any specific person. In this instance, the action is observable by any other individual looking at the same situation. In order for this to happen, all subjective biases have to be removed.

If you are reading this article, you have probably done some type of structure clearance. It could have been a few rooms, a small house or an entire abandoned mental hospital. They are pretty creepy, by the way.

I am willing to bet many of you dealt with a lane grader or training cell. At the end of the run, they tell you, “You went left instead of right in that room, on the fourth floor, at the end of the hallway, two rooms deep with the chair in it.”

Oh, and you aren’t the only one they have comments about. It makes you think there is no way in Hell they know what every single person in the stack did on a ten-minute run.

I actually knew some guys in training cell that could remember just about every single thing a guy did on a run, but I can guarantee you that it isn’t the norm.

The reason I bring all of this up is to prove the point that subjective evaluation lends itself to rely on memory and what an individual thought they saw. Objective evaluation is concrete, unbiased, and based on what really happened. The best example of an objective review tool is video. We all know pictures and video don’t lie. Unless your best friend does an edit job so it looks like you are making out with your mother. That is a subject for a different time.

Video review is a very useful tool. If is used in a targeted manner at the right times, video allows a person to build a mental model of the correct skill. Watching video is a proven way to enhance the skill learning process.

Unfortunately, the video analysis of a training event doesn’t happen until the end of the day or even the following day. Immediate review can provide a person with the opportunity to improve a skill or technique by the very next training iteration – in a matter of minutes.

Video is saved for anytime use or evaluation to review the progress of individual skills. Video recordings can reveal improvements or losses in one’s performance over time. It also is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of a unit’s overall training program. Finally, it can be used to show new members of a unit the performance of veteran, top performers by providing them a solid baseline in which to begin training.

Video Improves Swing

Sports coaches are utilizing immediate video evaluation more and more to critique the performance of athletes at every level. Traditionally, the feedback process has been based upon a coach’s subjective observation of performance, which can be influenced by bias, emotion and previous experiences (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

For example, a football coach’s subjective observation process is known to be unreliable and inaccurate, since even experienced coaches have been shown to be able to recall just 59.2% of the critical events occurring during 45 minutes of football performance (Laird and Waters, 2008).

This lack of accurate recall ability can lead to ‘highlighting’, where a coach’s perception of performance becomes distorted by those events that they can remember (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

Ultimately, this results in inaccurate coaching feedback and decision-making. This is improved with the use of objective, unbiased and comprehensive information performance analysis that video is capable of providing (James, 2006; Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

A few years ago, we participated in a military exercise and had the opportunity to interview some special operators. They told our engineers they were using action cameras on operations and had no way of sharing what they were seeing. The operators already had the cameras. They were also issued some type of smart device. However, they couldn’t understand why the two wouldn’t talk to each other.

We iterated extensively with these and other operators to develop a solution to greatly improve overall situational awareness. This solution is called Networked Tactical Television or NTtv.

NTtv is a first person video sharing system that allows you to view different video streams in real time. The system also allows for recordings up to 30 hours for use in after action reviews. It is compatible with a wide variety of cameras to include action cameras, thermal, IR and the MOHOC® wireless tactical camera.

The video encoders are actually small computers that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The encoders mesh with one another providing up to half-mile line of sight connection between each encoder.

They also have a small server that feeds the video recordings to a site we have established. They can be sent to your own site that you control, if you choose. If there is no other backhaul communication support, the encoders speak to each other, providing you a video sharing capability. Finally, they can communicate over existing cellular networks and over certain data capable tactical radios.

The system can be used to provide the on scene commander real time video of operations. This results in far better situation awareness than just describing what is going on over a radio. NTtv is an invaluable training tool that allows trainers to set the system up in any location to capture the actions of trainees.

NTtv now also includes a multiple video DVR (mvDVR) feature that adds the ability to instantly review multiple synchronized camera views of the same action without having to go through hours of recorded video to find what you are really looking for. This vastly speeds up the after-action review process. Additionally, it provides immediate feedback using video angles that matter for each training evolution.

The bottom line; Subjective Observation and Objective Observation have their respective places in this world. Subjective is perfect if you are viewing the Mona Lisa and coming to your own conclusion as to why she is really smiling. But, it has no value and can arguably, be detrimental when it comes to training our warriors and first-responders.



Joe launched a Tomahawk missile into all of our brains last week. So, I thought I would bring things down a few notches. After he finished explaining the Theory of Relativity (of course I am kidding), he wrote about why we (Kopis Mobile) incorporate a simple User Interface with our products.

What you don’t want to have is something that looks like this:

Confusing Interface

Simple is always best. I am sure you can imagine all of the things a soldier or First Responder have going on during a real world situation. The last thing they need to navigate is something like the picture above, especially under fire.

What you really want to see is a clean, easy to use and uncomplicated screen. Apple hired over 800 engineers just to work on the iPhone camera. How many do you think they have working on what everything looks like on the screen? That is why iPhone looks the way it does. Clean and simple to use.

iPhone Home Screen

In the course of participating in many different exercises, we have come across a number of government designed mobile applications. As with many things the government does, they completely overburden the User Interface with too much information. When you try to make one app do more than it can handle, it ultimately fails to work properly.

I have already referred to Einstein, but he knew the importance of the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). He said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” This means that one should simplify the design of a product and success is achieved when a design is at its maximum simplicity.

Every product we make is purposely designed to learn how to use in less than 10 minutes. All of our products come with a manual. There are more pictures than words because, who reads manuals anyway?

We pride ourselves on our simplicity. If you can’t put it together in the dark or figure out how to use without getting an engineering degree, it is worthless to those folks keeping us safe everyday.


Rocket Telemetry

Joe – The Engineer

I have been an engineer, a geek, and a human long enough to know where my area of expertise is. I also know where it is lacking. Engineers have different desires from the rest of the world. We don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t see the world like we do. I will flatly admit to not knowing anything about the subtleties of User Interface.

To prove this point, let me introduce the quintessential engineer’s game, Kerbal Space Program. Your job is to build rockets and using orbital mechanics, somewhat real gravity and somewhat real aerodynamic forces. These are used to explore the solar system surrounding Kerbal. An Earth like planet in that system. You basically become NASA.

If you’re not a “gamer,” you also likely don’t know that some games can be modified thru external programs to add new aspects of the game. Therefore, I will admit that my Kerbal addiction is so bad that I run over 30 of these modifications.

These modifications make the game harder and more realistic. They add part failures, real life antennaes, and astronauts that go crazy in confined spaces. All of this adds to the joys of space travel.

This requires that I have sub screens showing me various data points. Thrust to Weight Ratio tells me if I have engine failure options. Remaining Delta V tells me if I can make it home. Finally, electrical charge to know if my momentum wheels can properly orient my spacecraft… data, data, data! I need it all!

Then one day,  my wife walks by and says, “I don’t know how you can enjoy a game that requires so many numbers.” It’s at that point, I hope you realize, there is a hopeless disconnect between an engineer’s ideal User Interface and virtually everyone else’s.

We can even point to historically bad examples of User Interface Design. The Honeywell Kitchen Computer (H316) comes to mind. This thing was actually sold in Neiman Marcus for $10K. That’s $77K in today’s dollars. It expected the home-maker of the late ‘60s to deal with switches and binary light read-outs to assist in meal preparation. You even got a free two week training course with it.

Kitchen Computer

Luckily, we now live in a world that has massive computer power and unbelievable graphics. Kopis Mobile was, in a way, actually founded to tackle this exact problem. We use smart devices with advanced touch-screens that enable us to keep things super simple for the user. As a result, we have an engineering knack for interfacing differing items to these smart devices.

Differing screens, hidden debug menus, more graphically rich displays, all help improve the user experience and provide the adaptability that differing people need in a User Interface.

Hugh – The Operator

Wow! My head hurts so much I am going to continue this discussion next week. I suspect most of you need a drink and an aspirin as much as I do. Stayed tuned for my response…