Boulder SWAT Uses NTtv During Training

Boulder SWAT

Henry here again with another trip report. Kopis was invited by the City of Boulder, Colorado’s SWAT Team to test our Networked Tactical Television.  Our host was Commander Greg LeFabre, a Denver-area native who has been in law enforcement throughout a distinguished career.

The weather was clear and sunny. The temperature was a cool 20 degrees. Snow covered the ground of a ranch house owned by the city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. The location served as an excellent spot for a hostage scenario incident site.

The SWAT Team established an operations center at the main access road. Several role players found their positions at a house on the back side of a hill.

NTtv was quickly deployed in multiple locations. One system served as the primary link to the operations center. One served as a mobile link via the SWAT team leader who wore a MOHOC camera on his helmet.

NTtv kit on SWAT member

The third system served as an overwatch fixed camera.  Finally, a fourth system was slung beneath a drone to serve as an airborne relay.

The command element was able to watch the video streams from one rugged tablet.

NTtv in action Boulder, CO
Team watching the viewing stream

We were very happy with the cold-weather performance of the system overall, especially battery duration.

For the afternoon scenario, the team deployed NTtv in a tree at the crest of the hill. As you can see in the video clip, the NTtv relay covered a large area. It enabled real time video from the MOHOC helmet-mounted cameras to stream virtually anywhere in and around the incident site.

This clip shows the tree emplacement. Video is transmitted essentially by the NTtv encoders ‘talking’ to each other over a secure network they establish themselves.

There is no need to be connected to any external WiFi network. This is super handy when working in remote locations like what you see in the videos.

Commander LeFabre and his guys were great hosts and really put the system through its paces. We started the company 5 years ago with the idea that we could develop products to improve the lives of military, law enforcement, and first responders. We couldn’t do it without their input during exercises like this.

Video Does Not Lie But It Does Improve Performance

SHOT Show 2018
SHOT Show – New Product Section

We recently wrapped up the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It was probably won of our best trade shows to date since we have been in business. Our focus product for the show was NTtv and how video greatly improves performance.

I spoke to many people during the week who either conduct training or own a firearms facility of some type. I was blown away by the fact almost none of them utilize video as a way to improve the performance of their students. Let’s dig into this training subject a little deeper.

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.

I am sure you are wondering what point I am trying to make. If you are reading this blog, 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 have had a lane grader, training cell or whatever your particular service calls them, tell you at the end of the run, “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.

Video review is a very useful tool. If it is used in a targeted manner at the right times, it 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 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  shows new members of a unit the performance of veteran, top performers by providing them a solid baseline in which to begin training.

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, which can be 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 with other squad members. The operators already had the cameras and were issued some type of smart device, but they couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an easy way for the two 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.

Networked Tactical Television or NTtv
NTtv System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The system provides 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 and provides immediate feedback using video angles that matter for each training evolution.

mvDVR
mvDVR

There is a very good reason why video is used to improve performance. That’s because it works and it is almost immediate. You can’t correct what you can’t see.

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.