The State of North Dakota, the Information Technology Department contracted Televate, LLC in the Fall of 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all two-way voice and paging systems in the State and to outline a viable solution that enhances radio service and evolves statewide interoperability.
The State of North Dakota and its 53 counties operate dozens of disparate voice and paging radio systems, most of which are anchored on legacy technologies operating well beyond their standard life cycle. These networks were determined through a statewide survey to fail to satisfy end user operational and performance requirements, and they are likewise being stressed with the increased activity from the oil and gas energy sector boom.
In 2015, ITD again contracted Televate to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all two-way voice and paging systems in the State and to outline a viable solution that enhances radio service and evolves statewide interoperability. The project objective was to understand the LMR ecosystem within the State of North Dakota, to determine statewide stakeholder requirements for radio communications and to identify existing gaps in the delivery of interoperable radio communications.
These land mobile radios serve as an essential communications tool for over 900 public safety and other public sector agencies comprised of 20,000 users and devices and 23 Public Safety Answering Points (“PSAP”, “Dispatch”, or 9-1-1 Call Centers”) distributed across all 53 counties and several state agencies. Many of these are anchored on technology dating as far back as the 1970s, were implemented by a variety of different agencies with no centralized oversight or long-term planning and are often far outside of their standard operating lifecycle.
In a short four-month timeframe, Televate fast-tracked an extensive statewide program that targeted over 80% of the 53 Counties for a variety of activities including data collection and systems capabilities assessment and direct stakeholder and end-user needs assessment. Televate completed an exhaustive evaluation of the current systems and technologies and developed a comprehensive strategic plan.
We developed a strategic plan for the State of North Dakota which included the following:
- A functional and technical framework to guide the evolution of a consolidation network implementation that would deliver service to over 19,000 users from 600+ agencies spanning an area of over 70,000 sq. mi.
- A statewide coverage design anchored on existing assets enhancing voice and paging service and maximizing reuse of recent investments
- Several different optimal architectural configurations for each use case, including simulcast, trunked, conventional and others in order to best target rural, suburban and urban environments
- Capital and operating expenditure requirements to support the network and device upgrades and sustainable operations over a 10 to 15 year period
- Near term technical and operational steps to improve radio service and interoperability
- Guidance on a governance and operational structure for the prospective consolidated system
- Supported for state leadership in preliminary outreach and education materials to advance the proposed solution to end users and legislators
SIRN Fleetmapping and Talkgroup Development
Televate was recently reengaged to provide radio template and fleetmap development services during deployment of the network. This support includes a statewide outreach program touching over 900 local, state, tribal and federal agencies representing all public safety, public service/works, national guard, local utility, private ambulance, schools, and all other expected end users of the North Dakota Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN). The SIRN is an emerging Project 25 land mobile radio network
This effort included the following tasks:
- Extensive stakeholder outreach initiated through county, city and state agency PSAPs
- In-person and online meetings with hundreds of law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, PSAP, public works, radio managers, county commissioners, radio shops, and other members of the extended SIRN end user stakeholder community
- Regular project status and strategy meeting with the SIRN Fleetmapping and Talkgroup working group
- Review of local, regional and statewide radio communications use cases to assist in the development of radio talk groups facilitating the anticipated types and variety of interoperable communications scenarios anticipated
- Design of fleetmaps for agencies that required this level of assistance and fleetmap templates for those agencies that have the skills to develop the fleetmap internally
- Creating a master database of all talkgroups to facilitate radio console and portable and mobile radio programming