Emergency Reporting Integration

Hi Everyone!

Today, I’d like to tell you about an integration we have been asked for for years that we were finally able to get going. Over the last few months, we’ve been working with Emergency Reporting to start pushing Active911 alert data automatically into ER to make report generation more seamless.

How it works:
Emergency Reporting will be able to generate an agency code for you by filling out this form.
Once you have an agency code, in the agency tab of Active911 is a new spot for integrations. Select Emergency Reporting and put your agency code in the box.
Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 2.49.48 PM

From there on out, each CAD message Active911 receives will be populated as an incident in Emergency Reporting. In this initial pass, we hit some of the major fields we know we get on a regular basis like the time we received the CAD message, the address, city, and state, and any information in our notes section as the narrative. We have set this integration up to respect the duplicate detection options in the Agency tab, if your dispatch sends multiple messages that add additional information for the same alert, we will pass that additional information to the correct Emergency Reporting incident. Additionally, the incidents Active911 sends will have it’s own Incident Number for the year, starting at 1 each year and incrementing up for each successive call, which will be independent of other systems that populate incidents. You could theoretically have an incident number from some other place that ER has identified as 2017-4356, with the last Active911 incident being 2017-55. The next Active911 Incident will be 2017-56, not 2017-4357.

Where we are heading with this integration:
Our early testers of this integration have told us the next step is populating the apparatus times from the CAD’s closeout/run report. We’re working on a reliable way to parse that information when it is sent to us, then passing it to Emergency Reporting correctly. If you want to get that information into ER, the first step is ensuring you are getting closeout/run report information from your CAD sent to Active911. The next step is ensuring those calls are labeled as RUN REPORT in the call section. If they’re not, shoot us a quick message and we will make sure to fix it. From there, once we’ve figured out that reliable format, we’ll start sending that info to Emergency Reporting.

Feel like something is missing from the integration? Let us know

Recent outages – explanations and resolutions

Over the last few days, Active911 has had several problems we should have anticipated but did not. We have already described some potential iOS 11 problems, but we should elaborate on the other problems and what we are doing to fix them.

Webview/PC App Not Connecting or getting Alerts:

There had been a difficult to find and diagnose bug that would cause Webview to not connect to our servers when there was a combination of lag between the Webview client and slowness with our severs. Yesterday, we had a chain reaction start that led to ~100 Webview devices encountering the bug, overloading our real-time communication services ability to log people in, causing delays in being able to tap response buttons and get real-time updates.

How we fixed it:
We isolated the Webview bug and rolled a fix last night to all Webview clients. If you are still encountering problems with Webview not connecting, a force refresh should fix it. To force refresh on Windows, hold Ctrl+F5, for Mac hold Cmd+Shift+R. If after a force refresh you are still encountering problems, we have added a test button in the settings menu that will help us further fix the problem. Please run the test and copy the output in an email to support@active911.com.

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.15.32 AM

In addition to rolling the fix, We thought we could resolve the problem by making some server configuration changes, which worked until this morning, at which point our developers concluded our real-time update service that should be able to handle the load could not and needed to be completely replaced. This morning we built a brand new server that can easily handle what our old one could not. Responses and alerting should now be faster than before.

Assignments randomly missing:

When we were building assignments, we decided to test some experimental technology that had the potential to help us make better software. Once we deployed assignments and started to really use and interact with that technology, we kept running into problems and unexpected difficulties, which is why assignments has been in beta for so long. In this past week, the assignments server started to be unable to handle the load we were putting on it, causing it to often return nothing instead of what the apps were asking for. This increased load also slowed down the startup process of all our clients, resulting in odd behavior like alerts not showing up in the alerts page.

How we are fixing it:
With the unexpected side effects of alerts not showing up, we had to turn off assignments. Today, we are rebuilding the pieces that became overloaded and we will be migrating fully migrating off the experimental technology we were trying in the upcoming week or two. Once the new assignments server has been built up and tested, I’ll update this post.

Website Improvements – Add a device to pagegroups from the device tab

Hello everyone!

Today we pushed an update to the website that should help with device administration. After talking with a few administrators, a source of pain was adding new devices and setting them up with the appropriate page groups. Previously, that required adding each device, then going to the groups tab, finding each group they needed to be in, and adding them.

With the updated website, you will be able to add/remove groups from the device when creating or editing it from the device tab.

Product Manager: March News and Updates

Hello everyone!

This month we have been working on a couple of cool features that we are not quite ready to announce yet. One of them is an integration and the other is infrastructure work that will make Active911 more stable and performant. I’ll go into more detail about the benefits and reasons for this infrastructure work in a future post, but we are investing much of our development effort into making our service able to survive anything short of a global catastrophe (and stay fast doing it).

While working on those two projects, we have also been working on squashing bugs, bringing the Windows apps up to speed, and giving the idea portal some much needed attention.
– We have a Windows PC release lined up for tomorrow, with another beta coming shortly thereafter. There will be a post about the new release once it is released.
– We have an Android Beta nearing release that has some bug fixes related to: switching device codes in the app, GCM registration errors, the alert title being stored as a response, and difficulty reading some pages in dark theme.
– We identified and fixed a bug in our current iteration of map data sharing where pre-plans and resources you should have been able to see were returning errors instead.

We have significantly upgraded our idea portal. It is directly linked to my workflow (making Active911 the best it can be through feedback and prioritization) and the steps we take to define features and requirements. As we proceed through the steps of making ideas and features reality, the portal will stay up to date and email you if anything you care about changes. It is fully searchable, has extensive filtering, and content suggestions to reduce duplicate entries. For an idea you choose to follow or vote on, you can see comments and receive updates as the idea flows through idea generation, planning, scheduling, and delivering. You will also be able to tell how likely an idea is to be picked up or offer suggestions when you think our assessment is wrong.

The portal has been set up to accept your Active911 username and password. It can currently be found at ideas.active911.com. For a few weeks, I would like our more involved community (twitter, forum, and blog readers) to give constructive feedback before we integrate it into the idea tab of the website.

In this initial stage, I’ve upped the number of votes each person has, from 2 to 10. The max a person can vote up an idea is 5 votes, so you can choose to vote heavily on two ideas or dabble with many different ideas. If you think any of this should be adjusted or tweaked, please leave feedback on the forum.

Upcoming:
Windows PC: In the upcoming beta we addressed difficulty in obtaining logs, poor GPS reporting while moving, and added a clear alerts button. We’ll also be working on adding a view for directions like the other clients have, which should make it into the beta after this one.
Windows Phone: Our Windows Phone is sluggish and overall not where it needs to be. We are correcting that and it is getting a lot of much needed work.
iOS: We’ve found a couple of bugs we are fixing for the next release, as well as reporting location while the app is backgrounded:
– Google Maps can cause the iOS app to crash when too many devices are present on the map at the same time. (If you are encountering this, apple maps will not crash)
– Responses are not properly saved when the app is starting up from being force closed OR background app refresh has been turned off. (If you are encountering this, leaving your app open in the background with background refresh on will resolve the problem until the next release)

Emergency Reporting: Thank you for all the feedback on the forums. We are still talking and figuring things out, but it looks promising.
Misc: After reading through all of the current ideas, there was a lot of feedback for additional icons and colors, as well as non emergency messages and custom ringtones/sounds. We’ll be thinking about how to do these. Feel strongly about which one should be first? Go vote!

CM Security AppLock AntiVirus disabling Android Notification tones

Within the last couple of months our Support staff has had numerous Android users contact them about their phones receiving Active911 alerts without audible notification. A majority of those users had an app called ?CM Security AppLock AntiVirus? installed on their device.

Within the settings menu of that app is a ?Notification Manager? option. One of the features of that option is titled ?Notification Cleaner?, which you can use to set notifications for apps on your phone to ?Don’t disturb?. If Active911 is on the ?Don’t disturb? list, your phone won’t ring when you receive an alert through Active911. Android users not getting sounds on notifications should check to see if they have CM Security installed on their phone, and if they do, they should make sure that Active911 isn’t set to ?Don’t disturb? within the ?Notification Cleaner? feature of the app.

There are other security and anti-virus apps available for Android devices that might function in similar ways. If you have other security/anti-virus apps installed, we recommend checking the settings within those apps to make sure they aren’t blocking notifications from Active911.

Here is how to take Active911 off of the “Don’t disturb list”.
Here is a screen shot of the main CM Security menu. Use the icon on the top right with three horizontal lines to access the settings:
CMSecurity1

Here is a screenshot of the settings menu within the app, where you can find the ?Notification Manager? option:CMSecurity2

Once you’ve selected ?Notification Manager?, you will be taken to the following screen. Choose the gear icon near the top right:
CMSecurity3

On the following screen, make sure the ?Don’t disturb? option isn’t turned on for Active911:
CMSecurity4

Regarding the Brief alerting outage

We had some alerting functionality broken from 11am to 1pm this morning.

The issue originated with our SMS messages being marked as spam for some of our Canadian Departments. We needed to make some adjustments on how our SMS messages are sent to those Canadian departments.

To do that required an update to one of our database queries. When updating the query we missed updating the user that was performing the query, causing some alerts to drop when being sent from our devices and the website.

Once we were told of the problem, we diagnosed it and updated the permissions within a couple minutes.

Response Button Issues

We have been investigating slow response issues over the past several weeks. In the course of our investigation, we found several issues that we are resolving:
1. Our Android Client acts particularly slow when it is attached to multiple agencies and is starting up after being force closed. It is missing an optimization at startup that we are working on adding to the app. We will begin beta testing it as soon as it is complete and will be released shortly after we know it will not introduce any further problems.

In the meantime, if you are experiencing slow reactions when the app is first opened, leave it open in the background.

2. The other issue was in our server that communicates to the apps. We introduced a bug that could cause a delay of 10-30 seconds between when it received a request and when it would give it back to the app. We fixed this bug last night, so it is now working as we expect. We will be adding monitoring to the affected servers so we will be aware of any future slowdowns and be able to fix them much faster.

June 2016: New Icons, Windows Apps and more.

Hello everyone! We have some more Active911 updates for you.

– We?ve added icons from NFPA standard 170, tables 10.2.2 and 10.3.2 to the apps. These are symbols for emergency management mapping. We are planning on adding more icons in the upcoming months. This will help you keep your maps NFPA compliant.

– On that note, it is now possible to add markers directly from the apps! From the map, long press to get a context menu. From here you can pick an icon and type in details. The new marker will be visible to everyone in your agency.

– Speaking of apps, we have fully functional Windows Tablet and Windows PC apps. This is the result of lots of work and makes it possible to start adding Active911 to those Surfaces and Toughbooks that you love. We paid special attention to the GPS integration in the Toughbook, so your Toughbook equipped trucks now have functional AVL (automatic vehicle location).

– Finally, don?t forget that you can send us your ESRI ?shapefiles? (map files) for us to use in geocoding your incidents. If Google mapping in your area is spotty, this is one way for us to make sure the map pin gets dropped in the right location every time.

Straight from Support: Use your department GIS Data for mapping

As many of you know, Active911’s default mapping system uses Google Maps to provide you with routing and directions. We take the address sent to us by your dispatch, and search Google Maps for that address. Whatever Google Maps returns as the result is where we route you for the call. Google Maps is great, but it’s not perfect. Some of our departments have had issues with addresses in the wrong location, streets labeled incorrectly, and many other issues that could not be solved easily by using only Google Maps.

In an effort to help departments whose routing through Google Maps is poor or inaccurate, we have developed a new mapping system called ?Wiz?. Wiz is in a very early beta phase, and uses shapefiles provided by users that contain the address information for the locations in their response area. Specifically, the shapefiles need to contain the address number, street name, city name, and zip code. When that information is entered into Wiz, we search Wiz for the address sent to us by a dispatch center for an emergency, rather than defaulting to Google Maps. If we are unable to find the address using Wiz, the system will then attempt to use Google Maps.

If you’re interested in beta testing Wiz, please send an email to support@active911.com expressing your interest, along with a shapefile that contains the address number, street name, city name, and zip code for all the locations in your area.

The Constant Learner: Windows Tablet Beta has arrived.

I have been working hard on the Windows Tablet version of our app for quite some time now, and I am happy to let you all know we are opening testing up to beta testers. ?We have a good amount of functionality already in place, with more to be added as we add to our Beta offering in preparation for releasing it to everyone. Here is a quick preview of some of the more common pages in other apps. When we thought about the layout of the app, we wanted to go with a more native look and feel as well as making optimal use of the screen space.

A view of the settings page

A view of the settings page

Agency View

Agency View

A typical view of the alert

Alert view

We are currently looking for Beta Testers, If you are interested instructions can be found at the below link:
http://wiki.active911.com/wiki/index.php/Beta_Testing