Security & Safety | News
Mutualink Gateway Device Links Schools with Emergency Responders
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A company that has come up with a black box solution for enabling emergency responders to share their digital communications wants to break into the K-12 market. Mutualink is introducing Mutualink K12, a gateway device that links radio, video, telephone and public address/intercom systems. The police or other agency can use the technology to see and hear what the people on site are seeing and hearing through voice, video, data and text modes.
The system allows a school to communicate with public safety agencies and share information in the face of an emergency. It includes a "panic button" feature, akin to what's used by banks, to open communications with first responders and automatically turn on radio and video channels. The same functionality is available in app form, allowing staff and teachers to access the panic button on their smartphones.
"The ability to instantly and securely share multimedia information in an emergency situation — including live video feeds, school building blueprints and police and fire radio to school radio and public address audio — is a potentially life-saving asset to first responders and the students and teachers they are protecting," said Patrick Fiel, Sr., a former executive director of security for District of Columbia Public Schools. "The fact that Mutualink K12 ensures that all parties maintain control over their resources cuts down on time-wasting red-tape while protecting the privacy of everyone involved."
The technology doesn't require any kind of pre-planned "memo of understanding" between the school and public safety agencies; each agency maintains control over its communication resources.
"Our goal with Mutualink K12 is to provide schools with an affordable, effective means to communicate and share critical information with first responders in the face of an emergency; but equally important, it is a solution to plan and practice response," said Mark Hatten, CEO of the company.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.