New Multimedia Communications Platform Links Schools, First Responders for Security, Safety

Tailored for schools, a new multimedia communications platform developed by Mutualink provides K-12 schools with the capability to establish a direct link with police, fire, EMS and other first responders in emergency situations.

The all-in-one device acts as a gateway for real-time voice, video, data and text communications, giving first responders increased situational awareness and rapid response time, the company said.

The new Mutualink K12 communications system also includes a panic button which enables teachers or administrators to alert first responders to an emergency with the push of a button.

“Mutualink’s K12 program includes an all-in-one gateway device to bridge radio, video, telephone and public address/intercom systems while addressing the limited budgets of school systems,” the firm said in an announcement. “The program is designed and licensed exclusively for public, private and parochial K-12 schools.

“While many school districts are increasing their investment in security measures, such as video surveillance systems or Radio over IP (RoIP) solutions, these systems operate in a single media form with first responders in crisis situations,” the company said. “Mutualink K12 bridges a full complement of the school devices and media and enables real-time multimedia resource sharing with police and other agencies, even bridging communications between disparate communications systems including legacy and forward-looking equipment.”

“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 V. Fiel, Sr., former executive director of security for Washington, DC public schools.

“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 Mutualink CEO Mark Hatten. “Also significant is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that everyone is working together, with the most advanced technology, to protect students, teachers and school officials on a daily basis.”

“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,” Fiel said, adding that Mutualink’s invitation-based platform, no memorandum of understanding between the schools and public safety agencies is required because each agency maintains sovereign control over their communication resources.

“The Mutualink system also includes panic buttons. One type is wired and similar to those found in banks,” the company explained. “Activating it instantly creates a multimedia sharing session and alerts first responders in the event of an emergency, automatically engaging radio and/or video communications. The other panic button is an app that installs on school staff and teachers’ smartphones. Both methods create an instant connection of the Mutualink system to law enforcement that activates communications and enables a quicker, more fully informed response.”

“Security and sovereignty” are also key features of Mutualink’s communications platform, which is utilized by hundreds of public safety, emergency management, private security and defense agencies worldwide,” the company said. “Schools using Mutualink K12 share video, audio and other information, sharing their communications assets only as necessary, and only with trusted parties of their choosing. All participants maintain sovereign control of their communication resources. Mutualink’s platform is IP-based, with multi-level encryption and a distributed architecture.”

Key Benefits of Mutualink K12 includes:

  • Video and audio sharing capabilities to enable police to “see into the school” before entering;
  • Security, privacy and sovereignty are all designed into the Mutualink system;
  • Panic button initiates emergency response with the touch of a button; and
  • Very low recurring costs are an important consideration for taxpayer-funded procurements.
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