Friday, May 20 2022

RapidSOS announced yesterday that it has hired Ed Parkinson – the CEO of FirstNet Authority whose departure from the organization was announced earlier this week – to be president of the company’s public sector unit which today works with 911 centers in North America and potentially emergency control rooms in the future.

“I was looking for something with a mission, and I think this is it,” Parkinson said during an interview with IWCE Urgent Communications. ” I am excited to begin.

“I’m just looking forward to joining a great opportunity: a great company with great people.

Parkinson said his first day with RapidSOS would be Monday, May 9, just days after attending the FirstNet Authority board meeting scheduled for May 4.

After helping to draft the initial legislation that led to the creation of FirstNet more than a decade ago, Parkinson said he was proud to have played a “small role” in the development of the National Safety Broadband Network. public, which he says has “revolutionized” public-safety-communications. However, he said he is ready to change, for personal and professional reasons.

“I was looking for something new,” Parkinson said. “I was looking for an opportunity in public safety – something that really has a huge mission and hopefully will do some good. I think this is the perfect lineage from FirstNet—I can bring some experience to this program .

“But at the same time, I’m going to learn a lot, and that’s also what really excites me. I’m excited to learn something new and be part of something that will grow.

RapidSOS CEO Michael Martin expressed his excitement for Parkinson to join the company, which serves 5,200 agencies providing 911 services in North America.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Martin said during an interview with IWCE Urgent Communications. “He [Parkinson] brings a wealth of expertise – he was there in the early days of FirstNet’s formation, and since 2018 has led the FirstNet Authority as CEO. Today, [FirstNet has] over 20,000 branches and over 3.3 connected devices, so I’m really excited about the scale it brings.

“I think he shares kind of a focus of our mission and also the partner-centric approach of how we do it. It’s really about connecting all of this rich information from these 400 million devices in all the different layers that work together to facilitate an emergency response.

In his new position, Parkinson will lead RapidSOS’s outreach efforts to PSAPs in North America and eventually control rooms in other countries as RapidSOS explores international expansion, Martin said.

RapidSOS is best known for bringing broadband data from a variety of sources into PSAPs, including 911 centers that have not yet begun the transition to IP-based Next Generation 911 (NG911) architecture. Martin said he thinks Parkinson has an ideal background to serve as president of RapidSOS.

“We connect any connected device to 911 and first responder systems,” Martin said. “He [Parkinson] did all of this work basically to create this rich data channel to first responders in the field. Obviously, RapidSOS has all of this rich content and information that we want to get into the hands of first responders, so we worked tangentially.

“I think Ed had been following our work closely and was excited about the scale of it, as we were thinking about going across the United States and our international footprint, etc.”

Parkinson said he looks forward to the opportunity to learn more about 911 operations and the people who serve in the area.

“I have to fit in with the 911 community,” Parkinson said. “Although I know a lot of people and players etc., I want to hang out. I want to visit people and listen, because right now I’ve been focused on the FirstNet side of the equation for so long, and it’s time to learn again. It’s really very exciting.

For years, Mr. Parkinson said he recognized the importance of integrating 911 with FirstNet in a way that would allow public safety to maximize the benefits of broadband technology to provide more efficient responses and effective in emergencies. By working at RapidSOS, he hopes to be able to contribute to impacting this integration between broadband in the PSAPs and broadband in the field.

“I think there’s a lot of potential,” Parkinson said. “The mission to try and solve NG911 and make life safer for everyone in this country – and I know they [RapidSOS leaders] also have global aspirations – I definitely want to be part of that.

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