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Top 3 trends from APCO 2023 

Perri McPhee, Director of Product, CAD  | 24 August 2023  |  4 minute read


Cloud technology was the name of the game at APCO 2023, permeating many of the conversations around the future of ECCs and PSAPs. We were thrilled to be able to share how Mark43 cloud-native technology can easily configure to every agency’s needs and have one of our newest customers, Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications, in action at the booth deploying Mark43 Alternate CAD to respond to non-emergency calls remotely.  

When thinking about what today’s first responder needs in order to be efficient, effective, and safe, agencies need to turn to a cloud-native solution that has modern design principles, configurable workflows, and the ability to adapt to any situation with little-to-no strain on IT teams. As we look back on some of the key trends from APCO, let’s unpack how cloud-native technology, specifically, can be leveraged to address some of the industry’s most important issues: 

  1. Cybersecurity concerns are not going away, but there are ways to keep agencies’ data protected 
  1. The perennial staffing shortage: hiring cannot keep up with attrition. Modern technology can position public safety for greater success 
  1. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the corporate world. Emergency communications will be next   

Cybersecurity concerns are not going away, but there are ways to keep agencies’ data protected  

Cyberattacks are an unfortunate but inescapable part of our realities, as highlighted by many of the discussions at APCO. By 2025, experts anticipate that cybercrime will cost organizations approximately $10.5 trillion globally. The public sector is especially vulnerable — in the last 24 months alone, more than 44 states in the United States have at least one government agency that has suffered from a cyberattack.  

By utilizing cloud-native software, agencies share some of the burden of data protection with large cloud service providers like AWS who spend millions of dollars annually on cybersecurity.  

The perennial staffing shortage: hiring cannot keep up with attrition. Modern technology can position public safety for greater success 

The goal of many of this year’s APCO sessions could be distilled down to answering one question: How do we retain and recruit talent?  

Unfortunately, many agencies still struggle with staffing shortages. The 2022 PERF survey indicated that agencies experienced 50% more resignations in 2022 than in 2019; hiring cannot keep up with the rate of resignations. In response, agencies are considering new ways to improve working environments by investing in tools that are easy to use and can help manage officers’ and dispatchers’ quality of life while on the job.  

Some agencies have turned to cloud vendors for their computer-aided dispatch system, which gives their dispatchers and call-takers the option to work from anywhere and on any device with an internet connection. Unlike lift-and-shift technology, which may be subject to latency or performance issues after migration, cloud-native technology is built in the cloud and provides the most reliable and strongest resiliency. 

Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications demonstrated the power of cloud-native technology and its ability to enable remote work when they dispatched from the Mark43 booth at APCO. Metro Nashville responded to over 20 calls by leveraging Mark43’s cloud-native Alternate CAD. The Center uses Mark43 both for their backup CAD and for the agency’s Field Incident Response Support Team (FIRST), which performs tactical incident dispatch duties in an off-site environment.  

Having a backup to a completely different primary CAD sounds labor-intensive, but Mark43 strives to deliver fast implementation with intuitive user experiences that require less training. Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications was implemented onto Mark43 Alternate CAD in a matter of months and now is able to successfully train their experienced dispatchers on the CAD in under 4 hours.  

Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications dispatcher takes calls remotely using Mark43 Alternate CAD from the Mark43 Booth at APCO 2023

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the corporate world. Emergency communications will be next  

While there is still a long way to go in discovering how to safely use artificial intelligence in law enforcement, APCO trailblazers used this year’s conference to kickoff conversations.  

Whether it is streamlining data analysis with machine learning and AI tools or partnering with vendors like AWS to use AI for non-emergency calls, the opportunities for leveraging artificial intelligence are only growing.  

CAD vendors need to prepare for this shift to emerging technologies. Open API systems can enable integration with other artificial intelligence vendors. Cloud-native software facilitates update releases, giving agencies access to new feature developments immediately. This means as soon as artificial intelligence or machine learning functionality is developed, any interested agency using the platform can enable the features on their tenant without burdening their internal IT teams. 

So, what’s next: finding the right cloud vendor 

APCO 2023 showed us that the opportunities for cloud technology to address public safety’s most pressing issues are only increasing. However, as you consider a cloud vendor, it is important to remember that not all cloud providers are created equal. Review the following resources to help your agency find a cloud vendor that will help fulfill your mission:  

Want to learn more about the power of a cloud-native CAD? Fill out the form on this page to connect with a Mark43 representative for a personalized demo.  

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