Once you get really good at what you do for a living, there comes a day when you get to drop your last name. Everyone knows who you are, and everyone knows what you do.
This past Saturday I was sitting in my favorite recliner, my Bengal cat, Fred was on my lap taking a Saturday afternoon snooze when my phone rang. When I looked at the name, I smiled, as this was someone well-known in the industry, and someone I considered not just a friend but a mentor.
“I just wanted to give you a call to say hi my friend, and see how you’re doing”, the voice said. He asked about family, he asked about a few personal things we had discussed in the past, and he finally asked how work was going.
We had a great discussion like we always do, and naturally it came around to our common group of friends. And that’s when it hit me. The friends that we both knew were known by a single name. Not just because we were familiar with them, but because the industry was familiar with them.
Certainly, there were names that were somewhat uncommon, and naturally more rememberable, like Jamison, or Karima, or Nate. But there were others that were more common, yet unique to the individual and their capabilities. Names like Michael, and Tracy, and Alicia.
So while some are “Born in the USA”, and have earned the right to be known as just Bruce, every industry has got their group of trusted leaders. This past week was full of virtual conferences, and if you look at the speaker agendas on many of these, many of the speakers were single namers that could stand on their own personal laurels with just a single name.
Industry leaders like Brian, delivering important messages to the masses on the focus and direction of this life-saving industry. Seasoned veterans like Jeff, and industry newcomers like Stephen all have important messages for all of us.
As we ventured into this virtual world of conferences, Ricardo challenged and dared people to be great, while people like Hank took on that challenge and rocked the house with their message. Even people at high levels in the government, like David, delivered important messages that covered where we are going from a policy perspective, and Kim brought together an amazing group of commercial trendsetters and fostered a informative conference, that included social media one on ones that allowed people to meet and greet each other in a private session, something that many thought could only be done in person and face-to-face.
Every year, at every public safety conference, there is a primary take away that gets murmured by the bulk of the attendees. In recent years, that theme has been,’NG911 is almost here’. This year, mainly by the influence of COVID-19 and the fact that we were forced to meet virtually, we realized that technology can work here, and even work to our advantage.
Having no other option but to get resourceful, many leaders – like Chuck Assembled several dispatcher ’go kits’ that allowed remote working in an instant from anywhere there was broadband, and for the first time ever some call taking went virtual.
A few years ago, I floated the idea of public safety dispatcher being completely mobile, and located in command and control vehicles, similar to a tactical dispatcher, but instead of being tied to a particular incident, they are free and on the move so that their availability and connectivity is maximized.
5G will let us put Communications just about anywhere, and the natural mesh topology of that network will provide ultimate levels of resiliency and self-healing elements will minimize downtime, while maximizing speed and throughput. Given those conditions, maybe it’s not so crazy to think about a call taker/dispatcher emergency communications specialist in a vehicle that is deployable where it’s needed, and most importantly when it’s needed.
I honestly believe that technology has reached the point where being tied to a foundation and four for walls no longer makes architectural sense. Maybe it’s time to take a step outside.
I once again want to thank all of my friends and colleagues in the industry, and the hundreds of other single namers that I failed to mention here. As for the person that called me this weekend, just to say hi, in case you haven’t figured it out, of course that was none other than my dear friend, and mentor Steve.
Thank you, my friend, for all you’ve done for the industry over the years, and thanks for inspiring me for my topic this week on my blog.
Take care and stay well.