Estimated reading time 8 minutes, 13 seconds.
Mission equipment has come a long way since the early days of airborne law enforcement. Today’s public safety operators have extraordinary tools at their disposal, from the high-definition cameras and augmented reality mapping systems now common on police helicopters, to capable small drones — and the ability to feed live video from both onto a ground commander’s mobile phone.
But as mission equipment has gotten more sophisticated, its integration has become increasingly complex. Ensuring that these powerful tools work reliably and to their maximum advantage requires technical know-how that few agencies have the resources to develop in house.
Enter CNC Technologies. Since the company’s launch five years ago, it has specialized in providing turnkey technology solutions to police and government customers, simplifying the acquisition, integration and operation of their airborne mission suites — sometimes including the aircraft itself. As technology has continued to evolve, so has CNC, introducing the secure, cloud-based streaming service CNC.live and additional capabilities to enhance the seamless service it provides to its customers.
“It’s the implementation of complete solutions,” explained CNC founding partner Alex Giuffrida, highlighting the company’s ability to provide not only fully missionized aircraft, but also all of the other components that make a downlinking system work.
“The ground component is just as important as the aircraft side, because once you build this aircraft, where do the images and data go? Is the ground-receive system properly designed? And what happens when those images and/or data hit the ground — do they go to the right place? Is the information properly encrypted? Are they stored in the right fashion? Are [agencies] easily able to recall information for evidence purposes? All of that stuff is what we do,” he said.
CNC.live takes this to the next level by ensuring comparable performance on the network side. Launched in 2019, the service uses the secure Amazon Web Services Cloud for Government to augment agency IT network capabilities that might easily be overwhelmed by large amounts of data. That enables reliable video streaming during critical incidents, exactly when it matters most.
“On CNC.live, you could be viewing [the feed from] a helicopter or a plane, and at the same time a drone flying on the same mission at a much lower altitude. . . . You could be watching all of that on your phone, on your laptop or whenever you have internet connectivity,” said Giuffrida.
He pointed out that making a streaming service function seamlessly is not quite as simple as it sounds: “Buffering your speed, taking account of where you are, the quality of the video, managing what it looks like on the screen — there’s a lot to do behind CNC.live just like YouTube would for example, and we provide all of that. We make sure that the image is completely managed the right way, so the product is flawless when it hits the screen.”
More recently, CNC has turned its attention to the “humanware” side of the equation, bringing on Mark Costa to develop bespoke training solutions for its customers. Costa retired from the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing, where he served as a pilot and tactical flight officer and oversaw the unit’s robust training programs. Now, he’s bringing his operational experience and passion for imparting knowledge to CNC, where he’s tasked with helping customers make the most of their equipment investment.
According to Costa, who joined the company as director of training in December, his marching orders are to “find out what the customers need and provide it — just that simple.” To that end, he has been having conversations with each of CNC’s customers to understand their existing training models and where he can be of service. Although CNC has always provided extensive training on its technology packages, “a very possible scenario is that an officer who was trained by one of the CNC technicians promotes out of the unit, or he transfers or retires, and that information just dies,” Costa said.
Costa is creating comprehensive training modules for each of CNC’s mission suite components, which will make it easier for customers to ensure that all of their personnel know their equipment inside and out. “If you leave someone to learn a piece of equipment on their own, they’re going to learn enough to get themselves useful, but they may not go beyond that,” he said. “I’ve always found that formalized training is much better overall than on-the-job training.”
This redoubled focus on training reflects the growing realization among CNC customers that their mission suite is no longer just an add-on to their aircraft — it is as integral to the success of their operations as the aircraft itself. That makes the support that CNC provides as vital as support from the aircraft manufacturer.
“Today, the driving force behind a helicopter or a plane acquisition is what mission suite are you going to have in your aircraft,” Giuffrida said. “It’s almost like the aircraft is just another piece of equipment in this solution — it all goes hand in hand.”
Learn more at www.cnctechnologies.com.