Strengthening Public Safety Collaboration with the AWS Wickr Android Team Awareness (ATAK) Plugin

The integration of AWS Wickr with the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) provides public safety agencies with a versatile, secure, and user-friendly map-based collaboration solution that elevates the efficiency of emergency response.

The Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK)—also known as Android Tactical Assault Kit for military use—is a smartphone geospatial infrastructure and situational awareness application. AWS Wickr is an end-to-end encrypted messaging and collaboration application with features designed to keep communications secure, private, and compliant. The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin helps ATAK operators mitigate operational command and control challenges, enhances secure communication, and facilitates better coordination among different teams and agencies.

With Wickr and ATAK, first responders gain access to a comprehensive suite of secure communication tools that combines messaging, voice calls, file sharing, map-based collaboration, and the collation of geospatial data.

Benefits of Using AWS Wickr with ATAK

Secure Real-Time Communication:

  • Emergencies demand swift and secure coordination among responders. Wickr’s end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice, and file-sharing capabilities within ATAK ensure that sensitive information remains confidential, and is shared only with authorized personnel. This level of security is critical in dangerous situations, when disclosing operational information could compromise the safety of officers and the public.

Enhanced Situational Awareness:

  • Wickr’s communication features, coupled with ATAK, enhance first responders’ situational awareness by providing flexible, interactive, map-based collaboration within a common operating picture. Responders can access and share real-time data—including  the location of personnel, vehicles, citizens in distress, and other resources—alongside secure Wickr communication channels, without toggling between applications. This consolidated view supports informed decision-making and efficient resource allocation during natural and man-made emergencies, when responders need to quickly assess the situation and locate resources.

Emergency Alerts and Notifications

  • The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin facilitates customized emergency alerts and notifications tailored to specific security groups. Whether it’s detecting a burgeoning forest fire or identifying an imminent threat in an unauthorized area, our technology enables rapid distribution of emergency alerts to first responders. These alerts are complemented by supporting imagery, offering vital real-time insights about the incident and its precise location. Together, Wickr and ATAK allow for swift and informed action in critical situations.

Cross-Agency Collaboration:

  • In multi-jurisdictional emergencies, effective collaboration between agencies is critical to operational and public safety. Wickr’s ability to federate networks enables seamless and secure communication and information sharing among various agencies. This fosters cohesive and effective emergency response, which is vital for successfully resolving complex incidents.

Larger Common Operating Picture

  • Wickr and ATAK offer a unique solution that provides seamless and secure communication between Wickr and ATAK users. Additionally, Wickr provides the ability to use the Wickr Broadcast Bot for sending mass notification messages and requesting acknowledgments and locations from Wickr users, which can be visualized in ATAK. This allows first responders to communicate with ATAK users outside of ATAK (such as sending messages, sharing locations, and sending distress alerts).

Training and Adaptation:

  • Wickr and ATAK offer avenues for training and adaptation. First responder training can simulate emergency scenarios while using Wickr and ATAK for communication, information sharing, and coordination across multiple jurisdictions. This proactive approach ensures that emergency personnel are well-versed with the system, facilitating its effective use during real emergencies.

Compliance and Accountability:

  • The secure logging and tracking features of Wickr within ATAK provide a means for post-incident analysis, compliance checks, and accountability assessments, which are essential for continuous improvement and adherence to legal and procedural standards.

To learn more and get started, visit the AWS Wickr webpage, or contact us.