Helping thousands of first responders from a single device
MiPi Support helps first responder agencies implement a popular software solution for managing emergency responses. Founded two years ago by seasoned global cybersecurity professional and volunteer first responder Matt Ireland, the company currently supports over 200 fire departments, ambulance services, and law enforcement offices across five states. Thanks to RealVNC’s VNC Connect software, Matt is able to manage his entire nationwide operation - from software updates to fault detection to support calls - using a single laptop or mobile device.
Some first responder agencies lack the technical expertise to implement a critical software solution
IamResponding is an end-to-end emergency response system that puts time-saving alerts
and critical data directly into the hands of first responders. Among many other features,
IamResponding alerts emergency providers to an incident through multiple redundant
pathways including a smartphone app, tracks who is responding, and who is reporting to the
station or directly to the incident scene.
In 2020, IamResponding acquired and integrated a software service known as Two-Tone-Detect
(TTD). TTD creates audio files of 911 dispatcher’s’ calls which can then be played via the
IamResponding app by the appropriate first responders, accelerating emergency notifications
and operational awareness. Unlike the standard cloud based IamResponding product, TTD
requires a computer configured with its software located near the first responder agency to
operate. Configuring the software correctly, and ensuring the computer is fully updated and
running 24/7, requires more technical expertise than some agencies have readily available.
As a volunteer fireman, part-time EMT, reserve deputy sheriff, and Medical Examiner
Investigator, Matt Ireland is well acquainted with IamResponding, TTD, and the critical role
these technologies provide. He is also a full-time information technology and cybersecurity
expert, and had a good understanding of the technology which powers IaR and TTD.
Soon after TTD was rolled out, he noticed that some stations were failing to get the service
running properly, or were using old, unreliable Windows laptops to host
IamResponding’s’s software. As a first step, he decided to find a better solution for his
colleagues working in the Dallas County, Iowa first responder agencies.
Search for a solution and discovery
Finding a robust solution to help first responders
Besides managing the TTD configuration process for Dallas County, Matt also wanted to be
sure IamResponding’s TTD software was running on an extremely reliable device. Having to
reboot a computer, or wait for 32 Windows updates to process, simply would not be acceptable
during an emergency situation.
Matt quickly decided to use a Raspberry Pi computer. Originally designed as an educational
tool, Raspberry Pis are extremely small devices (just twice the size of a deck of cards). Their
simple hardware configuration lacks some of the complex functionality of a Windows device, but
this means there is a lot less that can go wrong. He was able to host IamResponding’s
software on the Raspberry Pi’s Linux-based operating system, and (because it was so small),
locate the device anywhere with access to power and internet connectivity.
Matt kept his device compact by using a “headless” Raspberry Pi with no monitor, keyboard or
mouse. These peripheral devices could be dispensed with thanks to RealVNC’s VNC Connect
software, which comes standard with every Raspberry Pi computer. Using VNC Connect, Matt
can update software, perform maintenance, or monitor any device’s status via another
Matt’s solution in Dallas County was extremely successful, and he soon had multiple requests
for help from neighboring counties. Within a year, and purely through word-of-mouth advertising,
Matt was operating a business supporting over 100 agencies nationwide. Known as MiPi
Support, the business has continued to grow rapidly, doubling its customer base in its second
year of operations.
This rapid growth has only been possible because of VNC Connect. With dozens of MiPi
Support devices running across five states, Matt and his team can manage the entire system
from a single device wherever they are.
A new IaR dashboard feature called the “Kiosk” recently created even more demand for MiPi
Support. Designed to be displayed on monitors inside a first responder station, Kiosk provides
detailed information about an incident, its location, and who is responding. To support Kiosk,
MiPi Support has created a second Raspberry Pi device which fits onto the back of any monitor,
displaying current information to first responders 24/7. Just as it had done with its TTD
solutions, MiPi Support uses VNC Connect to manage all devices running IamResponding’s
A bit on implementation and resolution
How VNC Connect is the perfect solution for MiPi Support’s business
RealVNC has been an official partner of Raspberry Pi since 2016, and every Raspberry Pi
produced since then comes with VNC Connect pre-installed as standard.
While they may lack the wide range of standard functionality that Windows computers have,
Raspberry Pis are extremely streamlined and have very low operating costs. They provided a
perfect solution for MiPi Support, which wanted a small and inexpensive device to do just one
thing, and do it extremely reliably.
RealVNC’s software is integral to every stage of a MiPi Support device’s lifecycle. During the
process of turning a Raspberry Pi into a MiPi Support device, VNC Connect is activated. As
soon as the recipient connects the device to the internet, MiPi Support can finish the
provisioning process, and then begin monitoring it for problems, implementing updates, and
responding to support requests.
As a company founded by a cybersecurity expert, MiPi Support also values RealVNC’s
reputation for top-notch security. Being confident the remote access will not be compromised is
essential, as each device MiPi Support sells is integrated into a local government’s technology
Ensuring that downtime of MiPi Support devices is kept to an absolute minimum is also a key
priority. Using VNC Connect, Matt and his team are able to respond to support calls from
anywhere in the country on a laptop or even a mobile device. Just like the first responders they
work with, MiPi Support can be on call any time, day or night.
“RealVNC makes it really easy for me, from virtually anywhere, to use my phone or tablet to look into and fix a problem should something arise.”
Results and future ambitions
Using RealVNC technology to scale effortlessly
In just two years, MiPi Support has grown from a local, one-off solution, to a nationwide
business supporting over 200 agencies across five states.
Thanks to VNC Connect, MiPi Support can continue to scale for a long time to come. After
growing to 200 agencies purely through word-of-mouth advertising, and with thousands more
agencies using IamResponding’s software yet to be reached, MiPi Support’s potential for growth
“I looked at several other remote access providers before choosing RealVNC. It's already integrated into Raspberry Pi's operating system, which makes the MiPi Support device simpler and more robust. It also made sense from a security perspective, as VNC Connect has a great cyber-security track record.”