Connectivity is just as important in disaster response as it is in helping to re-build affected communities after the event. Having little or no infrastructure with which to establish a broadband network used to be a major challenge for humanitarians. But thanks to technological innovation, this is no longer the case.
In this issue of Think Aid Connect we examine some examples of how Motorola’s ecosystem of mobile LTE broadband solutions can transform humanitarian connectivity and enable agencies to service connected beneficiaries more efficiently.
IMPROVED SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
When an earthquake strikes or war breaks out, humanitarians need to establish the scale and nature of the damage as quickly as possible. Using a drone or tethered balloon, they can rapidly establish a semi-permanent or mobile broadband network that has the range and quality of coverage to stream high-definition video in real time.
Once the affected community has access to a public LTE network, it enables data to be crowd-sourced to determine their needs and information to be relayed to them in fast-changing situations – without impacting on the capacity or availability of the private humanitarian LTE network. Thus, having their own private network can enable humanitarians to gain and share vital intelligence that can have a significant impact on their response.
GREATER PERSONNEL SAFETY
Operating in extremely hazardous situations requires supervisors to be able to locate aid workers and track their status. With Motorola’s Integrated Command and Control application, the movement of personnel can be pinpointed on a map, allowing the nearest person to be dispatched if help is required and providing reassurance in stressful circumstances. It can also help to monitor the progress of food and medical supply convoys.
To get the job done to the best of their ability, each humanitarian worker has to have the tools most suited to their requirements. WAVE Work Group Communications allows them to communicate across two-way radio and broadband networks, regardless of which device they choose to use. So whether they’re in a disaster zone or working at a refugee camp, humanitarians can stay connected and keep up to date at all times.
ALWAYS-ON ACCESS TO AID PROGRAMME APPLICATIONS
The beauty of having your own private LTE network is the ability to distribute capacity as and when it is needed and also to add capacity if required.
Throughout all stages of a humanitarian operation, aid workers need to access, process and share information. So, the network has to be flexible, reliable and secure.
Motorola’s LTE portable infrastructure offers a broad choice of mobile and fixed connectivity:
- lightweight, portable LTE which can be carried in a backpack
- tactical LTE in a ruggedised case
- in-vehicle options for greater mobility
- aerial platforms for semi-permanent or fixed installations
All these options provide uninterrupted connectivity that is independent of any existing infrastructure. There is the option to connect to the LTE via microwave, satellite or fibre backhaul, to accommodate varied environments, climates and terrains.
KEEPING HUMANITARIANS SAFE
The harsh reality of much humanitarian work is that aid workers are frequently at risk. Without security, they cannot offer the support needed.
Extending our vast experience in public safety, Motorola Solutions has worked closely with emergency responders to help to equip them with devices that can enhance protection. One example of this is body-worn cameras. By combining a video camera, radio speaker and microphone, as well as cloud-based data storage, information about a situation can be captured and stored quickly and easily. So if an incident occurs, the LTE network can be used to relay real-time video, still images and emergency alerts and enable a more intelligent and rapid response. All of this can be achieved without detracting from responding to the crisis at hand.
As has been evidenced with public safety agencies, humanitarians also stand to benefit from improved accountability when wearing a camera. Deployments have shown that when a hostile situation is being recorded, responders tend to behave better and so do the people with whom they are interacting. In fact, citizen complaints regarding interaction with law enforcement officers tend to be reduced by as much as 50 per cent, suggesting that body-worn cameras can help to defuse confrontations.
A DEDICATED, RELIABLE NETWORK THAT YOU CAN TAKE ANYWHERE
From the few examples I’ve discussed, it is evident that connectivity can empower people in myriad ways. It has the potential to truly transform humanitarian services and the affected communities they support.
Portable Public Safety LTE is the next step in the digital transformation that embraces past challenges and opens a whole new world of possibilities.
For more information: