Live from from CCW2015. In today’s roundtable, our Chief Innovation Officer, Eduardo Conrado shared his thoughts on the future of smart public safety – giving fascinating insight into the ethnographic design thinking followed by Motorola Solutions.
Eduardo set the scene by defining three mega shifts that are influencing the development of purpose-built intelligent mobile ecosystems – edge intelligence, cognitive computing, and augmented reality. As the variety, velocity, and volume of big data grows exponentially, it creates a challenge, but also a real opportunity for unparalleled situational awareness in public safety. But only if technology is adaptive and provides a dynamic experience so first responders can interact with what’s relevant to their mission, and not be distracted in any way.
The immersive approach of ethnography means when Eduardo’s development team think about innovation, they don’t start with the technology. It all begins (and ends) with the needs of the end user. Eduardo stated that a simple, yet important aspect of human nature has influenced this approach, “Many customers won’t tell you what they need, but they will show you”. By immersing themselves in the working lives of end-users, by collaborating, participating and testing, our design teams are able to get a very different perspective.
If we stop and think for a moment about high-velocity human factors. A first responder may spend much of a working day in a state of low-stress equilibrium, but this can be punctuated at any moment with a high-stress emergency that has a direct impact on cognition. And when this happens, the ability to process information is greatly diminished. So if a fire fighter is running into a burning building, how should applications behave, and how should the information delivered change? It has to be specific and relevant to the situation that the first responder is in.
For this to happen, every piece of technology has to connect with each other, but most importantly, with the person. The radio, the patrol car, glasses, smartphone, even the UAV – all information which flows through devices has to be synchronised. Then we can move to technology that learns from users so only the most relevant information for that individual is delivered right when it’s needed most, regardless of device.
For this to happen, there has to be focus on core applications for hybrid communications. When a first responder asks am I alone? Who’s near me? How far away are they? There can’t be any boundaries to the flow of information – even if it comes from the sky.
With the growing interest in the use of UAVs in public safety, Eduardo gave examples of how palm-sized drones such as the Pocket Flyer from CyPhy Works (pictured above) could be used to enter a building and observe, or even simply look around street corner while being controlled via a tablet or smartphone.
This level of information integration and collaboration clearly goes way beyond voice as data becomes mission critical. And of course it means backend systems will continue to play an important role in “powering” the processing of data. But my over-riding take-away from Eduardo’s presentation, was Motorola Solutions’ laser focus on putting the needs of the end user at the very epicentre of all our thinking. It’s one of those things that just makes so much sense when you stop and think about it.
Jules Foster is Leader of the Motorola Solutions Community LinkedIn Group which has over 5,500 active members.
Jules is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianfoster
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