An Abridged History of the Smartphone Revolution
Throughout the past decade, communications have changed drastically. A true “Smartphone” went from being virtually non-existent in 2005 to being completely commonplace in 2015. As Smartphone consumers, we’ve seen the shift from typing our text messages with the number keypad to rattling off a thought and asking Siri to compose and send the text for us. Our cell phones went from spending 90% of their time in our pockets to spending 90% of their time in our hands.
What are we gaining from these devices? We’re gaining access to more information than we’ve ever had before. Accessing this information has become so convenient that people are no longer content with not knowing an answer to a question or having to call a friend to find out where they are.
Consumer Data Usage vs. Public Safety Data Usage
As consumers we understand this. But why is public safety technology slow to catch up? Off duty, the police officer uses their personal Smartphone to look up film times for tonight, but when they’re on the job, they still need to key up their radio to do a number plate query. At home, the officer writes lengthy emails to friends and family on their smartphone but has to drive back to the station and fill out a report using a pen and paper. On vacation, they stream local sporting events live from their smartphone but on duty they’re missing out on live surveillance video that could help them catch a criminal. You get the point – On duty, there is much more we can do to help emergency service personnel get better access to the information they need to work safer, smarter and faster.
Why Purpose-Built LTE?
The emergency services need the best and most reliable communications. This is why nearly every agency relies on a secure radio network and rugged radios for their voice communications. These voice networks have been purpose-built for mission critical operations. For data, they need the same. Perhaps agencies haven’t largely invested in LTE devices for their officers because the right, mission critical device didn’t exist and neither did the public-safety-specific applications to go with it. They need a secure LTE device that simplifies collaboration and the sharing of vital intelligence – a device that will send and receive photos, videos and suspect information – one that they can trust when they have lives on the line. Their broadband device needs to be rugged and secure, with the loudest audio and the ability augment and operate collaboratively with their radio’s functions.
Combining premium voice communications with purpose-built data has the potential to transform officer productivity and situational awareness, making it possible for them to respond much faster and prevent crime. They need an LTE device that’s designed especially for them, with intelligent middleware and a customisable user interface that presents only the most important information.
Motorola’s Vision for the Future of Public Safety Communication
This is our vision for the future of public safety communications and this is why we designed the LEX L10 Mission Critical LTE Handheld. This is the kind of device you can rely on to give you the right information at the right time and to withstand all the elements (IP 67 for water, dust and MIL-STD 810G for drops, etc.). In ten years, we’ll be looking back at how far we’ve come in policing because of the data that was finally leveraged to turn potential disasters into moments where nothing happened at all.
We recently launched the LEX L10 at Critical Communications World in Barcelona. Take a look at John Helliwell introducing the LEX L10 and Public Safety Experience (PSX) at CCW2015.
Tunde Williams is Head of Field and Solutions Marketing for Europe and Africa
Tunde is on LinkedIn at uk.linkedin.com/pub/olatunde-williams/5/282/67a/
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VOICE: For many risk-averse time-critical,and I truly mean TIME critical not in minutes but effectively seconds, anything but direct unit-to-unit communications, meaning NO infrastructure, codecs, etc. is most prudent.
For close-in tactical and fire attack communications it makes NO sense to send a voice through a digital cruncher then off by some weak portable signal someplace far away to get munched and spit back out through another set of processors.
The 'shot'/"no shot", water... etc. now call needs to be IMMEDIATE.
There can be NO confusion, slurring, muttering, noise-confused non-transfer of such communications. To force it to be acceptable that critical end users must "get used to" impaired voice quality is insane, irresponsible, likely monetarily or tech-geek motivated arrogance, or management "simple as an iPhone" naive and negligent.
DATA: In regard to FirstNet specifically (putting aside cuirrent relatively unreliable LTE cellular data) I have yet to see or hear any information regarding network management, security, access control, routing, VLANs, resilience, etc. to the 'customer' endpoints - mobile or stationary.
Heck, use cases and application needs probably haven't been discussed. Just "hey, there will be this really cool mobile network coming, we don't know if it will work or what it will be used for, but it will be great!" is dubious.
Well-qualified expert data to and from the field is essential (voice is not 'data') in many many cases. Public-safety LTE needs to be much more reliable, monitor-able, accessible and integrated into existing or new tactic tech ops resources dedicated to an agency or agencies. Outsourcing much of this is unthinkable... caller #12, wait time 27 minutes doesn't work.
Once the base stations are set, pipes brought into EOCs, p/s NOCs, etc. nothing less than a cooperative full and complete hand-off and support system must be in place. "CJIC will be down until people get into work in New Dehli and look it over" - HA! Not. These things really are THAT important and essential to law, fire, rescue, EMS, dispatch, management and especially the public.
FirstNet must come in FirstRate with a purpose, and again, none of that can be allowed to foolishly displace direct radio contact using purpose built heavy duty equipment - an iPhone in an Otter case is NOT tactically sound!
Thanks for listening.