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Entries » Blog » A Future Vision for Smarter Public Safety Author: Julian Foster

A Future Vision for Smarter Public Safety Author: Julian Foster

Created Oct 05 2017, 2:37 PM by Paul Jeffs

In this blog series, Julian Foster reports on the launch of our UK Innovation Centre – sharing perspectives from senior executives on the future of Public Safety.

Eduardo Conrado, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Motorola Solutions, set the scene by defining the wider technology trends that are influencing our future vision for public safety and how these will impact officers around the World.

Top 6 technology trends that will influence public safety

  1. Smarter IoT Technologies. Not just within our homes, vehicles, connected cities, and infrastructure, but also from wearables on our Police Officers and Firefighters. More and more, you’ll see body-worn sensors providing valuable intelligence back to the Command Centre.
  2. Information Overload. Police officers and firefighters require “eyes up, hands free”. There’s no excuse for distraction. With more data available, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play an important role. Machine Learning will ensure only relevant situational insight is delivered to officers – at precisely the right time.
  3. Modality Interacting with Information. Right-now we’re used to interacting with data through touch – but as we enter the next generation of interface, it’s voice that will become a key modality. This is already happening in our homes, if you think of voice-activated assistants such as Amazon Echo or Google Home.
  4. Contextual Awareness. The importance of “who, what, where” and using that data to change the modality of how information is transmitted. How we interact with technology is going to become very important.
  5. Consistency Across Platforms. Wherever in the car, on the beat, at the station, or in an emergency situation – officers will need consistent delivery and flow of information regardless of what platform or interface they are using.
  6. Evolving Deployment Architecture. Whether data is stored on-premise, in the cloud, or delivered to The Edge, the exact architecture required varies per country. It’s only with this level of granularity that you can develop truly effective solutions to match the needs of Public Safety professionals around the World..

Eduardo Conrado


When we think about these wider trends, and combine them with observations from our customers – there’s a real opportunity for unparalleled levels of collaboration, situational awareness and productivity for public safety professionals of the future.

Sometimes a Customer Can’t Tell You What They Need, But They’ll Show You
Great products are not born from sitting in a lab. We have researchers whose job it is to “live” with our customers. Ride along with them, just observing, for 1000s of hours. Getting to fully appreciate what problems they have on a daily basis. We then look at what technology could do to help that. It’s only with this deep understanding that we can create technology solutions that truly address the needs of officers on the front line.

Designing for Moments of Terror
When we think about our design philosophy at Motorola Solutions, we talk about High Velocity Human Factors (HVHF) – designing for moments of terror. In that moment, a human brain has very little ability to process information – you only process basic properties such as colour, and your field of vision narrows. When a Police Officer is in this type of situation, context becomes very important. Is an officer doing a regular traffic stop? Sitting in his vehicle looking at information? Or on an active foot chase? Context is key when driving information out to the field.

As you look at the situation that each customer is in, you need to ask how can technology help to give an ideal user experience? And then design to that end point.

A Day in the Life of a Police Officer
There’s no “typical” when it comes to a day in the life of a Police Officer. But on the whole, we see that around 60% of time is spent on proactive policing, 15% on incident response, and 25% post incident (paperwork). If we can digitise as much admin as possible then that 25% will shrink to give officers more time to spend proactively fighting crime. We can then support officers with solutions that improve collaboration, and use AI to help predict crime. Then for during the incident, we can develop technologies that provide better insights directly to officers.

Future Edge Experience
When we think of our customers, we no longer think of one or two devices in the belt and on the chest. But actually, an eco-system of devices. At the heart of it you have a hub which is either a radio or an LTE unit – connected with a set of sensors around the officer’s body. These sensors may have different interfaces such as voice, augmented reality, or heads up displays. Video, not only for image capture, but more importantly to analyse and then trigger an action based on what’s happened. When we talk about audio, it’s not going to be just a modal of communication or a computational interface – but also using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to analyse and either inject a bot or capture anomalies.

Today’s Connected Police Officer
Five years ago, the Motorola Solutions development team considered what the connected Police officer of the future might look like – with the combination of TETRA and broadband networks, personal area network and key wearable technologies. We added biometrics and the ability to capture heart rate. We connected sensors and accelerometers to guns and other devices worn on the belt. So as the gun gets drawn, it triggers a video camera to capture and send an image back to the Command Centre. We put smart glasses on the officer, so based on the context – if they’re in an emergency situation with gun drawn – the glasses automatically start capturing images. While smart glasses enable the Command Centre to push intelligence out to the officers and display details such as information based on licence plate number etc. About 90% of what we futurecast back then, is already going into our product roadmap.

Imagine a World 5 Years From Now
Last year we took another look into the future. The person, the vehicle and the drone will become a single unit. Working in unison, they’ll all be connected in the field and to the Command Centre. The vehicle will not only be a mode of transportation but also a partner – becoming a computational platform that analyses information in real-time.

When it comes to the officer we see biometric sensors and communication capabilities being distributed around the officer’s body in a single wearable. Charging, communication, and data components will all be combined. Augmented reality and multiple cameras – not just to capture video, but to automatically analyse the surrounding area as officers walk around and trigger an action based on what’s happening. Eduardo and his team are testing all of these technologies right now, so watch this space.

In my next blog, we’ll take a closer look at these innovative solutions, and consider how they’ll impact the working lives of Public Safety professionals in the future.

Julian Foster is Global Co-Lead for the Social Media Center of Excellence at Motorola Solutions.

Connect with Julian on LinkedIn

Follow #ThinkPublicSafety, @MotSolsEMEA, on Twitter.



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