As the year comes to a close, it’s certainly been a busy one for the Think Public Safety blog. Big thanks to the 13 authors that have contributed over 25 new posts this year. I hope you have found them interesting. What subjects have been popular this year? What are the most popular blog posts?
1. Top of the blogs, with a share of almost 8% of the overall views is ‘Do Clouds Have Silver Linings?’ - in this post, David Parry asks some key questions being asked around cloud. Will the cloud deliver benefits for Public Safety? Is a cloud approach more or less secure than a traditional on-premises data storage and application server approach? You may be surprised by the answer. He shares some new insight from a White Paper ‘Converting to Cloud for Control Rooms’.
2. Another cloud-focused blog comes a close second with over 6% share: ‘Cloud Control Rooms; Scalability, Flexibility, Security’ - This post is written by Mark Swift. A former Control Room Manager himself, Mark shares his experience on key issues around the transition to ESN. What is ESN exactly? How do we transition? Can we utilise more shared infrastructure? How secure is the Cloud? How can I minimise service disruption during any transition?
3. With a share of over 5.5% of views, Tunde Williams takes on the task of ‘Demystifying Intelligent Middleware’ What is it? Why is it important to TETRA? Public Safety agencies need to understand what Intelligent Middleware is to fully realise just how much they need it. Tunde also introduces our White Paper – ‘Intelligent Middleware- The Invisible Glue To Enable Truly Integrated Communications’
4. In fourth place is Julian Foster with the first of his blog series, reporting on the launch of our UK Innovation Centre, sharing perspectives from senior executives on the future of Public Safety. In ‘A Future Vision For Smarter Public Safety’, Jules reports how 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.
5. Paul Hill’s ‘Insights From A Live Hacking Demonstration’ comes a strong fifth. Paul Hill has been raising awareness about the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures for LMR systems with a live hacking demonstration. From his demos, there were some common insights he gleaned from the LMR end-users and system operators. There isn’t room for complacency when safeguarding a mission-critical, LMR system.
6. Number 6 is ‘Avoid The Nightmare Of Network Downtime’ by John Moule. John explains why you have to ‘prepare to fail’ and why a Public Safety system is not a “normal” IT network. Your technology needs to keep first responders safe and needs to be uniquely supported and managed to operate under all circumstances and events – planned or unplanned. John’s blog features the White Paper- Critical Steps To Prevent Network Downtime.
I hope you enjoyed this round-up.
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Best wishes for the holiday season!
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Public Safety Editorial Lead for Europe and Africa at Motorola Solutions.
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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
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.
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Are you ready for the future? It has become a frequent question but it is still an important one. Even more so when you are dealing with mission critical communications.
Being prepared for whatever comes next and being ready for the unknown is really the essence of a successful mission critical organisation - be it Police, Fire and Rescue or Emergency Medical Services. Public Safety agencies need to be ready for whatever tomorrow brings. And this applies as much to their critical communications network and devices as to anything else they rely on.
We all know that the evolution to mission critical mobile broadband technology is on the horizon. For some this journey has already started. Just take a look at the ESN project in the UK and FirstNet in the USA. But we know there will challenges on this road to the future. It is not necessarily going to be a simple changeover from an LMR to an LTE network - we know that it will need to be an evolution and not a revolution.
Today most public safety organisations have an LMR network, be it TETRA or P25. These LMR networks will be around for at least another fifteen years or more - delivering mission critical voice communications. And it is conceivable that they will be around for a lot longer than that as not all organisations will fully migrate from LMR to mobile broadband. Some will run parallel voice and data networks for quite a while and some may even stick with LMR for good.
Inevitably public safety organisations will start using mobile broadband for some of their communication needs, primarily data communications. We have already seen this with police forces using commercial 3G and 4G networks for mobile data applications to improve their operational efficiency using applications like Pronto in the UK or SceneDoc in the USA. Increasingly public safety agencies are turning to MVNOs making use of commercial networks to quickly provide the coverage and capacity they need for these applications, whilst temporarily accepting the risks associated with lower resilience and cyber-security. Eventually mobile broadband networks dedicated to public safety will be deployed in some but not all places.
One thing is for sure though – there will be different network models deployed around the world – from parallel voice and data networks, and MVNOs to dedicated Public Safety LTE networks. But there are mission critical challenges yet to be met by mobile broadband technology such as Direct Mode Operation and Air-to-Ground communications as well as items like resilience, disaster recovery and security. In time technology will answer most if not all of these challenges - but this is where TETRA will have a part to play for a long time to come.
This is why we designed and built DIMETRA X Core – our new, fully scalable TETRA system - taking all the experience we have built up over the past 20 years from the 1,000 Dimetra systems we have deployed – so that mission critical networks can be ready for the future today.
Over the next few years LMR and mobile broadband networks are going to converge and operate as collaborative networks as the first step in this evolution to the mission critical mobile broadband. And this is where DIMETRA X Core comes in. With its smart interfaces and support of Intelligent Middleware and WAVE technology it has been designed to work alongside and collaborate with an LTE network.
The march to the future also brings with it other challenges such as ever increasing cyber security threats and the growing need for cross border collaboration. Designed to be on the leading edge of mission critical communications, DIMETRA X Core has the capability for an Inter System Interface (ISI) to enable cross-border communications and an advanced set of protective, cyber-security measures.
Public Safety organisations need to be more flexible with their resources to respond to the challenges presented by unpredictable and increasingly extreme situations in our fast-changing world. Which is why DIMETRA X Core’s software defined core is designed to allow customers to quickly and easily add new features and additional capacity to their mission critical communications system as circumstances change.
Dimetra X Core allows customers to not only embrace the future potential of mission critical mobile broadband but also respond to the changes the future brings as they happen - it also maximises the value derived from their existing TETRA network so they can continue being ready for the future, today.
Steen Petersen is Director - Tetra Infrastructure Customer Solutions
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