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Transmitting Data in Public Safety Field Technology

26 May 2015 by Christine Kern

One of the challenges for public safety agencies is integrating field technology to provide seamless data transmission and improve effectiveness and responsiveness within and outside of their jurisdictions.

With increased pressure from the Department of Homeland Security, agencies also need to meet higher standards of interdepartmental and interagency communications via police officers and first responders in the field, a requirement that can be met with the appropriate field technology, storage and wireless solutions.

Tech Tools at Work

According to Cisco’s website, with workforce mobility systems in place, police officers and first responders can save critical moments in the field through wireless access to data and communications. Available technology includes point-to-point solutions and citywide broadband workforce mobility options to help keep field workers on the front lines be more responsive.

IBM explains on its website, “Police officers, working in patrol cars or walking the beat, can make faster decisions by checking criminal records, downloading mug shots and sharing information with other first responders, thereby increasing situational awareness before responding to an incident. [And] firefighters can download building plans and check incident reports directly from their fire engines or emergency sites to help provide faster response.”

Such systems help create interagency collaboration by integrating existing communications. These systems enhance public safety by enabling fire departments with virtual real-time access to incident management reports, building blueprints and hazardous material information. And they can securely transfer sensitive data to public security personnel in the field during emergency response, allowing for faster identification and apprehension of suspects by law enforcement.

Wireless field technology includes the use of video surveillance solutions, such as and installed in downtown Dallas for the Dallas Police Department in 2007. One further emerging wireless technology coming into its own in the public safety industry is the automated license plate recognition, already in use by a number of police departments.

Keys to Communications Challenges

The capabilities provided by the new technologies offer great potential for law enforcement and other first responders to increase security and improve overall performance. However, the diverse range of field technologies now being employed also requires strong solutions to connect and store their data.

One provider that offers a mobile networking platform to address the communications challenges faced by public safety agencies and Homeland Security is Cisco. Its system guarantees a network communications infrastructure that provides secure data transmission to and from the field for police, fire and first-responder organizations.

The Cisco solution makes public safety vehicles essentially network extensions of headquarters, creating an “office in a vehicle,” allowing remote officers to make crucial decisions more quickly using network resources in real time.

The Future of Field Tech

The creation of data from these linked systems — from body cams to mobile communications or surveillance systems — requires appropriate storage solutions, and the solutions of the future will have to respond to the growing demands of the systems.

As Duane Wheeler, CISSP, senior architect, wireless practice at Insight explained in an email, “Having an architecture that can properly authenticate each cam and user today, this is stored locally. As this moves forward, the content will be streamed and centralized (private or cloud), the amount will be enormous and with it, the financial liability and opportunities.”

Insight is here to help you design, deploy, implement and maintain the IT environment that helps police officers and first responders in the field. For more information on using field IT technology, visit us.

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