Mobile connectivity and internet of things key for public safety – RCR Wireless News

August 15, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

Mobile connectivity and tapping into internet of things are mission critical for public safety and first responders

It’s the age of the always-connected first responder. Police and fire departments, as well as emergency medical services, harness the “internet of things” daily to put new tools in the hands of first responders. Advanced public safety devices – such as dash and body cameras – provide real-time visibility into a team’s location and situation, and are helping responders take control of incidents faster and more effectively. As the demand for more mobile mission critical applications of these technologies grows, so too does the essential role of connectivity. One device that is necessary in the arsenal of tools is the mobile router.

Police, fire and emergency medical services are the backbone of society and the first line of defense in protecting the health and safety of citizens. New and advanced technologies provide powerful capabilities for first responders that have never been available before. Here are a few ways IoT is changing how police, fire and EMS operate and how these technologies are putting lifesaving tools at their fingertips:


Body worn cameras are becoming the new norm in policing, while tools in connected patrol vehicles enable officers to stay linked to state and federal criminal databases, remotely access police and courthouse applications, use license plate recognition systems and much more while on the move. Technology in the vehicle is continuing to advance every day, especially with the increased use of video surveillance, electronic ticketing systems and the latest vehicle dispatching and tracking technologies. All of these tools enable officers to safely cover more ground, and coordinate with other officers and agencies.


Paramedics can securely access electronic patient care records to understand a patient’s medical history and conditions when responding to an emergency. They can transmit vital signs from the field, and communicate via live streaming video back to hospitals for guidance or to prep emergency services – all of which can shave critical minutes off response times and save lives.


Firefighters can access extensive information from the vehicle when responding to fires. They can identify sites with hazardous materials and access building plans to determine the best methods of access, and better protect emergency personnel and citizens. Body worn sensors can track the health and location of responders, while video cameras can provide insight into the interior of a building before firefighters enter.

Here is an example of how this looks in real world terms. When a patient is being transported in an ambulance, they probably aren’t thinking about how much connected technology is packed into such a small space. When that patient is describing symptoms to a paramedic while being examined and having real-time vital signs monitored from the next county over, there’s an awareness of a high standard of care. And that is the ultimate goal of these first responders. All this is made possible by a crucial device the patient doesn’t see: a mobile router. To illustrate the importance of this technology, here are two scenarios:

Two different county ambulances are out on two separate calls, both in rural areas far from the nearest hospital. In both cases, the patients exhibit puzzling symptoms, which seem to be quickly worsening. Cell service is spotty in both locations. Ambulance “A” has audio, video and remote diagnostic capabilities and is equipped with a mobile router that wirelessly connects all necessary devices to the internet using whatever signal is available from earlier generation 2G to current LTE networks.

Ambulance “B” also has audio, video and remote diagnostic devices connected to a laptop via wires. The laptop has a plug in data card that allows it to connect to a 3G data network. Ambulance B team loses a minute or more trying to keep a connection via the laptop in order to provide a visual and data feed for a doctor back at the hospital. Once they ditch the more modern technology – including a personal cell phone that keeps cutting out due to poor signal reception – and use the patient’s landline (47% of American households don’t have a landline) to call the doctor and describe the symptoms to her – as anyone who has ever played a game of “telephone” knows, this is a process that allows for much more error than a visual examination – a tentative diagnosis of accidental poisoning is made and the patient is rushed to the hospital where the doctor will conduct an in-person examination to confirm the initial diagnosis before prescribing a course of treatment.

The patient pulls through, but waited much longer for treatment than the patient in Ambulance A. Not only was the quality of care not as good as it could have been if the technological solution had been in play, in a profession where every second counts that lost time could have meant a lost life.

Equipped with a wireless router, Ambulance A was able to quickly connect to the hospital for an immediate visual inspection and transmission of real-time vital sign data. Treatment was prescribed and begun immediately and, thanks to connectivity and the wealth of data available, the hand-off to the emergency room team was seamless because the EMS team functioned as a true extension of the hospital’s emergency services. The patient makes a strong recovery. Which ambulance do you want at your door in an emergency?

These scenarios illustrate why a powerful, flexible mobile router is one of the most important pieces of equipment for our first responders.

Connectivity is key to the mission critical communications tool kit. For IoT to continue to make its impact, first responders and field services teams need access to reliable and secure connections at all times. Uncompromised communications for these workforces can keep communities out of harm’s way and save lives by enabling teams to respond quicker and perform critical duties more efficiently. A mobile router, often an unseen, yet crucial device, is what makes this possible.

David Markland brings 16 years of product management and field experience from across the wireless industry sector to Sierra Wireless, where he works in the role of Senior Product Manager, as an industrial communications specialist. Prior to joining Sierra Wireless, Markland was director of technical services at Tantalus Systems, where he was responsible for the definition, implementation and delivery of wireless and IP based smart grid systems deployed by utility companies across North America – ensuring successful deployment of over 1 million smart meters. Markland has also served as product director at Telemisis, a U.K.-based provider of remote generator and utility monitoring systems. Rounding out his technical expertise, Markland was technical project leader in the Wireless Modules division of Siemens AG (now Gemalto), providing integration support services to Siemens module customers from design through approvals to production. Markland has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Southampton.

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