How Next Generation Technologies Will Help Keep Citizens and First Responders Safe

How Next Generation Technologies Will Help Keep Citizens and First Responders Safe

By Heidi Hattendorf

By Heidi Hattendorf, Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development, Chief Technology Office

Every day, countless public safety heroes put their lives on the line in the pursuit of safer cities and citizens. Police officers arrive at the scene of an incident not knowing what’s behind the next door, firefighters run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out, and emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics help patients at the scene of potentially dangerous incidents.

Traditionally, first responders mainly communicated via voice radios through a central dispatch. Today the ability to share critical voice and data information and collaborate with other first responders is essential for them to achieve a high level of situational awareness to help protect citizens and themselves. With next generation public safety LTE networks, mission-critical information can be accessed and contributed in real time by everyone on a team – from dispatch to command to individual first responders.

We have evolved from a world where something happens, someone reports it and then there is a response. Law enforcement agencies are receiving text messages, pictures and videos from citizens not only when something happens, but also when they see suspicious activities. And this is only the beginning. Information collected from data sources within a city, such as shot sensors, can identify if a gun has been fired. Social-media buzz can provide insight into an upcoming flash mob or even a potential attack.

At Motorola Solutions, we are building mission-critical solutions to enable greater situational awareness for first responders. Police departments are able to harness the endless flow of data available in today’s world and access information at the most critical moment with real-time intelligence consoles. By bringing together key data and technology, these solutions turn data into intelligence and put critical information at officers’ fingertips to enable them to take action proactively.

Not only is data taken into account from citizens and cities, but also from first responders themselves. In order to focus on the mission at hand, first responders need technology to be seamlessly integrated into their workflow. When under duress, they will not need to stop to call for help. Information triggered by specific events will be shared automatically and in real-time to the command center. Events will be noted by time, location and other critical factors, and held as a record per judicial regulations.

We are exploring wearable technologies and sensors that will help establish contextual awareness by collecting and receiving mission-critical information in new, unobtrusive ways for first responders. Here are some examples:

For police officers, wearable cameras and sensors will integrate with other technologies to help keep them safe. For example, deploying a weapon will cause an immediate capture of an image or video, and information will be sent in real-time to dispatchers. Biomonitoring and sensors will determine if a police officer is under duress, running or lying motionless – or if he has pulled out a gun, pepper spray or handcuffs. Smart glasses paired with their radio or mission-critical handheld will provide officers with critical information such as emergency alerts, photos of a suspect and text messages, without having to look away from a suspect.

Key for firefighters will be the automatic detection of motion, heat sources and hazardous materials, and sending this information instantly to their command centers. Heads-up displays will integrate into a fire helmet and provide only the most important information and indicators. Indoor location tracking monitors firefighter location in indoor settings when outdoor GPS is unavailable. This builds on ruggedized mission-critical radios and accessories which enable communications today.

Critical for EMT and paramedics will be the ability to share vital patient information from various medical devices automatically and in real-time prior to their arrival at a hospital. This information will also be centralized on one screen at the back of an ambulance, giving paramedics a single point of reference as opposed to having to look at multiple devices. Incident information, taken at the scene of an incident or in the ambulance, will also be sent virtually to command as necessary.

Data sharing and sensing intelligence from the edge is critical for first responders. Key enablers – including the right applications and intelligence – will facilitate further sharing of the information between agencies, teams and geographies. One example is Motorola’s Intelligent Data Portal where the incident map and available resources can be viewed on one screen.

The latest in wearable technology, cameras, sensors, biometrics and technologies for dispatch and command are changing the face of public safety and helping first responders save lives. These innovations will help keep them focused on their mission knowing that the right information will be shared in real-time with dispatchers and command. With next generation technology, the right information will be shared with the right person at the right time for mission-critical performance.
Learn more about the next generation police officer communications, fireground communications and emergency medical services communications.

photo courtesy of

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