By Richard Mirgon, Public Safety Consultant
Everyone knows the high cost of public safety technology. Most of the time this cost is driven by proprietary technology to meet public safety mission requirements and has been a factor for years with land mobile radio. This was the single driving factor behind selecting LTE. The concept is simple, let’s stop imposing technology specifications that drives high cost and proprietary solutions. Let’s find technology based on open standards and build operating processes that exploits those open standards. Yes, we may need to harden some products and modify our internal process, but at the end of the day it is more effective and cheaper.
So, with that concept in mind I always look to CES in Las Vegas every year wondering about what new and cool things are available that can be applied to the public safety world. So here are just a few things I have found that simply makes me wonder how they can be adapted to our daily mission.
One such cool product is made by Olea Sensor Networks http://www.oleasys.com/ that is being designed as a medical grade sensor. They call it an OSN Quadcorder with HeartSignature (http://www.4-traders.com/news/Olea-Announces-the-OSN-Quadcorder-trade-Prototype-with-HeartSignature-trade–25670243/). It is designed to measure a number of vital signs and has the ability to create a unique signature for each patient. It is wireless, doesn’t require contact with the body and weighs less than one ounce. Some of the possibilities within public safety beyond the obvious of patient care would be first responder’s health and the ability to identify the first responder’s “HeartSignature”. Could this same ability be used for authenticating on a secure network? I don’t know but it looks interesting.
I also found flexible displays or “foldable screens” (http://www.techvicity.com/2018/01/samsungs-foldable-smartphones-secretly-showcased-with-design-at-ces-2018.html). One frustration when working on incidents by first responders is the rigidity of the equipment. As you try and move and turn sometimes your equipment is not that flexible. Now with flexible screens you can wrap them around your wrist and easily attach them to your equipment. This also reduces the weight in an environment where every ounce matters.
And of course, there is voice enabling. More cars, equipment and devices with built in Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant are appearing daily. How will that reshape our world now that we have FirstNet providing us the data connection to use this new technology? The capability to ask questions in real time will impact the CAD vendors by opening up the ability to insert and get information from your CAD systems by voice. How about the ability to ask for policy information on an incident you’re working or instructions on a task to be performed? (Maybe we can finally get help with those five thousand dollar P25 radios on changing talk groups or building a scan list.) No matter what, it is going to make a first responder’s job easier and safer allowing them to focus on response tactics and to process all this new information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this company or any company with whom the author may be associated.
Richard Mirgon is a Public Safety consultant focused on FirstNet. He is a Past President of APCO International and has over 35 years of public safety and first responder experience. For more information about the author please go to http://www.next-paradigm.com/about/