Why Mobile Solutions Are the Best Options for Public Safety Technology October 21th, 2022
True mobility gives officers and first responders access to data and communications when they need it most.
Data access and connectivity are vital to public safety operations. According to the global Zebra Field Operations Vision study, public safety officers and first responders rely on technology in the field for crash reporting, situational awareness, locationing, digital investigations and inspections, language translations, and other mission-critical tasks. However, the choice of public safety technology plays a huge role in its value.
The Zebra study found many public safety officers and first responders use laptops in the field – because that’s what their organizations had issued. A laptop allows an officer or first responder to return to a vehicle to update records or access data. But it isn’t practical to carry when fighting a structure fire or securing a crime scene. For connectivity at all times, rugged tablets or rugged smartphones are better choices.
Mobile Public Safety Technology Solves Problems
Mobile solutions give public safety agencies the ability to address some of their biggest challenges:
First Responder Safety
Police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and other first responders constantly encounter the unknown. For example, drivers at a traffic stop or accident scene could have criminal records, buildings could contain hazards, and emergency scenes can change quickly. Mobile solutions provide vital information, such as background checks, sensor information from smart building systems, and guidance for treating medical conditions on-site. Mobile solutions also give first responders a lifeline to their dispatchers to request assistance or backup and to allow unit commanders to pinpoint their locations at any time.
Many public safety agencies struggle to recruit and retain qualified personnel. One factor making retention more difficult is the gap between technology use in recruits’ daily lives and the antiquated systems many public safety agencies use. Mobile solutions allow first responders to access information, communicate, and collaborate with their teams, creating more intuitive workflows.
Mobile solutions allow police officers and first responders to collect and share data in real time. For example, solutions designed with native mobile features can allow officers to scan identification cards or vehicle registrations, use GPS technology to auto-populate location data on reports, or use the devices’ cameras to capture images. Field officers can then immediately share that data with their agencies’ systems.
Must-Have Public Safety Technology Features
Public safety agencies must choose devices suited to use in the field to ensure reliable performance when needed most. Mobile devices must be:
Rugged: Devices should be certified to resist damage from exposure to water, dirt and dust, humidity, and temperature extremes. Mobile devices must also keep performing after drops, vibrations and shocks. Device failure in the field is unacceptable in public safety use cases.
Ergonomic: Devices must be lightweight, have daylight-readable screens, and have compatible accessories, such as vehicle cradles, shoulder straps, and headsets, that make them easier to use.
Secure: Mobile solutions for public safety must be highly protected to prevent hacking, communication interference, and data loss or corruption. Public safety agencies should also deploy device management systems that monitor their use, enable remote updates, and can lock or wipe lost or stolen devices.
Mobile devices for public safety applications should also have extended battery life and multiple connectivity options. Printer integration may also enhance solutions for e-citation or other use cases requiring documentation.
An upgrade from legacy paper-based processes or laptops intended for use in vehicles will keep officers connected and give them continual access to vital data. With the right mobile solutions, public safety agencies can overcome challenges, operate more efficiently, and enhance the services they provide to their communities.