Survey Says: Data Access Becoming More Critical for Public Safety

By Arlene King posted 08-06-2012 09:45


Reposting from “Fresh Ideas in Public Safety” Blog by Rick Neal on Jul 13, 2012

This growing importance of data communications is confirmed in responses to the 2012 Motorola Public Safety Study. Almost 90 percent of the 832 responding government professionals (government administration, command staff, first responders and IT management) reported that they believe data communications are important for their public safety operations. Furthermore, more than half of respondents say they consider data communications to be at least as important as voice communications.

Even more telling, of respondents planning to invest in data technology in the next five years, almost 70 percent are planning on implementing public safety grade broadband technology including LTE networks, point-to-point backhaul systems and WiFi hotspots.

The study also revealed that high-speed data communications are fast becoming essential to first responders. Respondents noted that almost 90 percent of their first responders expect to have data access — to a variety of databases, to up-to-date maps, diagrams and building plans, to live streaming video and more — during at least some incidents. More than half expect data to be available during every incident.

Public safety is clearly looking for the next generation in data communication technology and they would prefer to control access to when and where it is needed. It's not about replacing voice communications; it's about adding to them. It's about supporting first responders and operations personnel with high-speed wireless data communications that bring deeper, clearer and more actionable information to field officers in real time. And it's about delivering this information on ruggedized equipment that ensures reliability in challenging mission-critical situations. For example:

  • A fire scene commander is able to view live streaming video from a helicopter to see the best location to vent a roof.
  • During a hostage standoff at a bank, a SWAT team determines all possible exit routes from up-to-date building plans.
  • An officer can see instantly that the owner of a vehicle she has pulled over has outstanding warrants and is considered dangerous.

The FirstNet network, being proposed as a result of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, will be instrumental in providing an interoperable nationwide public safety broadband network and helping to answer the needs for data. For more information, check out the D Block Spectrum Act and the FirstNet Broadband Network white paper that talks about what you need to know.

Download the full 2012 Public Safety Industry study here.

Rick Neal is Vice President of Government & Commercial Markets for Motorola Solutions.