Tech mis­sion crit­i­cal

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT: LOCAL -

Scenes of disas­ter splash across our TV screens al­most daily. From col­lapsed fac­tory build­ings to ter­ror­ist at­tacks and deadly tor­na­does, crises are sim­ply part of our mod­ern ex­is­tence. For­tu­nately, we tend to learn from ev­ery episode and use ex­pe­ri­ence and in­tel­li­gence to be bet­ter pre­pared for the next calamity.

One of the es­sen­tial – and in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated – ele­ments of disas­ter pre­pared­ness and emer­gency re­sponse to­day is tech­nol­ogy. Yet what the ex­perts term “mis­sion crit­i­cal” tech­nol­ogy – that which ul­ti­mately saves lives – is very dif­fer­ent from the sleek con­sumer tech you and I are used to. In­stead of de­pend­ing on tem­per­a­men­tal smart­phones, for ex­am­ple, po­lice and other first re­spon­ders use high­pow­ered ra­dios to com­mu­ni­cate over their own net­work (po­lice of­fi­cers around the world have ranked their ra­dios as their most es­sen­tial sur­vival tool, over their guns). And with the im­pres­sive ad­vances in con­nec­tiv­ity so­lu­tions, such as LTE (or 4G) – wire­less broad­band tech­nol­ogy that en­ables su­per-fast mo­bile In­ter­net ac­cess – f irst re­spon­ders have more in­for­ma­tion at their f in­ger­tips than ever be­fore. If they are equipped with the right tech­nol­ogy, that is.

Last week, Fin­week at­tended the an­nual Crit­i­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions World Congress in Paris, where pub­lic safety ex­perts and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies gath­ered to show­case the lat­est in­no­va­tions in mis­sion­crit­i­cal tech­nol­ogy. Un­sur­pris­ingly, con­nec­tiv­ity was a ma­jor theme; with tech­nol­ogy group Mo­torola So­lu­tions – a long-time provider of mis­sion-crit­i­cal tech – pre­sent­ing the con­cept of “Safer Cities” us­ing “fu­ture-proof ” and “in­tel­li­gent” com­mu­ni­ca­tions. While this may sound rather like cor­po­rate gob­bledy­gook, the tech­nol­ogy on dis­play was any­thing but. And for over­worked and un­der-re­sourced South African po­lice and first re­spon­ders (the Tsh­wane Metro and Ekhu­ru­leni Metro po­lice were present at the con­fer­ence), th­ese new solu- tions have the po­ten­tial to trans­form lo­cal law en­force­ment and emer­gency ser­vices.

Mo­torola’s Con­nected Po­lice Ve­hi­cle (CPV), for ex­am­ple, al­ters the dy­nam­ics of front­line polic­ing. Serv­ing as a “ve­hi­cle hotspot”, the CPV au­to­mat­i­cally scans its en­vi­ron­ment with mul­ti­ple Au­to­matic Num­ber Plate Recog­ni­tion (ANPR) and video sur­veil­lance cam­eras. Im­ages are au­to­mat­i­cally fed back to a cen­tral con­trol room, where in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers use data an­a­lyt­ics to track crim­i­nals and guide the field of­fi­cers. An­other break­through in­no­va­tion on show was the First Im­age Man­age­ment Sys­tem for TE­TRA Dig­i­tal Ra­dios. This hand­held ra­dio uses an in­te­grated cam­era that al­lows im­ages to be man­aged, au­then­ti­cated and shared within a pub­lic-safety or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ex­ist­ing work­flows. Crit­i­cally, this tech­nol­ogy al­lows for the ver­i­fi­ca­tion of cap­tured im­ages at any point and re­duces the chance of ev­i­dence be­ing deemed un­us­able in a pros­e­cu­tion. (Pho­tos taken on a smart­phone, for ex­am­ple, would be con­sid­ered un­re­li­able be­cause they can be edited or deleted.) This de­vice has al­ready been pro­cured by the Dan­ish Health Ser­vices, to be used by paramedics and doc­tors who at­tend an emer­gency or crime scene to se­cure ev­i­dence. When think­ing back to many bun­gled crime scenes and mud­dled pros­e­cu­tions here at home (the Os­car Pis­to­rius case comes to mind), one can’t help con­sid­er­ing how such a de­vice could rad­i­cally al­ter lo­cal polic­ing.

Mo­torola’s Con­nected Po­lice Ve­hi­cle (CPV)

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