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Top 5 public safety innovations from Verizon

These reasons highlight how Verizon is currently helping public safety and innovating for a future in which we will be both safer and more efficient in our role of helping those in need in our communities

By Greg Bogosian
FireRescue1 Contributor

The following is paid content sponsored by Verizon

Many of us are familiar with Verizon in our daily lives, from the cell phones on our hips, to the TV and phone service in our homes.  There is, however, a large overlap with our professional lives as public safety professionals as well. Many of us know about Verizon as a nationwide leader in commercial communication solutions, but I’d like to take a few minutes to highlight 5 specific areas in which Verizon is currently helping public safety, and innovating for a future in which we will be both safer and more efficient in our role of helping those in need in our communities.

First responders react to an emergency situation using innovative Verizon technology.
First responders react to an emergency situation using innovative Verizon technology. (Photo courtesy Verizon)
  1. Monitoring and Control: Through a partnership with Blueforce Development, a revolutionary new safety and monitoring system for public safety professionals is now being put into place, beginning with the fire service.  The system is composed of three components: a Life Belt, an Air Pack Device, and a Mesh Node.

    The Life Belt is an adjustable, flexible band which is worn around the upper abdomen of the responder (adjustable so as not to restrict movement or normal breathing), and contains sensors which report on heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature.This interfaces with the Air Pack Device, which monitors the battery life of the air pack, the physical location of the responder, and whether the responder is standing up, moving, or lying down.

    Finally, the Mesh Node, which is an signal amplification device that can be placed anywhere on a scene via an adhesive backing, helps the incident commander to have better points-of-reference at any incident to know exactly where their responders are, how they are, and what they’re doing.Together, these solutions combine to provide critical information on responder well-being and resource deployment in real-time over the Verizon Wireless data network, enabling more efficient response to both the incident, and to the unthinkable should a responder become injured. For more information, visit here.
  2. Mobile Public Safety: The rapid dissemination of real-time information from database sources such as NCIC and NLETS, as well as local information repositories, is becoming more and more mission-critical for agencies.  What this is translating into in practice is a need for field personnel and supervisory/command staff to have devices which enable portable access to those resources while at a scene, and also a need to have two-way information flow in more than just the traditional dimension of the voice radio transmission.

    Verizon has established two Innovation Center facilities (one on both US coasts), where new technologies being pursued by some of the leading companies in the public safety tech sector are brought into a collaborative environment which gives those companies access to the expertise of Verizon mobile broadband specialists, and also to the extensive mobile broadband network which Verizon has put into place nationwide, including 4G LTE high-speed data transmission.  What this helps to facilitate is the deployment of exciting new devices for the public safety sector, including live-transmission video cameras (enabling other responders and supervisory staff to gain an instant view into a developing situation), person-portable identification equipment such as mobile fingerprint scanners which can instantly communicate with AFIS, and much more. For more information, visit here.
  3. Interoperable Communications: While there’s been a lot of talk about this in recent years, we are just now beginning to see some significant technological deployments to enable it in the truest sense of the concept.  One such technology is Verizon’s IntellLink™ system, which extends traditional Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems with secured cellular Push-To-Talk (PTT) network resources. 

    This would enable not only a potentially extended range of transmission for agencies’ own operating frequencies, but also allows for the possibility of bringing in other surrounding agencies’ frequencies on a single device, potentially beyond the range of their own broadcast antennae.

    Through collaboration with Motorola Solutions via an industry-leading alliance, Verizon will enable access to their own nationwide 4G LTE and 3G commercial networks for public safety communications purposes. This will allow agencies to minimize the cost of expanding their infrastructure and communications resources while still maintaining a high performance level.You can read more about that partnership here.
  4. Continuity of Operations: One of the biggest concerns for any public safety agency is continuity of operations not only in a daily-operations sense, but also in times of crisis, where local infrastructure is either overwhelmed, damaged, or even destroyed.  Verizon Wireless is in the process of putting into place a Wireless Priority Service which will allow them to prioritize devices designated as belonging to public safety entities when such events take place.  Even when wireless networks are heavily congested, it helps to ensure that communications capabilities to coordinate and manage response will remain intact.

    To this end, Verizon has established a dedicated National Crisis Response Team (VCRT).  This team is available 24/7 via live chat or through a dedicated hotline number, and has the resources available to deploy additional infrastructure (including back-up data and voice capabilities, along with dedicated equipment/network support) as needed, and prioritize public safety traffic on a given network node, among many other capabilities.  By providing a single point of contact during times of crisis, the VCRT works to help your agency focus on the most important priority in any crisis: helping those in need of service. For more information, visit here.
  5. Fleet Management: Most agencies have traditionally thought of fleet management in the sense of the physical maintenance of vehicles and equipment, along with their acquisition when needed.  In today’s world, however, Verizon’s data networks and solutions enable far more enhanced capabilities. 

    Through Networkfleet®, fleet managers gain visibility into their vehicles’ location, operation, and engine diagnostics.Daily and weekly reports show not only these parameters, but also enable the manager to ensure that the manner in which those vehicles are being operated is consistent with agency policy, and helps to reduce the overall fuel costs by providing information on operational information such as idle time.Additionally, the software allows the setting of “geofences,” which enables command and administrative staff the ability to monitor how sector units are being utilized within a given service area, and ensure maximum visibility of their field assets. For more information, visit here.

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