There are more cell phones in the world than there are people, and sometimes it seems every one of those cell phones has a video camera. Broadband connections, cloud services, text messages, and social media have become commonplace. The world has gone digital and mobile -- and these same trends are affecting public safety. Here are six technology trends that will reshape how state and local governments approach public safety in 2015. Are you prepared?
1. Cloud Computing
Public safety answering points (PSAPs) are giving hosted and cloud-based solutions a serious look. Cloud solutions promise richer functionality, more flexibility, and greater resiliency, plus a more flexible payment structure without a large up-front capital expense. Today, a PSAP likely sources its 911 system, CAD system, and recording solution from different companies. But in the future, a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider will offer these as a pre-integrated bundle.
2. Body-worn Cameras
Over the past few months, dozens of law enforcement agencies have announced their plans to test and buy body-worn cameras. While this will be beneficial for incident reporting, what do you do with all that video?
Body-worn video must be fully integrated into the evidence management process, enabling it to be easily organized, reviewed, and shared along with other multimedia such as cell phone videos, radio communications, 9-1-1 calls, pictures, and CCTV.
3. Digital Evidence Management
The proliferation of surveillance cameras, smartphones, and social media has created a sea of digital evidence. Investigators must be able to capture, manage, analyze, and piece together all of this digital evidence to gain an accurate understanding of an incident. Being able to synchronize digital evidence -- like body-worn video recordings -- with communications before and after the incident is essential.
With so much data flooding control rooms, there’s no way to analyze it all manually. Agencies and organizations increasingly are using analytics to turn this unstructured content into relevant information. Video, speech, and text analytics are used to gather insight into behavior and search for links between seemingly unrelated events, generating insights that might never be uncovered manually.
5. FirstNet/Public Safety Broadband
While FirstNet and public safety broadband are primarily a resource for first responders, PSAPs will also feel the impact. FirstNet will enable 9-1-1 centers to share video and other relevant data in real time with emergency medical services and other first responders.
6. NG9-1-1 / Text-to-911
On the last day of 2014, the FCC implemented a database and certification process for PSAPs that are prepared to accept text-to-911 messages. This signals that the industry is changing the way it thinks about Text-to-911 – from ‘early adopter’ to ‘mainstream.’
But Text-to-911 is just the beginning. With the advent of NG9-1-1, emergency calls will migrate to an IP-based emergency services network, arriving at the PSAP as data. This migration will require PSAPs to update their 911 technology—including their call logging technology -- which means a major shift is coming at all levels of government.
About the author:
Diamond Chaflawee is Director of Marketing and Business Development for Public Safety sector for NICE Systems, Inc. (www.nice.com) He has more than 10 years’ experience working for organizations in the public safety and government sectors. Diamond developed the NICE Inform technology, which provides an automated way for 9-1-1 centers to manage and reproduce multimedia information. NICE Inform has been adopted by thousands of public safety sites worldwide.