Most public safety agencies have heard about the important role broadband wireless networking and video security cameras played in supporting recovery efforts following the Minneapolis bridge disaster in August 2007. A handful of cameras were quickly set up, leveraging the city's new Wi-Fi network to provide real-time visibility of the site back to the emergency operations center. That same Wi-Fi network was used by emergency response personnel from a number of agencies working along the riverfront to access and transfer the huge geographic information system (GIS) mapping files that were constantly being updated and critical to the recovery operation. Though it was less than two years ago, much in both the video security and wireless landscape has changed.
Megapixel and HDTV-compliant networked video security cameras are now delivering video with clearer, sharper images, while advanced analytics are enabling that video to be used more effectively. Meanwhile new video camera devices, from flashlight-cameras to button-cams are making it easier to capture on-the-scene incident footage. Essentially, more video is being captured and analyzed from more locations and perspectives more of the time, improving situational awareness, officer safety and public safety.
On the wireless networking front, we've witnessed the broad deployment of high-performance wireless networks, leveraging both 4.9 GHz public safety spectrum, as well as Wi-Fi technologies, in both small towns and large cities. With clear public safety objectives (while often also supporting both public works and public access applications), these networks are supporting video security applications with new IP cameras and other camera-enabled devices, and supporting remote monitoring and sharing by officers in the field.
The combined benefits of these technologies reinforce their continued growth. The visibility provided by network video security cameras combined with the reach, flexibility and mobility of wireless networks enables public safety agencies to better protect their communities and personnel. Traditionally labor-intensive tasks, such as monitoring high crime, high traffic or remote areas, as well as special events and disasters, are leveraging wireless video security networks to increase the effectiveness of public safety personnel as they work to reduce crime, keep neighborhoods safe and save lives.
In some cities, video security is just one of several public safety applications supported on their broadband wireless network. That's certainly the case in Riverside, California, where wireless coverage blankets the city with both 4.9 GHz and Wi-Fi access delivered over one mesh network operated by AT&T.A citywide 4.9 GHz network
Riverside, California, had a number of public safety issues that it was trying to address with its 4.9 GHz network.
Riverside wanted to provide the police and fire departments with a high-speed wireless network that could deliver numerous applications and services not available via a legacy radio-based network. The network had to be private, secure, reliable and available throughout the city. Personnel needed access to applications running on the city's LAN, as well as Internet-based sites. The system also needed to support remote maintenance of mobile data computers (MDCs) to improve response time for necessary software upgrades, patches and support. And, of course, police and fire needed access to security and other city cameras, as well as video cameras, of other participating agencies (e.g. schools) to aid in their response activities.
With the 4.9 network, officers in the field have faster, more comprehensive access to a range of essential state and local resources such as photo, warrant and license plate databases, allowing them to check up on suspicious persons. Personnel can file reports accessing public safety applications, such as the records management system, over an encrypted link. The system also allows public safety to spend more time in the field, instead of having to return to the station every time they need to offload video or information such as fire inspection results or police incident reports.