With more than 80 years of close collaboration with public safety agencies, Motorola Solutions has seen a great deal of change in the way public safety officials communicate each day. Communication and the ability to access information quickly have inarguably improved life in ways past generations might never have imagined. Perhaps nowhere has technology — and its application — been more valuable than in public safety. But today the public safety industry faces some significant challenges: providing first responders with technology that enhances real-time communication and situational awareness so they can make split-second decisions. It’s also imperative that we equip officers with better technology than what criminals can access in commercial markets, enabling public safety to stay at least one step ahead to protect the communities they serve.
The case for LTE in public safety
Technology is evolving at a rapid fire pace throughout the public safety sector, and we are moving into an era of broadband-enabled collective intelligence. The power behind collective intelligence is that information is not simply disseminated, but sourced from and shared among all, using two-way broadband communications technology. Each individual can share a unique perspective on the incident, while collecting real-time information from fellow team members. This collaboration creates a unique situational awareness that allows each team member — from dispatch to command to first responders — to access and contribute vital information for the collective good.
A primary key to what makes these collective intelligence capabilities possible is a dedicated high-speed broadband network — such as LTE — that delivers innovative and secure data services to complement and integrate with mission-critical voice radio networks, including LMR, that are widely used in public safety today. The opportunity that stands before us is to bridge LMR networks into the new and enhanced mode of public safety LTE communication.
This integration will have a tremendous, positive impact on public safety agencies’ operations and functionality. The challenge in synthesizing the two networks is not only to make broadband systems interoperable, but also to make them collaborate with LMR mission-critical voice at all levels — from devices up through the physical infrastructure, features and network management. Obviously, the two networks operating together provide multiple communication paths for an individual, but there are also numerous other, less obvious ways that networks can work together. For example, the power of the two networks working together will dramatically reduce the time needed for over-the-air programming and over-the-air rekeying of LMR technology.
By strengthening interaction between narrowband public safety and LTE broadband networks, and through collaboration between two-way radios and data devices, public safety organizations will have the reliability of their mission-critical voice network and the benefit of next-generation multimedia services. This combined network is greater than the sum of its parts and will represent a critical step forward in public safety technology application.
Real-time, real life solutions
Today there is great promise in transforming public safety through broadband innovation that delivers new and unprecedented benefits to the public safety community. The new 700 MHz spectrum allocation gives public safety access to broadband that can be built, operated and managed for mission-critical purposes. With the availability of new spectrum and improvements to the way we access and share vital information, an evolved and more efficient technology has emerged for the next generation of broadband connectivity: standards-compliant LTE, a supersized broadband service that has the capacity to increase the effectiveness of first responders in their mission.