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In Motion Technology's Mobile Wireless "Hot Spot"
Today more and more public safety agencies are faced with the ever-changing world of technology. When agencies are looking to add new mobile computing solutions there are many complex peripheral issues that often times complicate the project. One of those key issues is securely managing wireless data.
One company has a unique solution that simplifies the data management process and allows those agencies the ability to fine tune data management to exactly how they want it. In Motion Technology is a leader in mobile networking technologies that connect and manage equipment, information, and law enforcement officers in the field. In Motion’s patented Mobile Wireless Hot Spot System turns each public safety vehicle into a secure, mobile communications hotspot that enables people on the road to stay in constant contact, as onboard communications roam seamlessly across wireless networks. It provides agencies with real-time information to manage operations to peak efficiency, and frees individuals to be effective anywhere, anytime. Today, In Motion’s solutions are used by more than 330 municipal, healthcare, public safety, transportation and utility organizations worldwide.
The immediate delivery of secure data to the front line officers is no longer a “nice to have”; it’s a “need to have” and that data carries information front officers need quickly and without interruption. Officers make split second decisions based on information they receive and if that information is incomplete, there can be significant consequences.
Let’s say as an example you are a police agency that covers a large geographical area that has coverage gaps between multiple commercial wireless data vendors. As the police vehicles move around the area, they need the ability to stay with the strongest, most robust wireless carrier. This must be done seamlessly to the officer in the vehicle without requiring any user intervention.
The agency gets full ability to set the priority of how and when the officer’s data is transferred based on preset parameters like file size, signal strength, type of file and location. If an agency is using over-the-air software updating to its mobile computing fleet, then those files could be identified to be downloaded only when the officer is near a secure hotspot located at HQ or fueling stations.
The onBoard™ Mobile Gateway creates a “Vehicle Area Network” in and around a vehicle that provides connectivity for a wide range of devices over a variety of networks. The Gateway turns police vehicles into secure mobile hotspots and enables peripheral devices like laptops, tablets, printers, scanners, and video cameras to communicate securely and reliably over any wireless network.
The Gateway senses and selects the best available network like cellular, Wi-Fi, or other data radio wireless networks. This device also allows for the distinct separation of operational networks and administrative Intranets allowing officers to not only connect to secure NCIC or statewide databases but also to securely connect to the agencies’ corporate network. It also allows each agency the ability to custom configure what data they want going over specific connections.
Police vehicles now become mobile branch offices and enable devices like laptops, ALPR, e-ticketing, tablets, printers, scanners and video cameras to communicate securely and reliably over any wireless network. The Gateway extends the enterprise network to the fleet, ensuring the secure and reliable flow of information. It senses and selects the best available network – cellular, Wi-Fi, 700 MHz and other wireless networks – to securely connect law enforcement to the corporate network.
The In Motion product features are ideal for public safety applications because they are very easy to use, as the Gateway requires no officer intervention to operate. They are known for reliability as the Gateway works within all networks (including radio, depot Wi-Fi, Muni Wi-Fi, etc.)
As with any law enforcement agency, security is paramount and the Gateway protects the connection and data being transmitted by providing a secure VPN. Efficiency is built right in as the Gateway makes the officer’s job easier by doing more from the mobile environment and using one’s time to be productive from a crime fighting and proactive, community policing standpoint. The Gateway provides the officers with the tools and technology to do their jobs effectively as opposed to having to always be dealing with disconnected networks or offline mobile computers.
The onBoard Mobility Manager is a network management system that collects and analyzes data from In Motion’s onBoard Mobile Gateways. Available as a hosted service or separate appliance, the onBoard Mobility Manager lets you manage your entire mobile network just as you would your corporate network.
The onBoard Mobility Manager performs all standard network management functions, including fault management, configuration, statistics, performance and security. Accessible from any browser, operations can securely manage the fleet, modify configurations, monitor network coverage and on-board assets with Wi-Fi tags, track vehicles, troubleshoot IT devices, and more.
The onBoard Connection Manager (OCM) is a mobile-optimized VPN server, providing secure IP mobility and sub-second switching in a multi-network environment. The OCM provides the fastest, simplest, most powerful way to create a VPN between your fleet and the enterprise network. The OCM is designed to work with In Motion Technology’s in-vehicle gateway and network management system.
The OCM provides secure, seamless switching between networks for all connected devices and applications in the vehicle area network created by the onBoard Mobile Gateway without the need to add client software on every device. To illustrate the depth of the In Motion product for both small and larger law enforcement agencies, there are several current sites using the product to enhance their efficiency and officer safety markets.
The Queen Anne’s County, Md. Department of Emergency Service (DES) provides first responder services to more than 48,000 residents across 510 square miles along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. DES is comprised of four divisions: Communications, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management and Office of Fire Marshal. The Department also provides support services to the Office of the Sheriff and other county agencies.
Queen Anne’s County has been able to deploy the latest technologies to reduce costs, enhance productivity, and improve service to the community. The Gateway allows video cameras to be used in and around patrol cars to document evidence. Deputies are free to file reports and send e-mails without being tethered to the patrol car. The Office of the Sheriff is using the Gateway to deploy electronic ticketing, wireless printing and other technologies to improve officer safety and productivity.
The El Paso County, Texas Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District provides enhanced 9-1-1 services for the more than 700,000 El Paso County citizens and supports El Paso’s public safety entities of police, sheriff, EMS, fire, hazmat and emergency management.
The District provides the county-wide phone systems that deliver the 9-1-1 calls to a Public Safety Telecommunicator, a Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD) that documents and coordinates responder’s actions, network connections among various radio systems, which promote interoperability and Geographic Information System (GIS) services, which provide maps to public safety entities for response-routing and analysis purposes. “We needed a hardware system for our public safety vehicles that had the ability to expand to new technologies, condense the number of modems, and provide the highest bandwidth connection for our applications and devices,” said JC Ocasio, Network Planning Manager, Information Technology Department, County of El Paso. “In Motion Technology is providing a versatile and powerful device that can serve our current and future mobile communications needs.”
In Motion Technology’s onBoard™ Mobile Gateway turns El Paso’s public safety vehicles into wireless hotspots, providing seamless, secure connectivity to laptops, county-wide CAD system, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL), E-ticketing, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR), mobile two-finger fast ID, vehicle diagnostic and advanced GPS/AVL systems.
The Gateway can be equipped with multiple radio cards, allowing emergency communications to be transmitted over the best available – and most cost effective – wireless network. Radio modules can be easily added or replaced to adapt to the latest network technologies. “El Paso has taken a unique approach to coordinating county-wide 9-1-1 activities by leveraging mobile technology and we are excited to be able to serve them as a customer,” said Tony Morris, In Motion Technology’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We believe that El Paso is leading in the new era of police communications and providing their public safety agencies with reliable communications that will improve officer safety and efficiency.”
Sergeant Brad Brewer is a 22-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He sits on the Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle ergonomics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Photos courtesy of In Motion Technology.
Published in Public Safety IT, Jan/Feb 2012
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