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What next for public safety communications?

Published: 
28 March, 2008

Manuel Torres, vice president and general manager, Motorola Government & Public Safety, EMEA, highlights the potential of wireless broadband devices and infrastructure as seen with the Dorset Police, who used the technology at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth.

Wireless broadband systems provide cost-effective high bandwidth infrastructure to build network coverage. Motorola is acknowledged to market the most comprehensive collection of wireless broadband technologies under its MOTOwi4™ brand (that includes WiMAX, Wi-Fi, fixed broadband, mesh and broad band over powerline systems). Its experience in TETRA and wireless systems places Motorola in the ideal position to advise on the impact wireless can have in delivering field services.

Motorola’s mesh technology uses compact wireless nodes (positioned on street furniture) to network broadband coverage. Deployed across the world, the technology is delivering proven operational and commercial benefits: it’s fast and easy to install; it’s reliable (reducing maintenance); it’s convenient (existing street furniture can be used so planning approval is faster isn’t needed to site equipment), and the network is private requiring no subscription fees. Mesh is particularly applied by Motorola to swiftly build video surveillance systems to support key operations.

Wireless broadband coverage also enables public safety officers to access high-speed connections to local area networks, corporate intranets or managed access to the internet. This can be done through multimode devices such as the Motorola’s TETRA PDA with Wi-Fi compatibility.

Wireless technology is already here and being deployed for enhanced critical communication around the UK. A key example of how the technology is being used is by the Dorset Police, who are responsible for public safety and security within the city of Bournemouth and surrounding areas. As well as the day-to-day aspects of policing, it is responsible for the organization and protection aspects of major events such as the annual Labour Party Conference recently held in the area.

The Labour Party Conference requires comprehensive security measures including video surveillance. Although the conference area is mostly covered by the existing fixed CCTV network there are “black spots” in the coverage. Consequently the Dorset Police joined forces with Motorola in an NPIA sponsored trial to deploy a wireless broadband network using a combination of fixed and mobile solutions from its Wi4™ portfolio that blanketed the conference venue and its surrounds with wireless camera coverage.

Also, surveillance officers equipped with video cameras could transmit “roving” footage back to the control room that was hooked-up to a fixed broadband connection using wireless mesh technology. With a complete view of the event, dispatchers could keep an eye out for trouble spots and known suspects, directing officers towards incidents – and briefing them – over the TETRA network. Reflecting the speed of deployment wireless broadband offers, the entire solution was implemented in just 11 days.

Following the success of the trials provided at the Labour Party Conference, Dorset Police have subsequently used a similar wireless system to provide added security for the Bournemouth/Leeds football match. The same physical equipment was used for both events but re-deployed in a completely new location, showing the cost savings wireless broadband can offer through rapid redeployment. In an extension of the original trial, the system was also integrated with the Airwave TETRA network to allow images captured from the wireless CCTV system to be accessed by officers. At the match, patrol teams could access images using their Motorola MTH800 TETRA terminals equipped with WAP to identify possible trouble-spots, pre-empting and defusing potential incidents.

The wireless CCTV network combined with secure voice and data communications conducted across Airwave’s TETRA infrastructure provided the intelligence-led information to ensure the successful policing of a busy, challenging environment.

Mike Rogers, Superintendent, Dorset Police, comments: “As the Silver Commander for the AFC Bournemouth v Leeds United game, I found the additional equipment provided during the event to be extremely useful to those frontline operational resources who had a direct interface with members of the public. The footage images were of good quality and provided commanders with information and clearly assisted in some decision making processes.”

Both projects have been delivered in conjunction with the National Police Improvement Agency, which examines how technology can be used to improve how police carry out their duties. These are just a few of the examples of how wireless technology is transforming critical communication and taking TETRA to the next level of security. Motorola has 6,500 professionals across the world dedicated to public safety communications systems. It has a full range of solutions (spanning network, devices, applications, and services) to deliver second nature technology to organizations of every size and whatever their requirement, whether it’s optimizing voice services, introducing advanced data applications, or integrating wireless broadband networks with TETRA systems.





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