Convergence of technologies: NG911, internet of things and cloud-based data

Although smartphones are clearly introducing new operational capabilities, there are other relevant technologies emerging that will further this trend


This feature is part of our PoliceOne Digital Edition, a supplement to PoliceOne.com that brings a sharpened focus to some of the most challenging topics facing police chiefs and police officers everywhere. To read all of the articles included in this issue, click here.

By Dale Stockton

Next Generation 911

Across the country, states are gearing up to roll out Next Generation 911, commonly referred to as NG911. The expectation is that 911 callers will be able to provide data ranging from a single photo of a missing child to a live-streamed video of an evolving hostage situation. This will provide a rich data source for decision-makers, and agencies will need a capable network like FirstNet to ensure reliable delivery of large files to first responders, thus providing information to the edge where more informed decisions can be made in critical situations.

(Photo/FirstNet)
(Photo/FirstNet)

Internet of Things (IoT)

Another area that will directly affect law enforcement is the rapidly evolving Internet of Things, which has huge potential to improve real-time response and dramatically increase situational awareness.

The concept of IoT refers to the vast network of devices that contain electronics and sensors that can be connected to the Internet thus allowing almost instant data sharing or alerting. Perhaps the greatest potential benefit to public safety is a virtually limitless ability to monitor and report any situation that exceeds a user-configured threshold or demonstrates an unacceptable anomaly (e.g., a wrong way vehicle entering a highway or persons entering a sensitive structure after hours). Strategically located sensors and intelligence-driven video can provide real-time notification with a reliability and effectiveness that is much greater than traditional alarm systems, partly because user configuration can reduce information overload.

IoT will also impact vehicle operations allowing cars to communicate with traffic control devices and other vehicles. As smart cities evolve, emergency vehicles will automatically coordinate with traffic signals to ensure a rapid response without relying solely on Code 3 operations that can put personnel and citizens at risk.

The above examples of IoT benefits demonstrate the need for real-time delivery of information and that can only be accomplished with a network that provides priority and, when necessary, preemption.

Cloud-based data

Computer-aided dispatch and records management systems have long been the foundation of public safety operations and documentation. Many CAD vendors are now offering a mobile client for their products. This is important because CAD-capable smartphones provide geo-location services at a personnel level, improving resource management and overall situational awareness.

CAD and RMS vendors are also offering cloud-based products to provide ready access to a greater depth and breadth of information (e.g. diagrams and pictures of school facilities). This approach provides greater flexibility and cost savings over premise-based solutions because the maintenance and update process becomes the vendor’s responsibility.

With cloud-based CAD and RMS, mission-essential information that is data-intensive, such as video, photos and detailed diagrams, can be stored in the cloud and then easily accessed by field personnel. Cloud-based CAD and RMS also tend to be mobile-friendly, allowing officers with smartphones to have full access to critical data, thereby supporting their operations when they’re away from traditional computing devices. Once again, this type of mission-essential operation depends on a reliable and prioritized public safety broadband network to ensure effective exchange of information.


About the author
Dale Stockton is a 32-year-veteran of law enforcement, having worked in all areas of police operations and investigations and retiring as a police captain from Carlsbad, California. He is a graduate of the 201st FBI National Academy and holds a master’s degree in Criminology from the University of California, Irvine. He has served as a Commissioner for California POST, the agency responsible for all California policing standards and training. Dale is the founder of Below 100.

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