Analytics, Geo-location, & Sensors: The Future of Public Safety Communications

  I spent most of last week at the Internal Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) learning and talking about the future of public safety communications. What is most striking to me is how little talk there was about voice communications. That isn’t to say that voice isn’t absolutely vital. Voice will always be essential but other forms of communications will now be possible and will pick up much of the load. In many instances that reality will reduce the need for voice communications.

As Daniel Burrus pointed out in his keynote presentation at the conference: the telecommunications industry is converging with the computing and information technology industries that are mashing up with other industries. Public safety isn’t alone on its land mobile radio island anymore.

With the rise of broadband and the convergence of these industries, we are beginning to get glimpses of what the future for public safety will hold and what I see a lot of are intelligent systems using sensors, geo-location, and analytics to support the responder in ways we can barely imagine today. Most of this kind of public safety “communications” will happen automatically with very little human intervention.

Today a police officer engaged in a vehicle pursuit closing in on a jurisdictional boundary might use her radio to alert dispatch and dispatch will then alert the neighboring jurisdiction. Tomorrow an intelligent system might analyze the course of a pursuit and automatically trigger alerts in neighboring jurisdictions in a matter of seconds without any human intervention.

The possibilities that these three technologies will create will fundamentally change how public safety operates. What possibilities do you see these technologies creating?