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Increasing Need for Tablet PCs and Broadband in Public Sector

We’ve certainly seen recently the kind of communications and coordination that are crucial in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Public safety is paramount, whether it’s a broad-scale emergency or the more typical day-to-day police, fire or medical services.

There is a growing need to develop a formal, uniform system that can reliably support these services whenever and wherever they’re needed -- not just first responders but day in and day out. It’s equally apparent that to be successful, such a system will require widespread use of mobile devices, preferably a rugged tablet PC.

A rugged tablet PC puts everything needed right in the hands of personnel on the scene, giving them instant remote access to information they need and allowing them to capture and share information in real time with responders or managers at other locations.

See video of a rugged tablet PC being used as a hammer!

Guaranteed availability.

Most public sector and industry experts agree a dedicated broadband spectrum makes the most sense to assure uninterrupted communications availability 24/7. They also agree there should be enough bandwidth to easily accommodate “hungry” technologies such as in-vehicle or in-hand video capture and viewing, GPS, health-monitoring applications and other information and communications essentials.

Networks will have to meet stringent requirements for access, reliability, security and durability. And to assure efficient, effective functionality on the ground, mobile devices will also have to meet the highest performance standards.  

A rugged tablet PC completes the package.

public safety sector rugged tablet pc fire policeA tablet PC has the internal power and capabilities to support wireless voice, text and data transfer. Fully ruggedized, it’s designed and built to withstand even the most unpredictable and inhospitable weather and working conditions. Yet it provides easy-to-use hand-held portability that helps field personnel get the job done rather than distracting them or taking up precious time with non-essential manual tasks.

Tablet PCs also ensure the data flow necessary to facilitate behind-the-scenes  operations management and planning.

Key questions still need to be resolved.

Setting aside a specific allocation of bandwidth for public safety guarantees personnel will always have what they need when they need it, with range and frequency broad enough to handle “typical” needs but also the most catastrophic occurrences requiring large numbers of responders from multiple agencies.

But who will build the networks? Own them? Manage them?

Opinion leans toward public control of governance, with private enterprise partners contracting to build and manage networks. Commercial providers already own and operate networks, so they bring experience and expertise to the table. And this solution would enable public officials to concentrate on their core health and safety responsibilities.

Public-private partnerships have been proven effective for many purposes, but some observers fear private enterprise may have conflicted interests, focused on making money and controlling network access and consumption.

There are unanswered questions, too, regarding how to best establish and manage the collaboration needed to form and support local, regional or nationwide networks serving multiple jurisdictions.  

But everyone recognizes the need to find a solution that’s robust and consistent. Public sector and industry leaders continue to review and analyze potential funding and business models. And there are wide-open opportunities for private enterprise to raise the bar with new innovations aimed at providing more viable, cost-effective solutions.

The bottom line is developing a series of networks that guarantee instant, total access for public safety users who respond to emergencies, oversee critical infrastructure or provide essential transportation. Whatever the ultimate solution, a rugged tablet PC will undoubtedly be a key ingredient in its success.


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