IoT Blog
IoT Blog

What Public Safety Agencies Should Look for in a Network Management Solution

At the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference – which takes place in Chicago October 26th-29th – attendees will learn about new strategies, techniques, and resources that can help them successfully navigate the evolving policing environment.

With more connected applications in vehicles, in cities and on first responders, the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of those resources.

The IoT: A Secret Weapon for Public Safety

As described in our recent webinar, Bulletproof Public Safety Mobile Networks: How to Improve Network Coverage, adoption of 4G LTE and upcoming 5G networks for mobile communications is increasingly enabling police departments, fire departments, and other public safety agencies to use IoT applications to shorten their response times, improve situational awareness, and even lower vehicle maintenance and other expenses. 

Some examples of these types of IoT applications include:

  • Computer Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) systems that help first responders get to emergencies quicker and command and control personnel to access detailed, real-time information on their team’s location and status.
  • Live vehicle or drone video feeds that enable command and control centers to coordinate faster and more effective responses to flood, automobile collisions, crimes, and other man-made or natural disasters or emergencies.
  • Biometric applications that police officers can use to identify suspects in the field.
  • Patient monitoring applications that paramedics can use to transmit real-time data on their patients’ condition to the ER while they are still in transit.
  • Engine diagnostic applications that fleet managers can use to decrease vehicle downtime while also reducing repair costs.

However, if public safety agencies hope to realize the full potential of these and other IoT applications, they need access to secure, reliable communications networks with sufficient bandwidth for when they need it the most. It’s also critical to be able to securely manage all their vehicles and assets these applications depend on for connectivity. And they need to accomplish all this without breaking the bank.

Device Management: A Crucial Consideration

Many agencies are discovering that good device management software can help them realize these goals by allowing them to remotely monitor, manage, and optimize their IoT devices to ensure first responders safety and efficiency. As public safety agencies create a bulletproof public safety mobile network strategy, then, what should they look for in a device management solution?

Such a solution should provide all the following:

  • Easy Configuration. Properly configured devices are essential for day-to-day operations. Individually configuring and updating devices locally is extremely expensive and time-consuming. Public safety agencies should look for device management software that eliminates the need for them to physically touch devices to configure and maintain them. In addition, device management software should allow public safety agencies to remotely update their fleet of devices at the same time so they can add to or enhance the functionality of their IoT applications.
  • Comprehensive Monitoring & Troubleshooting. Good device management software enables organizations to monitor the health of all their IoT devices and detect any anomalies. The system should also enable them to set up proactive alerts for activities such as spikes in data transmission that might indicate a data breach, allowing them to respond quickly to the activity before it causes any problems. Organizations should also be able to set up alerts for anomalous device behavior, enabling rapid troubleshooting before there’s a service disruption.
  • Informative Reports. Making use of all the data being collected should be table stakes for device management software including on-demand reports of system performance, coverage maps, location management, and telemetry for mobile applications. For example, some solutions can map carrier coverage, showing where availability and throughput is high or low. If such a map reveals a problem, they can switch network providers or leverage multiple networks to ensure maximum network availability in mission-critical situations. 
  • Robust Security. Keeping IoT devices properly updated with the latest firmware and security patches is essential for keeping pace with evolving threats. Public safety agencies should look for device management software that enable them to react to security threats in real-time by remotely deploying new firmware upgrades, security patches, or other updates before an attack reaches them.

Sierra Wireless AirLink Complete: The Ideal Service

Having worked for years with public safety agencies, as well as other organizations using mobile networks for IoT applications, Sierra Wireless has incorporated all these capabilities along with technical support and extended warranty to maximize their customer’s investment and ensure their mission-critical applications operate at peak efficiency with AirLink Complete.

AirLink Complete delivers advanced network and device reporting and analytics, enables secure management of both mobile and fixed public safety assets, and supports remote device configuration and firmware upgrades. In addition, public safety agencies can use the software included with the service to map their local carrier coverage, allowing them to take actions that improve first responder network coverage.

In combination with Sierra Wireless’ high-performance multi-network vehicle routers, public safety agencies have the solution they need to deploy scalable, secure IoT applications that provides them and their teams with the information they need to better serve and protect their communities.  

Listen to our webinar, Bulletproof Public Safety Mobile Networks: How to Improve Network Coverage, to learn more about how reliable broadband networks and properly managed IoT devices can help public safety officials to meet their goals.

Sierra Wireless has more than 20 years of experience helping public safety organizations deploy reliable and cost-effective wireless solutions, and we understand the challenges that first responders face in the field. Just one more reason to Start with Sierra, and start transforming public safety with IoT-enabled solutions today.