How Cellular Consolidation Improves Police Officer Safety

VPN from Radio IP together with Digi SAFE™ 5G solutions deliver secure, always-on connectivity for police, fire, and other first responders.

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Recorded Webinar

Oct 28, 2022 | Length: 34:24

VPN from Radio IP together with Digi SAFE™ 5G solutions deliver secure, always-on connectivity for police, fire, and other first responders.

For police officers in the field, secure, always-on connectivity is a must. Watch this webinar to learn how the Digi SAFE™ 5G solution helps police, fire, and other first responders quickly access the information they need to gain the critical element of situational awareness. 

Follow-up Webinar Q&A

Thank you again for attending our session on how cellular consolidation improves police officer safety. Here are the questions that followed the presentation and their answers. If you have additional questions, be sure to reach out.

Moderator: Ben Kvale, Digital Marketing Specialist, Digi International

Presenters: Harald Remmert, CTO, Cellular Solutions, Digi International; Rance Quinn, Deputy Chief (Retired), Kansas City Police Department; Marie Ernecq, Director, Research and Development/Quality Assurance, Radio IP

When is the Digi TX40 going to be available?

Harald: Good question. We announced the product and showed it at IACP, and we are projecting availability at the end of Q1, calendar '23. If you're interested and want to be part of our early access program, please reach out to us.

Does this work only on Digi hardware or can I use a different brand of devices?

Marie: Armada is available on all Android and iOS devices. You can put it on a cell phone, new tablet, even on some computers, including Mac computers. So, it can be installed on any kind of devices.

Can this work just on a phone?

Marie: No, you can put it on a tablet also, or on the router, like we're doing with Digi. We're looking into developing more clients to have more coverage and offer the service to more and more people.

Rance: Maybe to add to that, you know, that's an important part that we really haven't talked about. But, as you have this communications hub in the vehicle, your devices can connect to it, obviously. The ones that are wired, that's fixed connection, but the communications hub also creates a Wi-Fi bubble and a Bluetooth bubble around the vehicle, right?

So, as an officer, as you step out of the vehicle and bring your phone, maybe a tablet with you, you kind of extend that bubble. And if you're leaving that bubble because you're too far away from the vehicle, then this is really where mobile VPN by Radio IP comes in. So, then you have really a seamless transition. You don't have to log in, if you're stepping away from the vehicle too far. So, you have that seamless connectivity that with today's systems, you may not have.

What are some of the issues relating to connectivity?

Harald: The connectivity goes over cellular networks, right? And while over the last five years, the cellular networks have really significantly improved, you still have areas where you don't have great connectivity or even in an area where you have no connectivity. So, it's putting your best foot forward with the latest technology. You see this on phones very well, right? So with every new Android phone or iPhone that comes out, you get better connectivity and you get faster speeds.

The technology is advancing very quickly there. So, having that latest technology in your vehicle and at your service is good. Also, when you look at how the equipment is connected – if you have the equipment connected and just in the car with a hotspot or Wi-Fi, so that's not ideal.

So, having good antennas that are going outside of the vehicle that are on the roof, and have a quality antenna, that's equally important because it really helps, in technical terms, by having its link budget, so that the tower can hear you and you can hear the tower very well. And, again, putting the best foot forward there.

We see a lot of customers, sometimes in industrial applications, that put an antenna in a metal enclosure. And that's horrible. Or they buy cheap antennas and they wonder why they have poor connectivity. And so, really, that's the key point to have the latest technology, and a solid antenna. And then, picking either one or, potentially multiple first responder networks so that if you don't have connectivity on one, or a poor connectivity on one, you can fail over to the other one.

And in the example that I gave at the beginning is where you have six to eight SIMs on maybe one of the carriers. What if you could have two SIMs or maybe three SIMs connected with the officer's phone, and in the communications hub have one on AT&T FirstNet, and then one on Verizon Frontline, for example. Then you really have the best of both worlds and have the router manage or the communications hub manage when to pick the best network, and really provide that extra level of connectivity. Long-winded answer to the question. What do others think?

Marie: I don't know what I can add to that. You said it all.

Rance: So, this is Rance, and I’d like to add to what you just said, which is that in a law enforcement world, connectivity is huge. Meaning that, let's say, we had a standoff or something like that and we're deploying personnel to particular locations, being able to see that in real-time where we have personnel deployed versus loss of connectivity deployed. We can't tell where our vehicles are at on a regular basis, so that is huge.

Being able to see many of the new RMS systems and the new cameras systems allows command to see almost real-time video footage from in-car and body-worn cameras, being able to see that real-time as things unfold allows the command to make decisions as well that before, we weren't able to do. And so, having a strong connectivity throughout the entire process is paramount.

Harald: And that's a good point, Rance, on video. So, with a video stream and a camera, in the industrial world, we say you can interface one thousand sensors. And I mean, there's so much information that can be gathered through a video and having it faster and with a better connection allows high-resolution video that lets you have more video streams from different angles. If you have multiple police cars responding to a scene, you can have those different angles.

So, definitely, that goes back to the situational awareness so that Dispatch can have and brief other officers entering the scene, as well as between the officers. So, seeing that directly, as they're approaching, or as they might be in a location where they don't have a good view and a good angle, they can see what's going on and get that additional edge that could save lives and keep officers and the community safe.

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