Whatever industry or sector they are involved in, these
are the people who operate the core systems that hold
our civilization together. Whether they are involved in law
and order, emergency services, or critical infrastructure,
common features of all these teams are:
• they are very mobile and go wherever the problem is,
• they need a lot of communication tools to do a complex
• they’re out there when things are going wrong - often
Trust me, they know how important it is that the rest of us
are safe, well, reconnected, powered-up and running ASAP.
But what they really need is more understanding from those
of us who are tasked with planning, designing, developing,
installing, integrating, restoring and maintaining their
“WE DON'T NEED
These guys and gals are surrounded by technology. They
can hardly move in their vehicles for all the gadgets, so the
answer to their prayers is unlikely to be another gadget.
But they do need something to plug those gadgets into, to
feed them power and data, to make those gadgets play nice
together and with the back office.
Wouldn’t it be nice if one of their existing gadgets could do
that for them?
“PLEASE, NO MORE
Mostly, they work for large organizations and agencies that
have very large, very sophisticated back office systems
and business processes – often highly regulated and
standardized, and always eye-wateringly costly.
So they already have applications for storing and retrieving
data records, for GIS and location information, for work
flows and planning systems, for projects and billing, for
SAPs and tracking, and a hundred other things. They need
to interact with any or all of those applications, in real time,
securely and reliably, even when they run out of coverage.
Even when power or communications infrastructure is down.
Because those back office systems are multimegabuck
monsters, you can’t expect the back office to change to
work with whatever you want to put in their vehicle. That
tail isn’t going to wag that dog. You need to come up with
stuff that plays nice with what the back office already has.
“WE DON'T CARE ABOUT
LMR, GSM, LTE, OR
These people are doing a hard enough job – and we
don’t want them spending time trying to access critical
information, or navigating through highly complex
communications technology on top of everything else. They
just need stuff that works with whatever bearer, network,
channel or data pipe is available, cheapest and best. And
when nothing is available? It needs to keep on working from
mirrored data, saving new data and information. When a
bearer becomes available again, it must quietly sync the
data without any fanfare. Is that too much to ask?
WHAT CAN WE DO TO
HELP THESE MOBILE “MAKE
IT ALL BETTER” HEROES?
It’s actually not all that difficult, once we understand it isn’t
about new applications or new hardware gadgetry. All we
need is the ability and will to integrate the reliable, robust
communications technology that already exists in each and
every vehicle, with their back office systems.
Here’s what we need to provide:
• multi bearer voice and data pipes,
• a rich set of data interfaces; USB, Ethernet, WiFi,
Bluetooth, CAN, audio, video ... ,
• a router with a PTT switch (This is the integration Black
Box of Choice that resolves issues like “What will we
plug the other gadgets into? Where will they get power
and data? What will make them play nice together?),
• large storage capacity in every vehicle to mirror,
distribute and synchronize databases, because the
work doesn’t stop when the coverage runs out,
• large storage capacity to store audio and video logs.
Oh, and they would like all this to be robust, heat proof
(and/or cold proof), vibration proof, secure and inside
something that’s already in the vehicle when the crisis hits!
THE EVERYDAY HERO’S LAMENT