In the late 2000s, the already-ubiquitous mobile phone gained further connectivity and greater
processing power for applications, as the world met the
smart phone. The impact of this was immense, as this
already well-established device became indispensable
in our personal and professional lives.
Many of the devices we use every day feature wireless
connectivity and a library of software applications, so it
was inevitable that smart devices would eventually find
their way into the vehicles we drive.
Now, features like GPS are commonplace, and it’s not
unusual for car stereos to connect with your smart
device. Some automobile manufacturers are offering
in-dashboard voice calling, and the self-driving car is
emerging from science fiction into reality.
Can a mobile
radio be smart?
Now, we’re seeing an already well-established device
– in this case the mobile radio - get smarter and
become even more indispensable to our professional
lives, as a recently-introduced solution brings together
connectivity and applications. What a smart phone
brings to your pocket, the smart mobile radio can
now bring to your vehicle fleet, only with much
An early example of the smart mobile is UnifyVehicle,
which brings Bluetooth, WiFi and Cellular together in
your mobile radio with a powerful processor and an
open application. This creates a vehicle area network
or mobile WiFi hot spot, connected to the wider world
through the best available network bearer. It also
provides a platform to run smart applications that can
dramatically improve workforce safety and productivity.
Smart mobiles aren’t hindered by the technical
limitations that portable devices suffer. They can take
advantage of the vehicles’ much-greater battery capacity,
and larger antennas. So with UnifyVehicle, a mobile
radio becomes more than just a communications device;
it is a connectivity platform for other nearby devices
- effectively a mobile WiFi connection which goes
wherever you go.
This is interesting in terms of the technology, but some
of the scenarios it creates are truly game-changing. Let’s
take a look at the working day for a Police officer, to see
what these smart mobiles can contribute.
OTAP over WiFi
The local Police Department has installed UnifyVehicle
in their fleet, with specialized applications designed to
support and assist officers. The vehicle begins its day
at the precinct, where a technician uses WiFi to update
the mobile radio to the latest software version, to ensure
it operates optimally. In the past, this process would
require a technician to enter the vehicle and connect
to the radio manually, a slow and awkward task which
takes the vehicle – and the officer – off the road. WiFi
connectivity makes it fast and painless.