Keeping It Safe with LTE
Not everyone has bought into the benefits of LTE (long-term evolution) wireless technology just yet, but it’s easy to see how first responders such as police, fire, and EMS could truly benefit from mobile broadband solutions. For the public safety sector, having fast, easy access to realtime information could literally mean the difference between life and death.
Of course, the benefits of public safety LTE go beyond emergencies. From sharing video transmissions with the command center to accessing mug shots of potential suspects and supporting license plate recognition systems, the possible applications for public safety broadband networks are almost endless.
Even the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) sees the potential of LTE in the public safety arena. In fact, in January 2011, the FCC mandated that LTE technology be used for any U.S. nationwide public safety network.
It should come as no surprise, then, that public safety agencies have been busy upgrading their communications networks. Just this week, Motorola Solutions, www.motorolasolutions.com, was awarded a $4 million contract to double the size of the Harris County, Texas, Public Safety LTE wide-area broadband network.
Under the agreement, seven LTE sites will be added to Harris County’s network, bringing it to a total 13 LTE sites delivering enhanced video and data capabilities along with expanded interoperability with the existing LMR (land mobile radio) system. Eventually, more than 170 public safety agencies and more than 65,000 users in 13 counties will be able to tie into the Harris County LTE system.
The broadband system, which will comply with standards adopted for the national broadband plan, will provide increased communications initially for the Port region and eventually throughout the Houston-Galveston Area Council Region. As part of the upgrade, Harris County first responders will be able to better handle threats at the ports and on the street with new public safety LTE devices connected to a multimedia command center on an always-on public safety LTE broadband network.
Along with adding seven LTE sites, the Harris County broadband network will be expanded to include realtime video intelligence software, which enables live fixed or mobile video to be delivered to and from the field. This will allow Harris County agencies to stream video between headquarters, vehicles, and handheld devices on the street.
Other new network features include Broadband PTT (Push-To-Talk) software and servers to allow for increased PTT capabilities between LTE and Project 25 networks, as well as new Motorola modems, workstations, and in-car digital video systems to record audio and video evidence from multiple cameras and microphones to a solid-state drive. The county plans to add Motorola’s LEX 700 Mission Critical Handheld to the system when the LTE device begins shipping later this year.
While many industries continue to weight the cost benefits of LTE solutions, when it comes to public safety and other mission-critical applications, it only makes sense to implement the most advanced communication systems and M2M devices. If LTE technology is the vehicle to make that all happen, then really, this one’s a no brainer.