Politics Get Connected


If you’ve turned on the news at all during the past few days, you’ve heard about the 2012 Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte, N.C. You’ve likely heard about the speeches—what has been said or left unsaid—and the ensuing political debates regarding policy and ideology. What you may not have heard, however, is how connected technology is helping to run this major political event, and how important a behind-the-scenes M2M (machine-to-machine) deployment can be to this type of operation.

Tonight, as President Barack Obama takes the stage as the end-cap for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, he will be surrounded by convention staff, security personnel, and safety-operations support staff. Long before the President takes the stage, the security of the wired and wireless networks enabling the event’s two main venues, the Time Warner Cable Arena and the Bank of America Stadium, were evaluated, in this case by Motorola Solutions’, www.motorolasolutions.com, Security Services.

Why make network security such a high priority? Because government agencies recognize the importance of having highly connected teams on the ground during a national event. As with other mission-critical jobs, the ability to access data and communicate in realtime is crucial.

Earlier this week, the DNCC (Democratic National Convention Committee) named Motorola Solutions the “official mission-critical communications provider” of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which began Tuesday and wraps up tonight. The company served in the same role for last week’s 2012 Republican National Convention, and in fact, it has met the communications needs for the two major parties and their conventions since 1952.

In fact, back in 1952 when both conventions were held at the Intl. Amphitheatre in downtown Chicago, Motorola's “Handie-Talkie” Radiophone was used by many organizations, including Chicago first responders, to keep the lines of communications open.

Fast forward to 2012, Motorola Solutions is providing the latest specialized radios that will help connect security and support staff on hand during the event. The city of Charlotte will have the company’s APX series two-way portable radios at their disposal. The devices provide multiband functionality on the ASTRO 25 radio system.

The ASTRO 25 radio system is a dedicated communication system with the ability to allocate channels between voice and data as needed. Therefore, Motorola Solutions says ASTRO 25 supports more users, more calls, and more information on the same spectrum. Ultimately, the technology ensures mission-critical communications will not have to compete with consumers or other data traffic. In an emergency, this could mean faster response times from first responders.

“Being able to communicate instantly and seamlessly is essential to help keep cities safe, including major events such as political conventions,” Karen Tandy, senior vice president of Public Affairs at Motorola Solutions told Connected World. “Mission-critical communications … allow realtime information to be shared with the people who need it most, helping to ensure the convention runs smoothly and safely for the thousands of delegates and other attendees moving among the convention center, hotels, and event venues.”

Beyond the radios and communication network, the convention’s transportation system will be equipped with GPS-enabled radios from Motorola Solutions that allow vehicle tracking and route mapping. Armed with this realtime location and navigation data, drivers will be better equipped to handle the event traffic around the two venues and the greater Charlotte area. “… GPS-enabled radios are a key component for the convention’s transportation system,” says Tandy, “giving drivers instant navigation and location information, and allowing the command center to always know where each vehicle is located for efficient dispatching.”
The national conventions are a good warm up for the U.S. presidential election coming this November. M2M is not only changing the way political events are run, it is enabling the devices politicians and their voter base are using on a daily basis to work, play, and stay up to date on the latest political news.

Considering the growth of connected devices since the 2008 election cycle, we could be in for the most connected presidential election to date. Already, the vice-presidential nominee for the Republican ticket was announced via a mobile app, formerly called Mitt’s VP App. The location-based app for iPhone and Android is now called Romney-Ryan Campaign App, which helps users find campaign events nearby. In reality, this type of solution represents a scratch on the surface when it comes to the impact connected devices will have on how people participate in and consume politics in the future.

Connected World Issue
June/July 2014
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