How Unifying Critical Communications Can Help Emergency Responders

With increasing pressure on emergency response agencies to deliver in times of crisis, choosing the best communications system possible is crucial. Offering numerous benefits to both the public and first responders, a unified critical communications investment is the solution.

by Tait Communications / October 19, 2017
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And systems are getting better every day, as there continue to be great advances in critical communications. Mobile applications can now share information, video and text between field responders and the back office, often simultaneously sharing with multiple operatives. And a new generation of users (and greater ICT influence) demand a choice of devices to gain immediate access to this information. While quality PMR voice communications remain vital, they no longer meet every communication need.

To meet all these needs and deliver the maximum benefit and value of each technology with the least number of disadvantages, first response agencies need to consider genuine unified critical communications - integrating several technologies to coexist seamlessly and connect individual devices across PMR, LTE and WiFi.

The case for unifying your critical communications

To meet complex communications requirements, employing multiple bearer networks becomes the reality. Unified critical communications create a network of networks, so that no matter where you are, and what conditions you’re working under, the system will choose the best bearer.

This ensures that no matter which device is used, the message — voice, text, video, images, applications, or any combination — will be transferred efficiently, securely, reliably, seamlessly and in real time. For first responders dealing with so many unknowns, having a dependable communications system is vital.

How can unified critical communications support emergency response now?

ROAMING ACROSS NETWORKS

Officers and first responders often carry both a smartphone and a portable radio. Smartphones are great for their broadband data capabilities, but the public networks they depend on may be unreliable in rural areas, and are often overcrowded during emergencies. Private radio networks have great wide-area coverage, security, and resilience but may struggle in densely built up areas – particularly in buildings with energy-efficient glass and thick concrete walls.

Solutions like UnifyVoice connect users to radio, cellular, and WiFi networks on a single device. The intelligent software automatically detects the best available bearer networks, even changing networks during a call if the original network ceases to work. The constant, reliable voice communications allow rescue and recovery efforts to continue unhindered by the worry of losing contact.

CONNECTIVITY, COMPUTING POWER, AND APPLICATION ON THE MOVE

Few things are more frustrating than not being able to communicate when you need to, and in emergency situations it’s absolutely critical. As technology convergence increases complexity and puts added demands on your communication system, solutions like UnifyVehicle create a local network of networks, including PMR, WiFi, wireless broadband, Bluetooth (and more), using your vehicle’s mobile radio as a base.

Field responders can communicate when they need to, using their preferred device and the best available bearer, from a local network providing connectivity wherever they go. This is especially useful because emergencies often happen with no warning and little preparation time, in a wide variety of terrains and areas. UnifyVehicle ensures first responders’ communications are always ready to go.

4 WAYS UNIFIED CRITICAL COMMUNICATIONS CAN BENEFIT EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Increased awareness

Users are no longer restricted to communicating via status messages or voice. Unified voice and data across multiple networks means a wide range of situational information - voice, text, video, images or any other data - can be shared with the right people by the fastest and most reliable method. This gives first responders access to enhanced data before arriving on scene, ensuring they’re fully prepared.

Enhanced operability

With a choice of bearer always available, first responders can communicate dynamically with other emergency response agencies across any network they have in common. This enables dependable coordination of rescue and recovery efforts.

Improved coverage

No single technology can provide communication across the diverse terrain, variable demand and proliferating data that your organization needs. Designed to exact requirements, a unified critical communications system minimizes coverage “black spots”, giving first responders the wide coverage area they need to stay in contact.

Increased safety

First responders who understand and trust their communication networks feel safer, and more confident. They know that should an accident, injury or emergency occur, they are not alone. User safety features, location data and alerts can operate across different networks and provide real time visibility, so dispatch knows instantly when and where help is needed.

While this is a good introduction to unified critical communications, it is just the beginning. A Tait unified critical communications network is not a static solution that you implement and leave. In addition to all of the benefits offered by your investment today, your solution can develop and advance as upgrades, new features and applications create new and exciting opportunities for the future.

This article is an abstract from the free Tait Unified Critical Communications Buyer’s Guide. Click here to download the full guide.