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INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY ASSOCIATION
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What to shop for when selecting a new mobile technology solution

15 Jul 2017 7:03 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Group Mobile – an IPSA Supporter

The public safety sector is on the forefront of real-time data use. The value of real-time data is almost immeasurable as having access to true, real-time data can save lives. Given this, the law enforcement workflow of the future is a real-time crime center with reliable and continual communication, instant access to critical records, GPS guidance, e-citations, fingerprint authentication readers, smartcard and magnetic card readers, body-worn cameras, in-vehicle printing, on-scene incident reporting, barcode and RFID readers, LPRs and law enforcement apps and software.

The ideal best practice for every organization is to pilot a technology before procurement, but this is not always feasible and many budgets don’t allow for trial and error testing. 

Talk to other agencies

How do you know what to shop for when selecting a new mobile technology solution? Group Mobile suggests choosing a mobile device that has the right feature set for your needs or will be able to fulfill all of your agency’s operational requirements in a single device. There is no reason to procure a device that falls short of your agency’s needs.

When it comes to mobile technology deployments, Group Mobile knows the road. Many mid-size cities, towns and counties have similar workflows and, therefore, similar mobile device requirements.

Before buying, do your research and talk with other agencies that mirror yours. Set up a call with them or meet with them in person to understand the lessons they’ve learned in their mobile journey. You’ll find that agencies are always willing to help another agency and give you an honest assessment.

What to look for

This portfolio list of options will help you focus your requirements and conduct a SWOT analysis of your own current technology portfolio to make early decisions regarding:

  • Operating system preference: The applications you choose will drive your OS decision. Most public safety agencies choose to run Windows for compatibility and security. Though there are new applications arriving on the Android platform today that may benefit some organizations. Fortunately, fully rugged Android tablets are now available.
  • Mobile data and mobile device security: This may include VPN access, multi-factor authentication, fingerprint readers, Common Access Card (CAC) readers, TPM, Kensington physical locks and other internal and external measures.
  • Data entry tools: Do you need the flexibility of keyboard and touch for data entry? Do you need a digitizer pen (which is much more accurate than a stylus)?
  • Size and weight: Do you prefer a larger 10-12” screen for easy, full-page viewing of documents and apps? Or can you make do with a 5” screen? Can your techs juggle a 5+ pound notebook and patient care in the field? Or do they need a more lightweight 2-4-pound solution?
  • Wired and wireless connectivity: How many I/O ports do you need? Which I/O ports do you need? Will your teams have access to Wi-Fi hotspots all the time, or do they need multiple wireless network and ancillary device connectivity options such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IP, Gobi 3000
  • Rugged requirements: Which MIl-STD-810G and Ingress Protection (IP) rating levels are enough – and how much is too much? It depends on how often your mobile device will be exposed to water, dust, humidity, or corrosive elements, for example, and how prevalent shock or vibration will be in the vehicle. Will the device be used in potentially explosive environments? Make sure it’s also ATEX or C1D2/C1Z2 compliant for Hazardous Locations.

Impediments to true public safety mobility – inappropriate form-factors, fragile devices, heavy notebooks, weak data radios, limited mobile workflow software – are a thing of the past. The decision to go mobile today is just that – a decision to go mobile. Real-time information, streamlined reporting and constant communication make your service to the community faster, better and safer.

Make smart, near-term buys to lay a foundation for a full mobility solution with long-term return on investment. That may be just a handful of rugged tablets to power a new dispatch system. But it gives you time to fine tune your solution, define next best steps, and measure ROI.

Then, as budgets allow, you can expeditiously deploy more tablets and workflows into the field with confidence. Don’t worry if you’re not able to leverage all of a rugged tablet’s bells and whistles in the first 12 months. You will have all the necessary processing power, storage capacity, wireless network compatibility, accessories and expansion modules available to support each incremental step you take toward full workforce mobility over the next three to five years. 

If you aren’t certain whether you need a desktop, laptop, and rugged tablet to excel at the tasks you complete in the office, in-vehicle, and in the field – consider the Xplore XSLATE R12 rugged tablet. This rugged tablet is highly mobile, extremely flexible and very resilient. You’ll have the right connectivity and ergonomics for a quick transition from the field to a full desktop computing experience when back at the office – and a conveniently stored rugged companion keyboard. It's fast to deploy when you want a notebook, and even easier to store when you don't.

Group Mobile’s team of industry experts can assist you in selecting, designing and implementing a multi-network environment for mission-critical fleets, request a free personalized quote.


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