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How IoT Can Save Lives in an Emergency Response

Responding to an emergency situation requires the coordination of hundreds — or even thousands — of public safety personnel.

While attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference, I spoke with Mike Helfrich, founder and CEO of Blueforce Development, about how Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based technologies can improve the speed and effectiveness of an emergency response.

“The one thing that the commander truly needs is actionable intelligence,” said Helfrich. By actionable intelligence, Helfrich is referring to information from people on the ground during an emergency, as well as information captured from sensors and cameras located around the scene of the incident. Public safety leaders need a way to share real-time information out across multiple agencies and back from officers to the command center rapidly — which is where mobile solutions are invaluable.

Many public safety agencies still find the notion of IoT daunting, but Helfrich believes it is well within reach today if leaders focus on meaningful information that can improve decision-making. One example is the use of body-worn sensors in conjunction with the first responder’s smartphone. For example, fire departments are currently leveraging multi-gas detectors to create exposure reports and help minimize complex illnesses among first responders. On the police side, agencies are using holster sensors to detect whether or not officers have withdrawn their firearms to inform responses. The ability to examine where crime has increased or decreased over time through data collected from IoT and the cloud is also enabling first responders to better allocate resources.

Blueforce has partnered closely with Samsung on agency deployments of its BlueforceTACTICAL app for Android smartphones. Recently, Blueforce added support for the Samsung DeX in-vehicle solution, which leverages the smartphone to power desktop computing within the squad car.

“For us, building support for Samsung DeX was a no-brainer,” Helfrich said. His customers constantly talk about a desire to use just one device between the field, the squad car and the office. DeX delivers on this need, allowing officers to transfer notes and images collected on the scene to their reports seamlessly — so they can focus less on writing up reports and more on protecting and serving the community.

Learn more about Samsung’s DeX solution, including the cost savings, added convenience and capabilities it brings to public safety agencies.

Natalie Zfat

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Natalie Zfat

Natalie Zfat is a social media entrepreneur and Forbes Contributor who has partnered with some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Rolling Stone, Food Network, American Express and Levi’s. Curating original content and videos, Zfat gains millions of impressions for the brands she advocates for. When she's not engaging with her half a million followers, Zfat loves sharing her entrepreneurial thought leadership at conferences and universities, including Carnegie Mellon, NYU Stern School of Business, The Harvard Club of New York and Internet of Things World. Follow Natalie on Twitter: @NatalieZfat

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