The adoption of new technology in public safety has accelerated in the past several years as agencies make the leap from legacy communications infrastructure to a mobile future. With an eye on 2019, I spoke with several leading public safety experts about the biggest trends they see on the horizon, and how technology can help agencies protect and serve.

“The number one trend right now is leveraging mobile for everything that public safety is doing,” said TJ Kennedy, cofounder and president of the Public Safety Network. With the introduction of mobile-first solutions and LTE networks like FirstNet that facilitate prioritized public safety communications, Kennedy said officers will be able to respond in the field in ways that have never before been possible.

This will change the way emergency response professionals like EMTs and firefighters are able to communicate with the public in all sorts of situations, including natural disasters or even terrorist attacks.

“Within public safety, it has never been so critical for agencies to be interconnected as it is today,” said Scott MacDonald, vice president of strategy and marketing at Central Square Technologies. New mobile communications platforms should enable the seamless sharing of alerts, maps and images between the dispatch center and the officer in the street walking through a local community.

For Duane Kietzman of TylerTech, it all comes down to situational awareness. Mobile solutions such as smartphones and smartwatches will improve situational awareness by allowing officers to stay connected to computer aided dispatch (CAD) and critical alerts when they leave their patrol vehicles.

Despite its recurrence as a predicted trend year after year, Alex Popof, CEO of Visual Labs, believes the next big thing will be the cloud. He expects to see more and more agencies not only embracing the cloud but leveraging it to its full potential with a host of new applications in 2019.

See how smartphones can help improve officer safety and information access.