PAR Government, an integrator that was involved in the development of ATAK, has created a robust enterprise backend solution called Team Connect that enables public safety agencies to share situational awareness data across their ATAK-enabled devices. Using APIs, Team Connect can tie other data sources into ATAK, including fire service technology like rapid SOS, systems, aircraft sensor data and even CAD systems. This way, first responders can view CAD data on the Team Connect map.
As of 2019, ATAK has an estimated 175,000 military and civilian users across numerous public safety agencies. Johansson wanted CFD to be one of them, so he enlisted the help of Mike Leckliter, a firefighter who manages technology for the department. Leckliter had been making the case for Android for years, citing both cost savings and flexibility as advantages. Together, they convinced the department to switch to Samsung.
CFD is now using approximately 45 Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones and Galaxy Tab S4 tablets. Each truck has two tablets, and each team has one smartphone. They can also screen mirror the tablets and phones to a larger display in the command vehicle.
“We chose Samsung because they’re the premiere Android device maker,” says Johansson. “The Galaxy S series — with their battery life, display quality, RAM and processor speed — provide a remarkably smooth experience and dependable platform to operate from.”
David Tally, director of applied technology for PAR, says the open nature of the Android platform has been critical to the successful evolution of ATAK. “Android makes it much more accessible for developers. It’s an open ecosystem, which is why ATAK has been so effective as a situational awareness platform.”
“We’ve been very heavy Samsung users since ATAK was first developed back in 2011,” says Tally. “The device form-factor and capabilities have evolved so much over the years. Then there’s the support that Samsung provides developers. We’re able to say, ‘These are the concerns of our end users, or here’s what we need to make the most out of our application.’ The Samsung team has always been good to work with, and it’s been a solid platform for us.”