With tactical smartphones, soldiers have secure, fast, reliable communications, plus situational awareness and close air support.
Mobile is a great enabler for first responders. With smart, cloud-based apps, they can now access all the information they need on their smartphones and tablets — be it real-time assignments and updates from dispatch, or access to vital records in the field. Having all this data at their fingertips allows first responders to respond more quickly and be more aware of the situation around them.
Known globally for its Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch (I/CAD) and HxGN OnCall Dispatch solutions, Hexagon’s Safety & Infrastructure division of Madison, Alabama is addressing the mobile needs of first responders with a suite of easy-to-deploy smartphone and tablet apps. These apps include HxGN OnCall Dispatch | Mobile Responder and HxGN OnCall Records | Mobile Field Reporting. Collectively, Mobile Responder and Mobile Field Reporting provide the department’s full informational capabilities to officers in the field.
“Our mobility solutions empower field personnel to make better-informed decisions by enhancing their awareness, their communication, and their coordination between each other and other agencies,” said Waylon Kenning, Hexagon’s mobile product manager. “These apps also help dispatchers and supervisors keep their teams safe while they’re out in the field.”
Hexagon’s Mobile Solutions
Hexagon’s Mobile Responder app is designed to connect first responder mobile devices directly to their department’s HxGN OnCall Dispatch system. A first responder using a mobile device can send and receive incident information and messages with dispatch, query any connected databases for information, search outstanding warrants and have their location visible in OnCall Dispatch. And because Mobile Responder was designed to run on smartphones and tablets, the app can access these devices’ onboard cameras — allowing officers to send imagery back to dispatch in real time.
Hexagon’s Mobile Field Reporting app allows first responders to search departmental records (such as license plate registration), conduct interviews, record incident information and photos, and issue electronic citations directly from their mobile devices. This app’s data collection capability also allows first responders to write up reports faster, freeing up time previously lost to paperwork for more time in the community.
Mobile Apps in Action
Hexagon’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) solutions and mobile applications are being used by first responder agencies today, in cities such as Toronto and Washington, D.C.
In Canada, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) has rolled out Hexagon’s mobile solutions to its patrol cars and smartphone-equipped officers. Using these apps along with its Hexagon dispatch system, the TPS can track and inform its officers in real time.
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In Washington, Kenning said, “we connect dozens of departments including federal government agencies and nearby jurisdictions. The CAD side of the system is configured to accommodate business roles and workflows of each of those different agencies. As an example of fire incidents, our CAD determines the number of engines, ambulances and battalion chief support vehicles needed to respond to that type of incident. And our mobile apps keep everyone connected.”
Taking Mobile Connectivity to the Next Level
When used with an in-vehicle computing solution such as Samsung DeX, Mobile Responder and Mobile Field Reporting can speed up the report-writing process significantly. DeX seamlessly extends the Samsung Galaxy smartphone and the first responder’s mobile apps into a full in-vehicle desktop experience — complete with a large touchscreen, rugged keyboard and touchpad. They can also dock their Galaxy smartphones into a desktop monitor, keyboard and mouse at the station.
Since a single device — the smartphone — is powering computing when in the field, in the patrol car and back at the station, no time is lost transitioning between locations. The result is a force multiplier for officers who are now better informed and more connected than ever before with a full array of situational awareness, records and reporting tools available to them wherever they go. Samsung DeX in a patrol vehicle is also thousands of dollars less expensive to buy and install than a ruggedized laptop and consumes less space in the cabin.
“Samsung’s DeX technology definitely brings a lot of value to first responder agencies,” said Kenning. “They understand the value proposition around kitting a car with a Samsung device and DeX versus a traditional ruggedized laptop. Plus, they see the benefit in offering access to their systems through mobile devices.”
Ready for a Mobile-First World
Smartphones are evolving to become the focal point of business operations across all industries, and solutions such as Samsung DeX partnered with Hexagon’s next-gen apps are making this capability real for first responders today.
“Previously, laptops were the way first responders connected into their systems, but that’s the past,” said Kenning. “Now, it’s a mobile-first world. We all have a mobile phone on us — so it’s not surprising to see more and more first responder agencies deploying smartphones to their officers. I think this is a good thing, and I believe that we will see this deployment become an increasing trend in first responder communications.”
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