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First responder communications have to be fast, reliable and accurate. Communications are a matter of life and death — both for the responding personnel who need to stay in constant contact with dispatch and each other, as well as for the public they are protecting. So, choosing the most fully featured communications platform is a mission-critical priority for law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services.
Building upon LMR
For decades, the burden of first responder communications has been carried by land mobile radio (LMR). LMR was cutting-edge in the 1930s, but it’s engineered to be voice-first and cannot match the wealth of streaming video, interactive maps and other real-time data carried by modern 4G LTE smartphones.
Despite the Project 25 initiative, interoperability remains a challenge between different agencies’ LMR systems. LMR is also dependent on dedicated networks for coverage, which limits range and operating area. Cellular networks, on the other hand, provide nationwide coverage and support communications across jurisdictional boundaries.
That said, LMR has enjoyed two distinct advantages over smartphones: push-to-talk (PTT) capabilities and the build strength to handle the rigor of first responder work, a mix of extreme weather and rough handling that would knock many consumer smartphones out of commission. Most consumer smartphones also lack essential first responder accessories such as earpieces, microphones and belt clips.
Your Roadmap to Mission Critical Push-to-Talk
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Samsung has stepped into this breach with a rugged new smartphone that’s purpose built for first responders: the Galaxy XCover FieldPro. This new device combines LMR ruggedness and PTT functionality with the performance, user-friendliness and reach of 4G LTE smartphones. Available through AT&T, the Galaxy XCover FieldPro is FirstNet Ready™, which means users who subscribe to FirstNet service can access public safety’s Band 14 spectrum, as well as commercial mobile networks. It’s optimized for use with the new FirstNet Push-to-Talk service and comes bundled with an earpiece, second battery, charging dock and belt clip.
Tough enough for first responders
Unlike consumer smartphones, the XCover FieldPro was built to be military-grade. It has been tested against the Department of Defense’s MIL-STD-810G standards for durability, including being dropped 26 times from a height of 5-ft. and withstanding temperatures from −40 to 176 F.
The Galaxy XCover FieldPro also meets the IP68 standard for dust and water resistance. To become IP68-certified, the XCover FieldPro survived being submerged in 5-ft. of water for 30 minutes at a time.
Optimized for push-to-talk
Because first responders need seamless communications, the Galaxy XCover FieldPro is designed for fast, easy push-to-talk. The smartphone features physical buttons for PTT and emergency requests (“Officer Down”). These buttons’ connection paths can be configured and reconfigured as needed. They can also be keyed when the user is wearing gloves.
FirstNet subscribers using the XCover FieldPro will be able to take advantage of the smartphone’s push-to-talk capabilities through the new FirstNet PTT service. Users of FirstNet PTT, which is powered by 3GPP Mission Critical technology, receive the highest priority on the FirstNet network, with PTT servers located across the country ensuring lower latency voice communications.
FirstNet PTT delivers essential communications capabilities to first responders and other extended users, including one-to-one and group calls and messaging, presence (visibility into who is online), supervisory override, the ability to declare an emergency and preempt other PTT calls, as well as mutual aid requests to other agencies on the service.
Fully featured smartphone
Because it’s made by Samsung — a leader in first responder smartphone technology — the Galaxy XCover FieldPro has all the expected features of a modern 4G LTE Android smartphone, including a high-resolution 5.1-in. touchscreen, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot for expanded storage, dual cameras (12MP outward-facing, 8MP “selfie”) and a fingerprint sensor for fast user identification.
The Galaxy XCover FieldPro features quick-connect pogo charging pins, a drop-in desk charger and spare battery — especially useful if devices are shared across shifts. Users can quickly remove the back cover and swap in a fresh battery when needed.
Other first responder essentials in the box include a ear-tube headset for PTT and a sturdy belt clip.
The device is protected by the built-in Samsung Knox mobile security platform, which provides the defense-grade protection that first responders need for sensitive public safety information.
Right for the job
Purpose-built in collaboration with public safety, Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro delivers PTT communications where they’re needed most, enhances situational awareness, supports mobile computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and creates instantaneous collaboration through sharing of photos, videos and rich data such as maps and floor plans — all in a military-grade package proven tough enough for first responders.
Download this detailed roadmap to implementing Mission Critical Push-to-Talk, authored by the Public Safety Network.