To work in a fire rig, a law enforcement patrol vehicle or an ambulance these days is to be connected to vast and various systems and databases — including computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management software (RMS), mapping systems, social media and much more. The great challenge for public safety technology is to deliver accurate, actionable information to first responders as conveniently and intuitively as possible. And there are still the physical challenges of the job, such as inclement weather, vibrations and inevitable drops. First responders need simple, reliable tools that are tough enough for the field.

That’s exactly what Samsung’s Galaxy XCover Pro was designed to provide.

As a full-featured rugged smartphone, the XCover Pro combines a familiar Android user experience with push-to-talk (PTT) capabilities and hardware that’s built to withstand the unique rigors of public safety. By supporting a rich app ecosystem, the XCover Pro connects several traditionally disparate systems into a single mobile portal. It’s also FirstNet-certified, providing critical information and support for first responders at unbeatable speed, anywhere duty calls.

Here are seven ways the XCover Pro supports first responders on the front line:

1. It’s rugged — and military-grade

The XCover Pro’s biggest differentiator from typical consumer smartphones is that it comes rugged right out of the box. With a Gorilla Glass 5 display, the smartphone has passed 22 rigorous MIL-STD-810 tests, including repeated drops from 5 feet up and hours of continuous vibration. The device has also earned an IP68 rating for dirt, dust and water resistance, including being submerged in 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes without issue. While soaking the phone isn’t advised, this protection ensures that water and dust in the field won’t slow down first responders. The device has also proven operational in temperatures up to 160 F, as low as −4 F and at atmospheric pressure equivalent to 15,000 feet of elevation.

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The XCover Pro isn’t a consumer smartphone retrofitted in a tactical case or superficially ruggedized to support a wider range of industries. The device is purpose-built for frontline work. Its touchscreen even works when wet and when the user is wearing light gloves.

2. It supports mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT)

Public safety agencies need the capability to communicate quickly and directly, and they have long relied on land mobile radios (LMRs) for mission-critical communications. The XCover Pro provides similar functionality with mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) over Verizon and FirstNet’s broadband networks and integrates with standard PTT apps over other networks.* A large physical key on the left side of the device can be used to initiate PTT communications in one press, just like a two-way radio. Even with gloved hands and in the rain, first responders can connect with their team at the push of a button. This feature supplements LMR during critical incidents, delivering improved sound quality and communication features unavailable over radio networks.

*Mission-critical PTT requires subscription to compatible PTT service.

3. It powers through the longest shifts

The XCover Pro’s 4,050mAh battery delivers enough power to cover long shifts, with up to 14 hours of service on a full charge. But first responder work being as intense as it is, contingencies abound. To compensate, the XCover Pro features heavy-duty pogo pin connectors for easy group charging in the field. Or you can drop the phone into the dock or multi-device charger to quickly top up the battery.

You can also swap the battery in the field. When you can’t access a charger, the XCover Pro’s easily swappable battery offers remote field workers the reassurance of a fail-safe.

4. It offers cloud access from anywhere

The XCover Pro allows first responders to access robust mission-critical information and apps, wherever the job takes them. In addition to PTT, the device integrates with a diverse range of cloud-based partner apps, including CAD, RMS, camera feeds and mapping software. Features that used to be relegated to the station desk or service vehicles are now accessible from just about anywhere via dedicated Band 14 spectrum, offered through service providers like AT&T and Verizon.

With all their mission-critical tools consolidated into a single platform, agencies can better manage their assets and IT infrastructure. This comprehensive approach allows first responders to work more efficiently — and on the user-friendly smartphone experience that younger workers have come to expect. And its intuitive, ergonomic design promotes user adoption, with a lower learning curve than traditional technologies.

5. It improves situational awareness

In the hands of first responders, rugged smartphones like the XCover Pro dramatically improve on-the-go situational awareness, resulting in better real-world outcomes for the communities they serve.

Paired with apps like the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK), an XCover Pro can deliver layered, detail-rich information about a location’s infrastructure in the heat of the moment. Developed by NASA and the Air Force Research Lab, ATAK has been made available to first responders and local government by the Department of Homeland Security. The app delivers critical incident information such as team locations, unmanned aerial vehicle feeds, fire status and resource allocation — all to the team’s smartphones. Even in remote areas where broadband is unavailable, ATAK provides downloaded information and maps, and allows operators to communicate with each other over LMR.

https://www.samsung.com/us/business/short-form/a-public-safety-agency-roadmap-for-successful-mission-critical-push-to-talk-implementation/?cid=com-btb-sky-blg-us-other-na-100219-112001-na-na-na&CampaignCode=blog-rd-wp

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Blueforce Development offers another situational awareness solution available on the XCover Pro. Incorporating wearable biosensors, Bluetooth beacons and body-worn cameras, these solutions send live data directly to first responders’ smartphones. These tools have been used by tactical teams, correctional officers and other public safety workers to provide real-time information and services in mission-critical environments where GPS isn’t available.

6. It captures evidence in high-res

Need to document and share high-resolution images in the field? The XCover Pro has you covered with a 25MP main camera and an 8MP depth camera, which allow you to capture crisp images and video even in rough field conditions. The device also features a 13MP front-facing camera. An LED Torch Light improves low-light image quality, so first responders can capture and share evidence photos and videos anywhere they take their smartphone. The 6.3-inch edge-to-edge display delivers crystal-clear resolution, and the phone can be configured as a body-worn camera or set up to deliver live video feeds during a critical incident.

7. It’s secured by Samsung Knox

The XCover Pro is purpose-built for more than just rugged conditions; it’s also built for the robust data security that law enforcement needs to comply with Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) standards for data protection.

Samsung’s Knox defense-grade security platform is built into the XCover Pro from the chip up. Knox protects the XCover Pro’s data whether the device is on or off, and it can even detect potential data breaches at the hardware level, instantly thwarting attempted cyberattacks. Knox security also encrypts data in transit, helping prevent unauthorized access to data stored in the cloud — which is great news for information technology managers who oversee a large fleet of mobile devices. It also benefits frontline responders, who can rest assured that their personal information, and the systems that use it, will never be compromised.

The XCover Pro supports biometric authentication in the form of fingerprint recognition, conveniently located below the power key on the right side of the device, so you can unlock it with added security.

First responders now expect a consumer-grade user experience from their mobile devices — and this expectation will only grow more prevalent over time. Thanks to the XCover Pro’s public safety broadband coverage, rugged hardware and robust cybersecurity, the device delivers exactly what first responders need, when they need it, wherever their work takes them.

As you consider upping your frontline team’s mobility, learn more about the advantages of going mobile in our free guide for law enforcement agencies. And for help maintaining CJIS compliance, discover the versatile solutions of Samsung public safety technology.

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Crawford Coates

Crawford Coates, MPPA, is a writer, editor, and publisher with more than 15 years experience working with public safety. He has edited Wildland Firefighter, FireRescue, and Law Officer, and served as publisher at Calibre Press. He is a co-founder of Below 100, a national officer safety initiative, and author of the book Mindful Responder.

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