How can public safety technologies improve to help agencies better serve their communities? 

Eric Mettler: Technology, like fuel cells, provides improved reliability and longer runtime, enabling the network to ride through multiple days of power outage, rather than just hours with legacy technology.

What challenges prevent public safety from making the most of their technology today? 

EM: Organizations naturally tend to resist change — quiet, clean technologies like fuel cells have been available and proven for well over 10 years!

Anil Agrawal: Today, the biggest challenge is that technologies function in silos. To be the most effective, technologies need to be integrated and managed from a central location.

What is the biggest challenge facing public safety agencies today?

Scott Crouch: So many challenges facing public safety agencies today are symptoms of a much larger problem — poorly designed legacy software. The underlying architecture of these decades-old systems makes it quite difficult to collect and share the data necessary to quickly and effectively respond to a 911 call, investigate violent crime or tackle a community challenge in collaboration with other government agencies.

What about hardware, and its increasingly significant role in data collection?

SC: More and more cities are adopting body cameras, drones, CCTV cameras and other kinds of multimedia capture devices to assist with public safety operations. While these hardware tools are essential to investigations, any data they collect is ultimately stored in a software application. Agencies should seek out software platforms that sync with any device, so they aren’t locked into a closed system. True platforms are not walled gardens.

What do you hope to see for the future of the public safety space?

AA: A rollout of a safe cities canopy that would improve safety, but also allow safe experimentation with new technologies. CIMCO’s NearSky™ platform provides the foundation to build this canopy.

Angad Singh: I hope to see all public safety officials and volunteers in the field able to quickly and safely deploy drones for accident reconstruction, critical incident management and search and rescue scenarios. This technology can make our public safety officials’ jobs safer, making everyone’s lives safer.

How are drones impacting the public safety space?

AS: Drones are flying cameras whose images can be used to make realistic 3-D models and maps via the science of photogrammetry. For search and rescue and critical incident management scenarios, these maps can help find missing persons or manage where to place personnel. The 3-D models are used for accident reconstruction, providing a fast, efficient and safe way to provide a historical record of an event.