Nov 07 2019
Public Safety

How Fleet Management Systems Support Public Safety Effectiveness

With in-vehicle equipment and dedicated broadband, first responders know more than ever about the condition of their vehicles.

FirstNet, the dedicated broadband network for first responders, introduced a fleet management solution to public safety agencies on the network earlier this year. As AT&T, the FirstNet prime contractor, says, the fleet management solution provides agencies with “comprehensive, near real-time insights into critical fleet and in-field first responder activities.”

“This leads to increased situational awareness, efficiency and safety for first responders and public safety fleets,” AT&T adds.

One of AT&T’s partners in the fleet management initiative, called FirstNet Ready, is Cradlepoint, a provider of 4G LTE and emerging 5G wireless solutions.. FirstNet Ready provides police, fire and other services with capabilities to track the location and the condition of their vehicles.

Chris Penrose, president of Internet of Things Solutions at AT&T, says, “Think of the ability to quickly dispatch police cars and ambulances to the scene or get nearly instantaneous insight if a school bus breaks down. With this collaboration, first responders get a holistic solution that helps them stay better connected to their workers and vehicles while keeping us all safer.”

Robust Networking Solutions Relay More Data Than Ever

Public safety agencies have long known the advantages of a robust fleet management system, of course. From the early days of GPS solutions, public safety agencies could track individual vehicles. By harnessing powerful internet deployments, agencies now can do even more with fleet management.

As the CDW Solutions Blog notes, “Rather than connecting each of these devices with individual cell signals, many departments are deploying ruggedized routers that extend the organization’s LAN resources to the vehicle. This solution allows departments to simplify and secure their connectivity, and allow officers to more easily tie into departmental applications and data when necessary.”

Sierra Wireless, which supports FirstNet Ready solutions, says IoT technology is revolutionizing coordination of first responder fleets.

"The IoT is putting new tools in the hands and vehicles of law enforcement and first responders, so they can act faster and more effectively. Wireless computer-aided dispatch, in-vehicle network connectivity and body-worn connected devices bring timely information to help emergency medical responders, police and firefighters reduce response times and save more lives," the company states.

MORE FROM STATETECH: What’s next for the FirstNet network?

Technicians Can Track All Vehicle Details with Fleet Management

Samsara’s cloud-based fleet management solution provides clients like the Sheriff of Washington County, N.Y., with insights into vehicle diagnostic data for the entire fleet, including oil level, battery level, the odometer and check engine lights, Samsara says. 

“With Samsara Maintenance, we see check engine lights and immediately get the vehicle into service,” says Sheriff Jeffrey J. Murphy.

Samsara translates fault codes, like a check engine fault code, into an alert that prompts technicians to act. Samsara can even show the status of things such as the use of a vehicle’s seat belts and its tire pressure. The vehicles transmits all diagnostics to a cloud platform that relays the information to technicians, who can determine its condition in real time but also the overall longevity of a car.

“Fleet owners can do a lot with this data. For example, analysis of engine diagnostics data might indicate an emerging problem before a driver notices it, so the vehicle can go into the shop long before an issue escalates into expensive damage and extensive downtime. This data is collected and stored in a database, so when it’s time to replace a vehicle, the fleet owner can look back on historical data to see exactly which models of engines and transmissions have higher or lower service costs,” notes the CDW Solutions Blog.

In addition, fleet management solutions capitalize on established public safety tools — in-vehicle and body-worn cameras. Fleet management tools can read in-vehicle cameras with AI to identify unsafe driving habits, such as using a smartphone while driving, or to survey the scene of an incident to help determine who was at fault. 

As such, FirstNet and others are truly enhancing officer efficiency and safety with fleet management solutions.

This article is part of StateTech's CITizen blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #StateLocalIT hashtag.


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