Cocoa, Fla., Gains Greater Visibility into Its Fleet
In Cocoa, Fla., Fleet Manager Tony Jones has likewise sought out new levels of connectivity for the city’s 400-vehicle municipal fleet.
The city needed something “to give our managers and supervisors greater visibility into their vehicles, with a real-time location information and driver behavior capability,” he says.
It turned to the Samsara fleet tracking solution, powered by over 200 of the company’s VG34 gateways, which provide real-time vehicle location services and telematics. A completely cloud-based GPS tracking solution, Samsara provides remote vehicle diagnostics, a safety dashboard, system reporting and other key management tools.
The technology “allows staff to manage vehicles from anywhere,” Jones says. He lauded the system for its real-time dispatching, work location verification, driver coaching, low-battery warnings and a range of other capabilities.
In addition to the added capabilities, the connected-fleet solution also raises the department’s level of transparency. “As a municipal fleet, we are constantly in the public eye. We needed more accountability for our fleet and driver/operators, and this solution provides that in real time,” he says.
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LASD Seeks Consistent Communication for Officers
At the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, connected-fleet technologies help consistent connectivity across partner jurisdictions.
LASD provides law enforcement services to contract cities and unincorporated county areas. It has been using Panasonic Toughbook mobile digital computers for more than 10 years, but connectivity issues, including frequent lost connections, were limiting the performance of those systems.
When communication is dropped, “it poses potential officer safety risks as well as operational risks to the public,” says Sgt. David Chi, who manages fleet connectivity for the department.
“An officer involved in a shooting or other extenuating emergency may not be able to broadcast his or her location,” he says. “If the mobile data computer is unable to communicate, other deputies as well as dispatch may not see the current location.”
In seeking upgrades, “the goal was to have a stable, continuous and uninterrupted connection as much as possible,” he says.
The department has adopted Sierra Wireless MG90 modems in support of enhanced connectivity, leveraging their ability to seamlessly hand off connections from wireless access points to two different cellular 4G LTE providers.
“The modem is able to measure the signal strength of each and gives us failover capability,” Chi says. “When it’s out of range of an access point, it switches to 4G LTE, and when one 4G signal is lost, it switches to the other 4G provider. The transition is seamless, and the connection is maintained at all times.”
Before installing the Sierra Wireless routers, LASD’s connectivity was sometimes intermittent. With the new routers, “we have had big improvements in the consistency of our MDC connections,” Chi says.
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A Unified IoT Solution Is Also More Secure
In Baltimore, meanwhile, the move to a unified solution in support of vehicular IoT has not only streamlined the IT workload, but also helped to ensure a higher degree of cyber resilience.
“These IoT devices are extremely difficult to support and maintain from a security perspective. They come from mostly small or midsize companies, and there are so many that you can’t manage them all,” Lora says.
“But if you put them all behind a secure platform, with encryption, then you can secure those devices much more effectively,” he says.
To deliver these outcomes, the department’s IT staff relied heavily on CDW•G’s expertise, Lora says.
“They took care of the logistics, of getting the vendor lined up. We don’t have the manpower to do this ourselves. We’re busy just keeping the operations running, and we are not mechanics,” he says. “It wouldn’t have been feasible to do this on our own.”