Evolving technologies can improve emergency response in smart cities

Several connected police cars can form a network hub, which facilitates automatic data sharing. This capability improves situational awareness and allows officers to focus more on the job at hand and their engagements with their teams and the public instead of constantly sending out updates over the air.

Connected cars can also sync with each other, so sirens and flashing lights form a less annoying rhythm for civilian drivers. Likewise, a critical component of these connected vehicles is the ability to remotely control features, such as lights and cameras, which can be crucial in responding to high-stakes incidents.

Likewise, connected ambulances pave the way for more efficient and informed remote care. Mobile IoT devices will help paramedics streamline data capture and deliver results to hospitals in real time, so emergency rooms can prepare for incoming patients.

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Connecting to a remote patient monitoring platform can even help emergency room physicians spot potential complications before they arise. In addition to collaborating with emergencies, enhanced video streaming will provide emergency medical services (EMS) teams with real-time images of incidents so they can better develop their action plans and resource allocation.

As connected cities grow, advancements in technology will support more real-time collaboration between emergency response professionals.

It also works for all functions. For example, police cars will be able to interact with each other and also connect with fire trucks, ambulances and utility vehicles. This type of coordination will be essential to fuel effective and coordinated responses when needed.

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Cutting-edge technology can improve emergency response

As connected cities grow, a key component of their success will be their ability to streamline the use of advanced technologies. While some agencies are already leveraging solutions like drones, GPS, augmented and virtual reality, and thermal imaging, smart city connectivity will lead to much more efficient data sharing.

Drones have a variety of applications in the public sector. One of their most important use cases is for fire departments that monitor forest fires. Firefighters can monitor the situation remotely via drones rather than sending crew members to a potentially dangerous scene. This visibility is also useful when coordinating interventions, as they can determine in advance the number of crews needed. Police departments may also benefit from the ability to monitor scenes remotely during crowd control.

On the EMS front, the improved connectivity that will power ambulances will also support the use of augmented and virtual reality. These tools will allow emergency physicians to guide paramedics through procedures so they can provide the urgent critical care needed on the ground in emergency situations.

GPS and thermal imaging technologies are increasingly popular for disaster clean-up and rescue missions. Combining GPS and 3D modeling software on a mobile device can help public sector professionals accurately locate a person in distress or identify misplaced household items. Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras can work in a similar way, detecting radiant heat from an area to help first responders locate people who need help.

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Public Safety Agencies Can Benefit From Improved Wireless Connectivity

For the capacities of connected cities to reach their full potential for public sector agencies, some technological developments will be crucial.

First, LTE and 5G will need to become more widespread and consistent. Statista estimates that data usage will increase so dramatically by 2022 that 5G will be needed to withstand the increased pressure on 4G.

In order for public sector agencies to best prepare for this transition, it will be important to map the use cases they plan to exploit so that they can identify the appropriate supporting technology for these connected urban environments.

Likewise, as these advancements result in the collection of unprecedented amounts of digitally captured data, analytics and automated solutions will be essential to help interpret and use the results. Data only becomes intelligence when it is in a usable format. The right tools can help ensure that data collection is mission specific to effectively determine what is actionable.

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Redefining the goals of first responders

As we look to that future of effective emergency response, we are sure to see a shift in the goals of first responders.

Before, the objective of dispatchers was to ensure that responders arrive at the right places, but the data offered by new technologies allow them to better understand the situations. This context helps stakeholders plan resources and promotes more effective intervention.

Ultimately, developing connected cities will allow first responders to arrive better prepared for incidents, provide a more coordinated and efficient service, and ensure a smoother transition to the next point of care.