FIRE SERVICE TECHNOLOGY: SPECIAL REPORT: Public Safety Communications Update

More communications-related activity than ever is impacting public safety. There are a number of reasons for this. First is the continued development and implementation of P25 standards for land-mobile-radio (LMR) systems. Next, the 800-MHz rebanding...


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• Smartphones/tablets. Smartphones and tablets are taking the mobile market by storm. The devices have various operating systems and each has unique nuances. Presently, the primary operating systems are Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. While the Apple iPad and Galaxy are two of the most popular tablets, more are becoming available and becoming less expensive. Choosing a mobile device depends on the functionality you need to do your job and the applications available for each device. First, determine whether you will require public WiFi or mobile connectivity through a commercial wireless carrier. Then you must determine which mobile device has compatible applications to meet your functional needs. While Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and other major carriers are promoting smartphones, Sprint has added its Direct Connect feature back into its newer smart phones with similar PTT functionality and performance and has a “one-to-one” and “one-to-many” talk capability.

• Applications. When it comes to mobile phone applications, a 2011 report on MSNBC reported that Apple had 230,000 applications in its app store while Android had 70,000. The number of applications is relative and some functionality has many duplicated applications. In other words, there are multiple applications for the same purpose and getting through them all can be challenging. Free applications usually available through the marketplace on the mobile device include CADPAGE, FEMA Preparedness, Hands Only CPR, AED Locator, Earthquake Alert, Radio Scanner, VueToo, Weather, Gmail, Tune-In Radio, Facebook, Twitter and many more. n