We are living in tremulous times. Less than a week ago, President Obama sought to reassure Americans that the country is safe as travelers prepared to hit the roads and take to the sky for Thanksgiving trips. Obama emphasized that Americans should not be overwhelmed by fear of attacks as the holiday season begins, and that "we are both equipped to prevent attacks and resilient in the face of those who would try to do us harm.”
This is certainly true: American's should not be overwhelmed by fear of attacks, and public holiday events on state and local municipal level will resume as planned. However, it is important to understand the significance and role of resilient wireless communications in such public events, and in ensuring heightened security.
Public events, as we will see during the upcoming holiday season, are often short in time (a few hours only), take place on an irregular basis, and require ad-hoc attention and communications infrastructure in its full capacity. The attendance rate for such public events, whether a "Black Friday" sale, a Christmas concert or holiday fair, the attendance rate for such an event ranges from several thousands to tens of thousands. In some cases, these events may include VIP's that only increase the caliber and potential magnitude of the event.
Most public communications networks are not designed to handle such intensity and collapse, especially in times of unexpected incidents that occur as was the case in the Boston Marathon.It is precisely for this reason that public regular mobile infrastructure cannot be relied on during these situations. Securing and assuring the public's safety requires seamless integration of multiple aspects and technologies to deliver a continuous, constant flow of data and communications at all times.
Wireless Communications Options
There are many communications solutions out there spanning different technologies such as Hytera Communications Corp (002583), Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) , Thales ($HO) and more. Most communications systems are designed to provide a point-to-point communications with voice capabilities only, and will not overcome N-LOS scenarios.
TETRA, for instance, (formerly known as Trans-European Trunked Radio) is a mobile radio and two-way transceiver communication mode, also known by its common name as "Walkie-Talkie". TETRA provides limited point-to-point voice communications between only two people.
Today, more than ever, real-time video has great impact and contribution to assessing situations and understand the scope of events within this turmoil and chaos environment. The ability to send live video from onsite locations is critical.
To assure optimized communications at all times including video. Voice and data, MESH technology will usually deliver the solution. There are a few MESH based communications solutions out there. MESH technology refers to a radio based private communications network where all units are connected to each other and could act as backup to other units in the network. MESH technology delivers HD video, data and voice in real-time and can receive and broadcast the information from and to multiple locations and sources. The network also finds the best route for transmitting all the information and operates regardless of any existing communications infrastructure.
Receiving HD video, data and VoIP from multiple sources, directly to a command mobile unit post, expands the scope of field, the available information to make critical decisions in real time and often dictates the success of rescue efforts and support for the people in the area.
Wireless Communications, Public Safety and the Holiday Season
Wireless communications whether we like it or not are an integral part of public safety infrastructure. It is no longer enough to have simple “Walkie-Talkies" during times of chaos and the need for order, but have additional tools that can help prevent the next incident or shed more light on current situations. This calls for including features such as HD video transmission to and from multi-points and sources, on-the-move from any moving vehicle from land, air or sea or any personnel to command post for analysis and crucial decision making. This may not solve the issues we are dealing with but having a multi-layered communications systems is not just and option but a must.
Yossi Segal is the Co-Founder& VP of Research and Development for Mobilicom