Close

Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Leveling the Playing Field

How Public Safety Demands Are Changing Buyer/Supplier Dynamics

For decades, buyer and supplier dynamics in police and fire departments have been based on an uncompromising, static relationship – if you wanted to buy hardware, you chose a vendor and you were pretty much tied to that company for upgrades and replacements. That’s because vendors sought to monopolize their market and secure future earnings through repeat sales. While this made smart business sense on the part of suppliers, it often meant first responders were left with products that cost substantially more than their consumer counterparts and trailed in technological advances.

The whole situation reminds me of Wile E. Coyote holding an Acme explosive while the Road Runner zips away.

Fortunately this lopsided business arrangement is correcting itself, largely because of two factors. First, we’ve got the pure speed of technological change in our Internet-driven world. Chiefs can no longer realistically expect a product to remain top of the line for a significant number of years, even with updates. Additionally, there’s the pressing need to establish interoperable communications networks between agencies to enhance public safety response during a crisis, an agenda item that gained momentum after the tragic events of 9/11.

As public safety agencies grapple with these challenges, they’re starting to understand that they’ve been doing business backwards. They’re realizing that a vendor’s product list isn’t the only available option. Instead, chiefs recognize there are many technology companies out there and if a vendor can’t supply specific departmental needs, they can go elsewhere.

At the same time, technology companies are realizing that they have a larger responsibility than simply selling out of the box. They actually have to do what’s in the best service of their customer – public safety in this case. That’s why we’re seeing specific technologies being developed to address public safety-related issues, not just adaptations of pre-existing hardware.

But doing what’s best for public safety has a broader implication. It also means companies working together for the greater good. We saw this recently on a commercial level when Superstorm Sandy battered the East Coast. At its peak, power outages shut down 25 percent of cell phone towers across 10 states, overburdening the remaining infrastructure and resulting in millions of dropped calls. To bolster service, AT&T and T-Mobile announced they would switch calls seamlessly between their networks in storm-damaged areas of New York and New Jersey, depending on which network had better reception in a particular area.

Another great example occurred in August at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., where an interoperable communications network assisted law enforcement. Leading technology companies, including Raytheon, Cisco, Nokia Siemens Networks, Reality Mobile and Amdocs, joined forces to integrate fixed camera feeds, live video transmitted from smartphones, GPS-enabled blue force tracking and Land Mobile Radio P25 push-to-talk voice resources.

The combined efforts of these companies created a system that marked the first time federal, state and local first responders simultaneously used a private broadband network for a national special security event (NSSE). This initiative proved that an interoperable system can function on a large scale and its success could serve as a blueprint for the larger FirstNet National Public Safety Broadband Network architecture.

It’s encouraging to see this type of collaboration take place both on the commercial and public safety levels. Technology companies can no longer take a proprietary view that shies away from open architecture and cross-platform partnerships. In our multidimensional and complex world, partnerships offer cost-efficient, workable solutions for public safety.

 

5 comments

  • Louie says:

    Definitely, what a magnificent website and informative posts, I will bookmark your site.Best Regards!

  • It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  • Giuseppina says:

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

  • fix credit says:

    There are some interesting closing dates in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There may be some validity however I’ll take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

  • Chelsea says:

    I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can’t find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.


Leave a comment