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As part of a recent investigation commissioned by Verizon Frontline and conducted by Lexipol, first responders across the country were surveyed about how their organizations use public safety communications technology, how ready they thought their agencies were to respond to a crisis and how they thought the technology would change the way they operate in the future. Key findings from the survey of nearly 2,000 first responders – which included representation from response points from public safety and emergency call centers as well as police, fire and service communities emergency medical services – included:
- Network reliability and speed are most important: First responders overwhelmingly believe that reliability and speed are the most important aspects of a public safety network, especially in an emergency. More than three-quarters of first responders (77%) said reliability and resiliency were their #1 factor in day-to-day use and nearly 60% asked for stronger connections in the field.
- Smartphones are the public safety tool of choice: Almost all (92%) of first responders say smartphones and tablets will remain essential everyday communication tools for the next five years. Land mobile radios (LMRs) are used daily by 89% of first responders, but their use is slowly declining.
- More devices means being more connected: Public safety officials said smartphones will remain their most important technology tool, but internet-connected vehicles will become a much bigger priority over the next five years, other technologies such as augmented reality apps /virtual reality (AR/VR) is also gaining popularity.
- 5G is a key priority: First responders say the benefits of 5G will have a big impact on the future of public safety, with the overwhelming majority (77%) acknowledging 5G as a priority.
NEW YORK, Oct. 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — If first responders are successful, the future of public safety will include more internet-connected devices, a continued focus on network reliability and resilience during operations emergency response and much greater demand for 5G in the years to come.
These are among the key findings of a new Verizon Frontline survey of public safety communications conducted by Lexipol, which interviewed nearly 2,000 first responders from fire and police departments, emergency medical services organizations, public safety response points and emergency call centers on their public safety communication technology. current and future use.
The results showed a heavy reliance on smartphones, growing interest in new devices such as drones and the benefits of 5G, and continued demand for network reliability and features such as interoperability during emergency response. ’emergency.
Reliability and speed are top priorities for the network
When asked what they expect most from a public safety communications provider, first responders overwhelmingly cited network reliability and speed as their top priorities.
In day-to-day use, more than three-quarters of first responders (77%) say reliability and resiliency are their number one factor today, followed by cost (13%) and customer service (4%). In emergency situations, reliability and resilience are even more important (81%), followed by interoperability (47%) and device durability (46%).
Further confirming these findings, first responders named an unreliable network, outdated tools and a lack of interoperability as their top three challenges with their current public safety communications technology.
Smartphones dominate daily work
First responders overwhelmingly believe that smartphones and tablets will remain essential everyday communication tools over the next five years, with 92% of respondents saying they use a smartphone and 47% saying they use a tablet every day. Land mobile radios (LMRs) are used daily by 89% of first responders, but the survey shows LMR use is expected to drop to 79% in five years.
A new generation of technologies, including internet-connected vehicles, drones and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) applications, such as those that allow the reproduction of dangerous training scenarios in an AR/VR environment , are all expected to grow hugely in popularity over the next five years. Respondents say they expect the use of internet-connected vehicles, such as ambulances, patrol cars and fire engines, to increase daily, from 41% today to 64% by 2027.
Drones could see an even bigger increase in daily use, from 8% today to 40% in five years. Augmented reality and virtual reality can also gain impressive numbers, rising from just 1% of first responders reporting daily use to an expected 20% in five years.
The future of public safety is more connected
Of all the technology challenges with their current communication tools, first responders say the strength of connection is their biggest concern. When asked what features they want to add to their communications technology, almost 60% expressed a desire to strengthen connections in the field. Other responses include faster upload and download speeds (39%), the ability to share location information with team members in the field (42%), and the ability to quickly share images, videos and other files in the field (37%).
When asked to predict what public safety agencies’ top priorities would be five years from now, internet-connected vehicles were by far the most popular choice among all first responders at 37 percent. This number was even higher for emergency medical services at 41%. Fire departments had the most diverse priorities, with more firefighters choosing AR/VR training as a priority and fewer choosing smartphones and internet-connected vehicles compared to other first responder groups.
The priority for 5G is growing
The survey also revealed that public safety professionals are ready to take advantage of the improved communication and technology capabilities made possible by 5G.
First responders say the benefits of 5G, such as higher speed and lower latency, will have a big impact on the future of public safety, with the overwhelming majority (77%) acknowledging 5G as a priority. Asked about the benefits of 5G for public safety, first responders rank reliability first (42%), followed by speed (34%), better situational awareness and more efficient use data (each 12%).
Verizon frontline is the advanced network designed for first responders — developed over nearly three decades of partnering with public safety officials and frontline agencies — to meet their unique and evolving needs.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was established on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York and operating globally, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company provides data, video and voice services and solutions across its award-winning networks and platforms, meeting customer demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.
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