Is It Time for New Mobile Apparatus Software?
Responders having access to data while on the move and the ability to communicate with dispatch or other firefighters and EMS en route is vitally important. If you haven’t already made the switch from paper files and radio communication, you are missing out on a host of benefits that come with having a mobile data terminal (MDT) linked with computer-aided dispatch (CAD).
- Increased Security: You no longer have to manage paper files or worry about sensitive information broadcast over accessible radio channels.
- Specialized Features: Customize the system to your organization's needs.
- Faster Response: Preplanning information can be quickly accessed, alerts go to field units quicker, and real-time updates coordinate first responders to an unparalleled level.
You don’t need to be part of a large city organization to benefit. Reliable fire and EMS communication software can help volunteer and rural departments save lives and property. But like any tool, you must keep it maintained.
Issues With Outdated Technology
Technology has come a long way in the field of emergency response, but how do you know if it is time for your organization to look at upgrading your current suite of tools? Some problem areas will be easy to identify, but others may be silent problems you may not have considered.
If you have an existing MDT solution implemented more than a few years ago, it might be time to perform an audit of the system. Technology and businesses change rapidly, and what was “state of the art” when you bought it might be woefully outdated, or completely unsupported.
This audit should look at not only the software applications that your organization utilizes but also the hardware.
1. Aging Hardware
Whether it is the mobile tablet or phone in the field or the main dispatch computer, as hardware ages, it can become damaged, slow, and obsolete. Hardware issues will likely be the most straightforward technology problem to detect.
If your responders notice slowdowns in applications, issues with connecting to networks, or outright damage, it is time to upgrade your team's hardware as it physically isn’t up to the task.
2. Unsupported Software
One intersection of hardware and software is supported systems. Your old hardware might still be in excellent condition, but check that it can still receive updates to the operating system and applications you use.
There is a point in every hardware platform's life that it becomes obsolete, and software companies can’t support it. At this point, any bugs in applications are there to stay, and operating systems won’t receive security updates, leaving them vulnerable to outside attacks.
Depending on the age of your mobile apparatus software, it might also be unsupported on any hardware platform. Whether a software company was sold or a specific product dropped from their offerings, make sure that your current system hasn’t been sunsetted.
Just as the reverse is true with old hardware, unsupported applications will eventually cease to work on new operating systems, leaving your team blind when you need it most.
3. Non-Specialized Applications
Usability is key when looking at any tool. If it doesn’t fit the task at hand or hinders response, the well-being of your responders and the people they help could be on the line. If your current MDT and CAD systems don’t support your use cases, it might be time to look for a more tailored solution.
Some of the first systems on the market were designed with police response in mind. For EMS and firefighters, this leaves a lot of system needs out, such as disaster preplans, fire hydrant locations, or occupancy hazards for buildings. A specialized system should keep the entire team talking with the information they need immediately on hand.
4. Fragmented Response System
If you have multiple applications supplied from different vendors across your MDT and CAD solutions, your technology may not be working as efficiently for you as it could. Look for an integrated solution that includes all the pieces you need, from pre-planning to post-response reporting. Not having to worry about interfaces or collating disparate information can improve response times and address reporting issues.
The point of investing in mobile response solutions is to have a unified team response. If your team can’t access vital information, track other personnel, or give real-time updates to other incident responders, technology is hampering their abilities. Increased communication and productivity mean effective deployment, better outcomes, and a less stressed workforce.
Streetwise® MDT Solutions
If you have reviewed your current suite of tools and found it is time to upgrade your mobile data response technology Streetwise has a solution for you. Whether you are a large city organization or a rural department, we have an affordable solution to fit your needs and budget concerns.
Our Streetwise CADlink Tablet is an MDT solution for departments that are serious about getting the most out of technology. With seamless integration to our entire software suite, your first responders can get accurate mapping and navigation information, instant call updates, and access to preplans on the go.
If you are interested in seeing what Streetwise can do for you, contact us today for more information. Our team is here to help answer any questions and ensure your upgrade goes as smoothly as possible with 24/7 technical support.