Reliability, speed and information interoperability are crucial to the ability of law enforcement, firefighters and EMS personnel to respond to emergencies. Innovations in mobile computing and wireless connectivity offer these departments a chance to update their systems and improve the efficiency of their services. However, many public safety departments are slow to adopt new technologies. The reason often has to do with reliability.
While the increased speed and enhanced information-sharing that these new technologies offer are readily apparent to police, firefighters and medical professionals, in situations where a PC power outage or failed connection could make a difference in lifesaving efforts, nothing short of 100 percent reliability will suffice. Mark Boynton, the fire chief and emergency management director in Amherst, N.H., recently wrote about the technology conundrum fire departments face.
"Firefighters are naturally apprehensive to become reliant on anything that could fail and leave us vulnerable – that's why many rigs still carry three-ring binders filled with outdated preplans and maps," he wrote. "Those binders never fail: they always can be found in the tray, they don't require batteries or a cellular signal and they don't require much skill to find information."
Boynton wrote that these systems are more reliable, but certainly slower, and unless data is manually updated constantly – an incredibly time-consuming task – it's possible firefighters could arrive at an emergency with useless information. Concerns about reliability also grow with the fact that laptops in emergency vehicles, especially those connecting to public networks, can ill afford to be affected with malware or a virus that can compromise usage and slow computers down at a key moment.
Comprehensive solutions for optimizing performance
Application control can make a huge impact on a network of computers used for public safety. From a main console, a user can control the programs on all of the endpoints in the network, providing a software layered security solution that ensures that computers have multiple lines of defense against malicious activity and shutdowns. Application control solutions can also optimize PC power management by making sure only critical programs are running, ensuring that computers can last longer without having to recharge and decreasing the likelihood of a dead battery at a critical time.
Similarly, police departments often use their PCs for data interoperability, which can entail sharing sensitive information between endpoints on the network. It is imperative that information not be intercepted. Application control can prevent hacking efforts from breaching these computers and extracting information that could potentially deter police efforts.