Public safety is under the spotlight more than ever. People want to be able to feel safe in public places, and they expect police, paramedics and fire-fighting crews to respond in minutes. IP-based technologies can help solve the dilemma of trying to meet these rising expectations, when there is not a corresponding rise in budget. To highlight how first responders can benefit from using IP-based technologies, Cisco Systems in Northern Europe has developed a demo center on wheels called the Cisco Connected Car using IP video surveillance software from Milestone Systems.
The car is a tangible example of how technology today can contribute to improved public safety. In the trunk is a Cisco 3200 Series Wireless and Mobile Router, which can roam across WLANs, mobile phone and TETRA networks to give seamless communication between emergency headquarters and the moving vehicle regardless of physical location. It also contains Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance software, to show how a first responder could feed back video from the scene of an accident, as well as exchange voice and other data with colleagues, in a real-life situation.
"The mobile Internet is a new tool for emergency service providers. It provides them with voice, video and data access across any medium, so they can exchange mission-critical information anywhere, anytime and any place," says Andy Lockhart, Vice-President for Cisco Systems Northern Europe. "The Cisco Connected Car is more than just a vision; it's a technology demo center on wheels, showing capabilities that are available now."
Improving public safety is a key goal for regional and local governments, and wireless technology can help emergency personnel achieve this goal. Emergency service organizations are already starting to use similar technology, such as the city of Baltimore, Maryland and the City of Westminster in London.
Vital Seconds in Response
Such technology can make a difference in the initial minutes after occurrence of an incident: the Cisco Connected Car gives instant access to video and audio footage from the emergency scene.
"With wireless transmission of IP video surveillance to and from their roving vehicles and the base location or hospital, first responders can have better information delivered on-the-go, for fast coordination of emergency activities," says Lars Thinggaard, CEO at Milestone Systems. "Improving their response effectively translates to better public services for the safety of citizens while using resources more efficiently."
Police or firemen could see images that pre-qualify details about the levels of severity at events, able to make critical decisions whether to call in more forces, protective equipment, ambulances, etc. Paramedics could transmit images of injured patients to a hospital for advance information, and hospitals could send important data from integrated patient file systems on allergies to medication or documented heart problems.
In collaboration with banks that have network cameras installed, police could also see if robberies are being carried out by a group with automatic weapons or a single perpetrator with a knife, and exactly where the criminals are located inside the building. National guardsmen could likewise scope out the levels of danger in disaster situations.
The faster and more detailed the initial information, the better the response can be to each emergency situation. Safety and well-being are improved significantly for all involved ? time, resources, and even lives can be saved.
Working Together for Innovation
The Cisco 3200 Series Wireless and Mobile Router in the car provides seamless, mobile networking and the flexibility to use any wireless connection to provide secure voice, video and data communications across wireless networks. It offers high performance in a compact, rugged design that has been optimized for use in vehicles, and it offers advanced IP services and interoperability with Mobile IP in Cisco IOS? Software, which allows a client or an entire network to roam seamlessly between wireless networks, regardless of location or movement.
Milestone XProtect Enterprise Remote Client and PDA Client software handles the video images from network cameras, with one camera installed in the car and others in hospitals or fire/police stations, for example. Milestone software's open architecture and APIs (Application Program Interfaces) also allow integration with other systems' data for combined viewing and analysis. The Cisco Connected Car uses an IBM T20 laptop with Microsoft Windows XP and a Fujitsu/Siemens Pocket LOOX PC with Microsoft Windows Pocket PC 2003, both with the Milestone software installed for viewing images.
The Cisco Connected Car that will be demonstrated throughout the year is a Volvo V70 using two SONY network cameras, SNCP1 and SNCRZ30N, in conjunction with the Cisco Wireless and Mobile Router and Milestone XProtect Enterprise Remote Client and PDA Client IP video surveillance software. Any emergency vehicle and number of network cameras can be used in future applications of the solution, with a wide choice of hardware models since XProtect Enterprise supports over 80 different models.