The need for public safety agencies to quickly become mobile is more pronounced now than it ever has been. Rapid changes in protocols for interacting with the general public as well as an increased emphasis on the health of law enforcement officers has pushed mobility to the forefront of public safety.
Here is a window into what the future of mobility must look like in 2025, 2030 and beyond in order to keep citizens and officers safe.
Artificial intelligence for the human officer
One can’t talk about the future of mobility without emphasizing that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play an outsize role in transforming the day-to-day operations of public safety agencies into something more strategic. If you’re a cop on the street walking up to a person or car and trying to ascertain if there is anything unusual or dangerous about the situation, doing a full research study on the spot isn’t really an option. Technology will have to find a way to do that for you.
AI and machine learning can help open up more and more pathways to extract this mountain of information from massive RMS and CAD systems or other databases and into the officer’s hands in an easy, digestible way. Regardless of where an officer may be, whether in a vehicle or outside of a vehicle, that officer now has more knowledge at their fingertips that is easier to understand in a single glance. This helps not only increase situational awareness, but AI and machine learning will enable the officer to get a better understanding of overall criminal activity and how to better respond to it.
AI and machine learning put more and more information out to responders with the intent of making them safer and more knowledgeable. The future of mobility is dependent on AI and machine learning creating optimal user experiences to take all that information and distill it down into exactly the most important thing that matters for a particular situation at a particular point in time.
Major equipment upgrades
Typically, the technology in patrol vehicles tends to feel like very permanent fixtures. As technology continues to improve by getting sleeker and more agile, law enforcement officers can expect to see a change in equipment and devices they are used to seeing in vehicles. Upgrading the devices and equipment in patrol cars can reduce the expense, size and complexity of the equipment agencies are currently using. The end result of this increased innovation is that the equipment will become more mobile as well.
The technology and applications on devices that are already mobile – handheld tablets and phones – will also become more intuitive and adaptable to the needs of the officer in the field.
Faster case reports
Another key prediction on the future of mobility is that officers will be spending less time on things like case reports. The expected decrease is because information will be collected at a much quicker pace than before. Think back to how difficult and how time consuming it was to fill out expense reports – that process has been drastically simplified so individuals spend a lot less time collecting receipts and manually entering them into a system. Now it’s possible to simply scan receipts from our phone. That same type of concept applies to case writing. With mobile devices, much of the information officers are collecting manually will no longer rely on a manual process.
Enhanced connectivity through IoT
In terms of the future of mobility, many questions arise on how the Internet of Things (IoT) and the connectivity it brings will impact public safety agencies. Just as smart homes are growing in popularity and governments are making smart city initiatives a priority, how can that mindset translate into investing in smart officers in the future? How can we connect officers to security cameras? How do we implement photo imagery recognition where AI is identifying vehicles within video feeds? The next generation will be taking IoT from the consumer market to the public safety enterprise market.
What is still uncertain?
The future of certain technologies, like real-time facial recognition, are significantly less clear than the aforementioned technologies. Though some applications of it have been implemented – for example, automatic license plate readers borrow aspects of real-time video recognition – valid privacy concerns over facial recognition have kept it from being implemented on a wide scale. That means technology companies will have to be even more innovative when creating solutions in order to provide some of the same benefit agencies would have gotten through facial recognition while keeping privacy concerns at the forefront.
Turning the next page
The future is never a sure thing, but the time is ripe for innovation right now. Currently, private consumer markets are figuring out how to expand mobility features to the general public in response to changing lifestyles. Eventually, that same innovative mindset will transform the public safety market, and will definitely drive what mobility will look like for public safety agencies in 2025, 2030 and beyond. Whether it’s smart watches with biometrics or security cameras with video recognition software – all of that will be integrated into a solution so an officer will have, hopefully, a smarter solution to create safer communities and safer work environments for officers everywhere.