Digitising the Fire and Rescue Service

Steve McLinden, Transformation 2020 programme lead, Mid and West Wales FRS, discusses his forthcoming session at BAPCO: The Online Event.

What is the most important message you would like people to take away from your presentation?

That the integration of digital technology within legacy processes in the first responder operational environment is now achievable and should be embraced. This should be through the adoption of a collaborative, non-proprietary, approach, to fully exploit IoT.

First responder digital capabilities are now where smart phones were ten years ago. People are becoming aware of them, but are not sure what the impact will be. In ten years, they’ll wonder how they ever survived without them.

What are the current biggest challenges and opportunities for the public safety communications sector?

Finding the balance between maintaining existing services and embracing innovation through working differently. Also, taking the risks required to implement change linked to innovation.

What will be the most transformative technology over the next five years and why?

From a Fire and Rescue Service perspective it will be the adoption of digital technology in the operational environment. That also means providing access - via IoT -, to enhance situational awareness through technologies such as live video streaming, drones and tracking within buildings.

What changes would you like to see in the world of public safety communications and technology?

A positive move towards making new digital solutions more open source. This will ensure organisations don’t get ‘locked in’ or ‘locked out’ in an area of innovation likely to develop massively over the next three to five years.