Into the public safety communications future

Fergus Mayne, UK Country Manager and Head of Sales, Motorola Solutions - which has sponsored three BAPCO Online conference sessions - discusses the pressing issues for the sector

What are the biggest current issues for the sector? 

Undeniably, the impact of COVID-19 can be seen across all sectors and public safety is no exception. From the onset of lockdown last year, one of the most critical demands of technology was - and continues to be - helping those on the front line to work more safely, as they continue to protect and keep the public safe with new challenges arising from the pandemic.

These challenges have ranged from overnight adaption to remote working, social distancing measures, changing guidelines, and increased demand and pressure on the frontline, to name a few. The pandemic has, however, also offered opportunities for new ways of working to be adopted, a greater focus and interest in scalable, flexible cloud as well as video technologies.

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

I would say artificial intelligence, specifically within public safety workflows. AI has the potential to improve resource efficiency by accelerating workflows, increasing the speed of decision making, and improving the safety of frontline responders and the community. 

For example, studies have shown that multi-tasking by a human, such as when monitoring multiple video feeds, can result in a 40 per cent drop in productivity.  AI can actively monitor cameras for unusual situations, such as the appearance of smoke, or individuals matching the description of missing or abducted persons. This allows video analysts to verify potential items of interest instead of scanning endless video feeds.

Another benefit we are seeing with AI is in accelerating post-incident workflows in policing. Our studies indicate that 30 per cent of an officer’s time is spent on administrative tasks, with 400,000 incident reports created annually in a large city. Here, AI can transcribe a spoken narrative recorded by the officer, rather than the officer typing up a report in their vehicle or back at the station. It can also automatically populate it in the incident record, where the original audio file is kept as evidence.