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Police Fleets Show Signs of Mobile Momentum, According to VDC Research
Samsung DeX and prioritized first responder networks are opening up new possibilities
NATICK, MA | April 7, 2020 - The market opportunity for rugged mobile computing units across public safety organizations is seeing momentum as police fleets look to enhance their technological utilization, according to new research from VDC (click here for more information). Traditionally, police fleets exhibit slow adoption of newer technologies, with typical deployments consisting of a mobile data terminal (MDT) in the form of a fixed, rugged in-vehicle laptop alongside an LMR, complimented by pen and paper when necessary. However, recent years have seen a shift in the paradigm.
VDC’s report finds that rugged laptops make up the majority of police fleet computing devices, followed by two-in-one devices, and then tablets. There is also a small but growing smartphone trend that caters to all-day, any-environment access to critical applications and data. Solutions such as the Samsung DeX platform are aggressively pursuing this opportunity to enable to security, ruggedness and usability needed for successful police agency smartphone deployments. “DeX and other similar deployments can extend the in-vehicle computing power of existing setups while providing seamless on-the-go access from vehicle to hand to station,” said Pat Nolan, Enterprise Mobility Research Analyst at VDC Research. The cost-based value proposition of the smartphone addresses the far-leading mobility barrier for this sector. “Given the technology’s potential and its low barriers to entry from an agency perspective, DeX and DeX-like solutions will start to usher in the next phase of police mobility driven by smartphones over the next two to three years.”
Prioritized first responder cellular network initiatives, such as AT&T’s government-funded FirstNet and Verizon’s Public Safety Network, are opening up additional possibilities for wireless mobile capabilities of police officers. Although adoption varies overall from department to department, VDC’s report states that it is growing steadily as police agency leaders are interested and willing to try these networks out. “The availability of these networks will facilitate increased use of image-, video- and location-based applications in conjunction with NextGen 911, increased smartphone use alongside desktop extending solutions such as DeX and otherwise,” explained Nolan.
Officer’s mobility deployments are seeing advancements with regard to the wave of new capabilities enabled by expanding camera-based solutions. Body cams and in-vehicle dash cams give officers the ability to collect, store, manage, and leverage expanding troves of video footage to make proactive policing decisions. However, this expansive volume of data comes with hefty additional costs and fees associated with storing and accessing it, resulting in some market cynicism toward vendors. “Some agencies are doubling smartphones as body cams, doubling body cams as dash cams and so on for the sake of equipment consolidation, minimalism and cost reduction,” said Nolan. “Additionally, there is currently a gap in data analytics solutions targeting these use cases, but key technology players are aware of this need and are working on it.”
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Despite the range of new capabilities and advancements that mobile solutions offer to police fleets, there are a large host of challenges impacting agencies’ mobile priorities. According to VDC, funding remains a substantial hurdle to computing upgrades and innovation. “New solutions are typically only procured on an as-needed basis driven by largescale failures or convenience rather than for the sake of frontline optimization,” said Nolan. While there is some demand for solutions that improve interoperability and collaboration, solution ease-of-use and ability to improve officer safety are typically prioritized by those making purchasing decisions. Additionally, police fleets must consider shifting security requirements as small form factor mobile devices are increasingly deployed and leave the vehicle more often than traditional, fixed computing units. “These challenges and considerations will play an important role in determining the trajectory of future mobile initiatives.”
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About VDC Research
VDC Research provides in-depth insights to technology vendors, end users, and investors across the globe. Offering syndicated reports and custom consultations, VDC’s market research coverage of AutoID & Data Capture, Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices, Industrial Automation & Sensors, and IoT & Embedded Technologies is among the most advanced in the industry, helping clients make critical decisions with confidence. VDC’s methodologies consistently provide accurate forecasts and unmatched thought leadership for deeply technical markets.