2020 has proved that just about anything can happen at any time, and first-response agencies need to be adaptable and technologically prepared to handle new situations as they arise. IoT (Internet of Things) technologies can help first responders be ready when the unexpected happens. Not all change is unexpected, though. A couple of trends that will intersect with first response in the near future are 5G deployment and urbanization. What challenges can the space expect to face as these trends unfold in the next five, 10, and 20 years?
Here at Connected World and over on The Peggy Smedley Show, we are talking about first responders—and the technology that can help them do their job—all month long. With 240 million 911 calls every year, we need to make sure our first responders have the data they need when they need it. With all the information that currently exists, sifting through the noise can be challenging. That is where AI (artificial intelligence) and the IoT (Internet of Things) can help. Technology can help shuffle through all the data and discern what information is needed to respond faster and save more lives.
There are no “normal” workdays anymore thanks to COVID-19, disrupted supply chains, newly emerged customers, and vanished historical customers. Businesses, employees, customers, and suppliers are in a daily struggle to adapt, to adjust, and to continue to have their businesses exist. The one item that every business group needs more of are new, innovative ideas.
Startup activity is often a good measuring stick for gauging innovation in a particular industry. In first response, some exciting startups could help shape the sector in the coming years. ResearchandMarkets suggests first responder C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) equipment spending through 2025 will be driven by things like major international sporting events, border and area security, and disaster and emergency management. The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted investment in first-response solutions, particularly those in the medical realm.
The opportunities for autonomous driving are vast. It can create a paradigm shift in transportation, freeing up drivers to be passengers, and ultimately leading to fewer traffic fatalities. Less traffic means less pollution. Still, we know the future of AVs (automated vehicles) hinges on a lot more than just the technology. We need cooperation between government and technology. We need to address the public’s concerns for safety related to self-driving cars. Now, the government is taking the steps to create a tool to address this.
There is a lot to gain when it comes to smart, connected transportation infrastructure, including better quality of life and safety, as well as enhanced technical efficiency (e.g., reduced travel times) and control (e.g., autonomous infrastructure or infrastructure-related systems like city lighting).
Back in June, we wrote a feature narrowing in on the fact that we need to make our homes and buildings healthier. We know that Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors—a statistic that might be higher due to the pandemic. The challenge here is pollutants are often two to five times higher than it is outdoors.
Reza Arghandeh, professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and director, Collaborative Intelligent Infrastructure Lab, discusses his research on smart cities. He explains the differences between traditional and modern city-management approaches, why cities have yet to become fully smart yet—even though artificial intelligence and IoT has created major challenges for implementation.
There are few industries as mission critical as first response. Technology innovation in mission-critical industries like first response, therefore, is non-negotiable if U.S. cities want to provide the best quality of life possible to its citizens. Industry and government are both investing in first-response technology innovation through efforts like seeking R&D (research and development) proposals for partnerships and putting forth challenges/contests that offer cash and other types of prizes for winners. Stimulating innovation in these ways and others will help the first-response community by giving them smart new ways to digitize, automate, analyze events, collect more data from the field, and benefit from realtime communication.
Remote education is becoming the new norm for many students around the globe, with educators providing distance learning and digital tools to meet the demand of students. One big challenge is the connectivity component—as many underserved student populations might not have internet access—but a new program and some grant money might help address this hurdle.
“Distance learning” is the new reality for many students in the U.S. and around the globe, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An interesting angle on this discussion is how the technology space is participating in distance learning, either by enabling it through existing solutions or by developing innovative new solutions and forming new partnerships to rise to this unprecedented occasion. In the long term, and as a result of what’s going on now, will connected devices and solutions play a more important role in the education system? Will distance learning bring education to more young people in more places?