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Goodmill White Paper
Save Time, Money and Lives – How to
Improve Public Safety Efficiency with
Vehicle Broadband Solutions
Goodmill Systems Ltd.
Tarvonsalmenkatu 17, FIN-02600 Espoo, Finland
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Smartphone usage is tod...
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taxpayers’ money. Arguing the case for these networks has been along
the lines like “this is the only solution you ...
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Saving lives with public safety vehicle broadband


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This paper describes why multichannel approach using multiple networks is the best way to ensure critical broadband data to public safety vehicles. The approach saves lives, time and money and can be implemented any day.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Saving lives with public safety vehicle broadband

  1. 1. Goodmill White Paper Save Time, Money and Lives – How to Improve Public Safety Efficiency with Vehicle Broadband Solutions
  2. 2. Goodmill Systems Ltd. Tarvonsalmenkatu 17, FIN-02600 Espoo, Finland Page 2 Smartphone usage is today so widespread that even children can be considered regular users. Meanwhile, countless applications serve to enhance users’ lives, work and free time. I use my mobile for e-mail, maps, navigation, parking and of course entertainment. So it can be difficult to understand that public servants have worse access to - or in some cases none of - these capabilities. Despite the almost endless debates about public safety network infrastructure demands, it is clear that fast, reliable broadband access would provide an important addition to their work. In this white paper I’m highlighting why public safety broadband is important, how it could be implemented and what the alternative solutions are. THE IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE BROADBAND TO PUBLIC SERVANTS There is a huge benefit in equipping public servants with the ability to use modern software applications. There is vast amounts of data available in open or protected databases which could provide an excellent resource. Even simple modern applications like efficient office programs would prove very useful whenever workers are mobile. Modern command and control applications could also benefit greatly from access to mobile broadband. Larger data capacities would allow for up-to-date maps, more interactive capabilities, quicker situational updates and better and sharing of data between mobile units. The current networks like Tetra, Tetrapol or P25 are built for high availability voice in critical situations, but are limited to small amounts of data. What about the current broadband solutions? THE IMPORTANCE OF AVAILABILITY When talking about saving lives, it is essential to note that the availability of online information is of the utmost importance. If one attempts to fetch information such as criminal records, up to date building plans (in case of fire), or to send medical information to a doctor in hospital, connectivity is crucial. It might not be a matter of a second or two, but one certainly cannot wait minutes for data to be delivered. When talking about criticality, the command and control application becomes a focal point. With an efficient C&C application one can share information about other units’ locations, target drawings and various other case specific information. The more instantaneous the data delivery, the better security it provides for officers on the case. We have seen live situational pictures shared from the criminal site to enhance co-operation and to minimize the inefficient use of mobile voice terminals. But can you be sure that these pictures and other important data gets transmitted? ONE BROADBAND NETWORK DOESN’T DO THE JOB A) COMMERCIAL NETWORKS The most common mistake made in the area of public safety is to rely solely on a single commercial broadband network. It seems as though the vast majority of efforts are directed towards the development of applications. Too often, connectivity issues are handled casually “we’ll use the broadband of the number one commercial operator, with a dongle or similar.” But one network is never enough, no matter if it is a commercial or even a dedicated network. It is not within any organization or even nation’s capabilities to build in the redundancy and availability required just for one network. All networks have occasional service outages, whether larger or smaller scale. Networks have internal IP addressing changes also that break the links and require that new connections are set-up. Typical availability over any larger single network when in full operation is still only 96-98%. ONE BROADBAND NETWORK DOESN’T DO THE JOB B) DEDICATED NETWORKS The obvious and most used solution to this broadband question is to repeat the previous implementations in a new environment. The communication of public safety has previously been handled by dedicated networks. Starting with RF – radios and digitization, the P25, Tetra and Tetrapol technologies have been implemented. These regional or sometimes country-wide implementations have been built using SUMMARY OF COMMERCIAL NETWORK AVAILABILITY TESTS WAN 1 Ireland Ireland Norway Iceland Number of link fails 172 108 136 39 Uptime percentage 91,62% 96,87% 94,19% 96,47% WAN 2 Number of link fails 245 132 118 36 Uptime percentage 80,29% 94,96% 95,71% 87,25% WAN 3 Number of link fails 200 147 114 N.A. Uptime percentage 93,06% 98,37% 86,97% N.A. Bundled Bundled uptime 99,22% 99,91% 99,50% 99,37% All links fail 617 387 368 75
  3. 3. Page 3 taxpayers’ money. Arguing the case for these networks has been along the lines like “this is the only solution you can trust your life on”. Yet no solution is 100% reliable, and despite little official communication on the subject, we know that existing digital PMR networks are far from being perfect. Given technological advances, it is worth asking whether a dedicated network is really needed purely for voice services? There are novel push to talk possibilities, various MVNO approaches and such that could directly replace the existing networks. When selecting a dedicated network for public safety use, we should consider the cost vs. benefit. What about broadband data then? The approximate number of users on a dedicated network compared to a commercial one is about 0.5%. Dedicated networks builders argue that this small amount of users isn’t interesting enough for commercial operators. So is the answer to build a new, separate network with even higher availability requirements on top of that? Using simple calculations the cost would be 200 times more! How much are we really prepared to pay for these services? There is always a practical limit and I have hard time believing that a dedicated network, especially a broadband one, would be a suitable single solution anywhere. I understand the need for something special in case of network congestion during certain crisis situations or coverage for remote areas where there is no business case for commercial network connectivity. But elsewhere the commercial solution is very interesting. A MULTICHANNEL APPROACH IS NEEDED Everything previously discussed summarizes that utilizing a hybrid of dedicated and commercial networks or a combination of commercial networks raises availability to the accepted level for Public Safety vehicle use. It is then always a matter of resilience that determines the approach selected in each region or country. What we have experienced is that with constant monitoring capabilities and Mobile IP enhanced session persistence, the multiple network approach combined with automatic selection of the best available network matches and even exceeds current needs. The key elements include that any multichannel routing solution needs to have short switch over times between networks and that the sessions need to stay up when the IP addressing changes. The solution must be network agnostic, so that the applications don’t have to know anything about network changes! GOODMILL EXAMPLE: SYSTEMS’ BENEFITS In the Public Safety industry, Goodmill likely has the largest installed base of managed multichannel routers in the world. The solution has been used in nationwide implementations for years with an MBTF of more than 400,000 hours for routers in-use. The remote OTA (over-the air) management capabilities provide a constant online view of the whole fleet’s connectivity and provide access to routers whenever needed. All software features can be updated remotely, quickly and without any specific routing knowledge. The product family consists of multiple routers, from standard desktop models to highly rugged versions with EN50155 vibration tolerance and IP65 environmental protection. Goodmill’s specialized customer base includes the most highly skilled and advanced public safety operators in the world. Goodmill continues to grow, and is dedicated to developing a product range that meets the highest standards now and in the future. WHAT IS ECONOMICALLY VIABLE? I have met many partners and customers who have stated that the multiple network approach is an expensive solution. This is not only due to hardware and software pricing, but also thanks to high network data costs. Let’s look at this in a bit more detail: First of all one should look at the costs of the whole unit on wheels. No matter if it’s an ambulance or police car, one can easily calculate the cost of two persons in the vehicle plus vehicle costs adding up to at least €100 to €200 per hour. The issue with the broadband connectivity is efficiency. Can we use this expense more efficiently if we have a reliable broadband connection in the vehicle? The answer is YES! Availability is increased by using 2-4 WAN links instead of one. This is dependent on area and country. According to our calculations, in most cases merely the availability increase and the associated efficiency it brings offers a return on investment in less than 6 months. We have seen that in a period as short as 7 weeks, savings reported have covered the cost of the system, including all the extra network and equipment costs! The normal availability increase is about 3-4 percent, but up to 18-19 percent increases over a single network solution have been registered! In the table we have concluded some data from a police vehicle used in Scandinavia. The clue is whether the users actually start to do their work on the move. If the connectivity is not good enough, no matter how cheap, the applications will not be used! As an example, Goodmill’s router solution almost always brings availability to a commonly accepted “office level” and thus enables the full use of the efficiency enhancing apps! The availability levels must reach a minimum of 99% and in many cases up to 99.9% is required. This level of availability ensures that office application usage is not negatively affected. The “office on the Item Value Unit Explanation Number of shifts per car / year Resulting hours cars in use / year Saved daily working hours Persons per car 700 8400 1,5 2 No. hours hours persons Car is in use almost all the time Reasons for these savings listed below Saved personal hours per car in a year Estimated hourly salary per person Monthly side costs 33% Hourly personal costs 2100 35,00 11.55 46.55 hours EUR EUR EUR 1,5 hours saved time per person per shift Estimated hourly salary Side cost level in Scandinavia Saved personal costs / year 97755 EUR Vehicle investment / hour Gasolin and other costs / hour Saved vehicle and gasoline / hour 3,17 7,68 1,36 EUR EUR EUR 80 000 EUR, vehicle used for 3 years 150 000 km driven per year Saved vehicle and gasoline / year 11396 EUR Cost of multiple SIM cards per car / year Price of a multi-channel router in one car 720 3500 EUR EUR Two additional flat rate SIM cards Average price of installed router with 2-3 WAN links -including antennas and installation Annual total savings / vehicle 104931 EUR Payback time in days 12 days
  4. 4. Page 4 LTE, 3G, HSDPA HSUPA WCDMA F-OFDM / WiMAX / CDMA WiFi TETRA, IDEN Private Network MIP Gateway System management Headquarters Mobile IP server Application server Database Core network Manufactured by Goodmill Systems Ltd. Tarvonsalmenkatu 17, FIN-02600 Espoo • Finland wheels” gives a huge advantage with hours of effective working time savings each shift! These savings are achieved because the reliability of connectivity is so high that office work can be done in the field. Everything need only be done once, directly in the database. For instance parking tickets and other forms can be completed electronically in the vehicle, avoiding paper to computer admin work. Additionally, identity checks can be made using online photos and videos, avoiding unnecessary trips to the police station. Further advantages include improved safety for officers, for customers and obviously much improved situational awareness all in all! WHY CHOOSE SEAMLESS MULTICHANNEL ROUTING: A SUMMARY It is proven that high data rate and high availability broadband services give a tremendous advantage to police and public safety operations in the field. This is a direct response from users that have been equipped with the technology, some of them for years already. Applications increasingly demand more bandwidth, including ones currently in use. In the future, online streaming video will be the killer application. Additionally, all the intelligence cannot remain in the vehicle computer. This means that safe, high availability access to central databases is a must. A managed multichannel routing solution is the future-proof answer. Huge upfront investments are not needed: one can start easily with multiple commercial operators. The links can be easily upgraded to new dedicated networks when they emerge. A wonderful benefit of Goodmill is that it can use any available network technologies now and in the future, provided that there are modems available. From a monetary point of view the approach is rock solid. In a matter of months or even weeks, the savings made can cover the cost of the whole system. And most importantly: the solution has proven to save not only time and money, but also lives! Author: Juhani Lehtonen, Sales and Marketing Vice President of Goodmill Systems Ltd. GOODMILL SYSTEM OVERVIEW