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2024 Trends: Technologies That Will Shape Public Safety in the New Year and Beyond

The public safety sector has been undergoing a significant transformation, and we don’t expect it to slow down in 2024. Technology continues to reshape how agencies operate and engage with their communities to foster safety and better outcomes. Let’s explore the upcoming trends in public safety surrounding technology that we’re seeing for 2024. We’ll also discuss how it's changing the way we protect our communities. 


Connected Responders: Technology's Impact on Those Who Serve 

In the era of handheld communication and real-time information, public safety agencies recognize the significance of mobile technology as an effective means to connect with and support their communities, especially during emergencies. Mobile devices have the capability to enhance emergency response and reshape the landscape of agency operations. 


Mobile devices enable responders to stay in contact with command centers, dispatchers, and each other. Real-time data supports situational awareness, streamlines administrative work, and lets them feel less alone in the field. However, sometimes, applications on the devices require an adjustment from working on its desktop version. The next solution iteration is an experience that facilitates contiguous workflow across devices. Ensuring that responders can leverage tools that best fit their environment without sacrificing performance is key in this shifting focus toward the mobility of people. For example, Versaterm kept this in mind when developing mobile versions of its CAD and RMS. These applications have mobile extensions that reduce additional training while providing access to the same information as they would have at the station. The solutions also offer further capabilities such as a digital notebook or camera scanning. 


Deploying securely installed applications can transform department-issued phones, turning them into real-time body or in-vehicle video cameras. This enhancement not only offers supervisors heightened situational awareness but also provides better oversight of evolving events, enabling a more coordinated and effective response. In situations where the command center loses verbal contact with a responder, a live video feed can prove critical to their safety. Another benefit of mobile devices is the rapid advancements that agencies can use to future-proof their camera programs. 


Mobile technologies have not only revolutionized daily communication but are redefining public safety agency operations. The devices and applications help ensure vital information can reach the right people at the right time. As public safety is a collaborative effort, often involving multiple agencies and jurisdictions, technology can break traditional barriers to communication by putting the right tools in the hands of responders. Through strategic use of mobile connectivity alongside innovative technology, agencies can enhance the service experience at every touchpoint and empower staff in the field, ultimately contributing to foster safer communities and more just outcomes. 


Real-Time Safety Ecosystem: A Connected Future 

Picture this: data from various sources—traffic cameras, wearable devices on responders, and more—all seamlessly accessible by responders. The result? Real-time insights that empower decision-makers to respond swiftly and strategically. From monitoring critical incidents to predicting patterns in crime, the IoT revolutionizes how we harness and analyze data. 


The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken center stage in public safety and goes beyond simply connecting devices to the Internet. It refers to an interconnected network that collects and shares real-time data to enhance emergency response and management. By making these connections, responders can benefit from improved situational awareness and collaboration in the field. IoT is no longer just a buzzword; it is reshaping the speed and accuracy of decision-making in public safety. One of the central IoT applications gaining traction in public safety today is responder-worn devices. Tools like smartphone body-worn cameras, combined with IoT technology, are being used more frequently as a method of providing valuable data to incident commanders, ensuring the safety of responders in challenging environments. By supplying the right individuals with relevant information in near real-time, agencies are driving successful outcomes through more efficient operations. 


The AI Revolution: Language Models Set to Dominate Public Safety Landscape 

It’s impossible to disregard the effects that AI has had on our everyday lives. However, how has this rapidly evolving technology impacted agencies in the public safety sector? 


While AI has a place within public safety, it’s important to find a delicate balance in its use. The introduction of AI in public safety should be viewed as an augmentation of human capabilities, not a replacement. While AI excels in processing vast amounts of data quickly, human intuition, empathy, and decision-making skills remain irreplaceable. The key is to integrate AI as a supportive tool that enhances, rather than replaces, the expertise of public safety professionals. There are already many purposeful use cases for AI within public safety that reflect this support, ranging from non-emergency reporting to video redaction.  


Leveraging this technology and its capabilities successfully lies with focusing on targeted, specific outcomes rather than using it without a defined purpose. The benefits of AI in public safety have become particularly apparent through large language models, or LLMs. These systems are revolutionizing crime prevention and detection through rapid data analysis to identify patterns that would traditionally take weeks or months to uncover. Especially as agencies are dealing with more information than ever before, these LLMs are primed to make a significant difference in public safety throughout the new year. 


Focusing on the accuracy and security of AI in public safety is also critical, as public safety professionals handle large amounts of sensitive data daily. AI technology must inherit this responsibility and operate within the highest standards of security. The risk of data breaches and privacy issues are real threats that have implications for the safety and well-being of our communities. Public safety agencies must adopt a proactive stance on security, continually assessing and fortifying their digital infrastructure as AI technology evolves. 


Elevating Emergency Response: The Cloud's Role in Future Public Safety Initiatives 

Cloud technology is another subject that is continuing to rapidly evolve within public safety. The role of the cloud has become more prevalent than ever before, with agencies recognizing that this move is not just a tech upgrade; it's a game-changer. 


The cloud is helping to break down the barriers of physical infrastructure. With data and applications securely stored in the cloud, public safety professionals can access critical information from anywhere with an internet connection. This mobility transforms the ability of agencies to respond swiftly and effectively, whether in the field or at the command center. 


While core platforms, like CAD and RMS, will continue being moved into the cloud, 2024 will create opportunities for more systems to be migrated over. This shift will help create the foundation for an agile and responsive public safety ecosystem, where operations are modernized through improved information-sharing capabilities. 


Shaping the Future of Public Safety 

The 2024 outlook for public safety is one where technology continues to play an ever-expanding role. As we embrace the possibilities and address the challenges, it is important that we ensure technology is harnessed to make our communities safer, more secure, and better prepared for whatever the future may hold. Stay tuned for part two of this blog series, where we discuss innovative approaches to support and service that we expect to be prominent within public safety in the new year. 

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