Mobility

Samsung, CDCR partnership brings secure mobile communications to first responders

New first responder technology uses Samsung Knox to improve security for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees.

Samsung Electronics America announced a new technology and partnership for first responders today at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Orlando, FL.

Samsung is partnering with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) Enterprise Information Services Division to deploy a new mobile solution that supplements existing public safety communications systems. It's a customized product that Samsung developed for the CDCR.

The CDCR has gone through the testing phases and is now deploying the Samsung solution to all of its law enforcement personnel throughout the state. The technology includes an Agent Alert Messaging app so that CDCR officers can communicate with Command Central, and an SOS application that they can use in crisis situations, said Reg Jones, US head of public safety for Samsung Electronics America.

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Agent Alert is a secure messaging app that uses Samsung Knox Configure for Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The app can be used on the Galaxy smartphone or on a web console. This is a move away from computer-aided dispatch (CAD) in an effort to make communications more consistent.

"Knox Configure is allowing us to take all of the Samsung devices that are deployed by CDCR and we can dynamically push the agent alert app down to those devices. Any times there is an update to the application, such as an upgrade in the software or a new feature that's been added, we can also push that update dynamically down to the devices and it allows us also that management and security capability that you've been briefed on in the past with our Knox platform. So really adding in Knox made this a much more compelling use case for CDCR when considering developing this custom app and how they would manage it and how they would deploy it over the devices from their personnel," he said. Jones said, "Now first responders have capabilities using their smartphones to have both a persistent connection to broadband where they're given prioritization as well as preemption and quality of service. And those three enable the first responders to have access to the cloud, access to rich data, dynamic information that informs their day-to-day workflow, from the moment they sign in and start the day to those situations in which they're mitigating an emergency and responding to needs, help from community members."

The app was developed as CDCR was working with Samsung to deploy devices and they discussed how a secure messaging platform was needed. "That really was the birth of the Agent Alert application," Jones said.

agent-alert-web-console.png

The Agent Alert web console app.

Image: Samsung

The layout of the app is easy to use, with a clean, intuitive design. It was designed for first responders who are accustomed to using mobile devices and expect to be able to have the same tools in their job as they do in their personal life, Jones explained.

"What we've designed, jointly with CDCR, is this beautiful touch layout that delivers real time secure messaging to individual members of their personnel as well as enables a two way conversation from those personnel back to central command. And it's all based around this alerting mechanism," Jones said.

alert-screen-samsung.jpg

The home screen shows the level of an alert.

Image: Samsung

The alerts are ranked by color and number to indicate how critical they are, so that officers can quickly assess a situation. "Red is level 3. Level 3 is the most severe, most critical. Level 2 is yellow, or amber. That is mid-range. And then level 1 is green, which means it's oftentimes a general announcement," Jones said.

"As you quickly look at your phone you can see the type of alert card that has come in. As you click on the alert card, and look out the middle screen, you'll receive some quick, top glance information about the alert that includes a brief description of the situation, the location of the situation, as well as some quick routing information—how long does it take for you to get there, how far away is it. Because it's of course leveraging the smartphone, now you can click into one of these alert cards and find both more details as well as click on to a map for dynamic routing," he said.

It allows officers to know where their colleagues are, and how far away they are in the case of an emergency. It also allows them to communicate quickly without delay.

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Personnel have real time awareness and communication via a secure chat room.

Image: Samsung

There's a PC interface for Command Central with a desktop app featuring a dynamic map and real time locations of personnel so that those in close proximity to a situation can be grouped together easily in a chat room to communicate about a crisis.

Jones said the next step is he hopes to be able to customize the app for other corrections institutions across the country.

"Public safety is a very special place for Samsung, because it is a realm in which there is a need for new technology. And that new technology needs to be simple and easy to use. And that's because in the day in the life of a first responder they are balancing a variety of priorities and a variety of tools. And whether they are engaged in their community or they're driving a vehicle or even an alternative vehicle, such as a bicycle or Segway, or they're off duty, providing the tool set to them, to have access to information in real time is really a critical element that Samsung is taking on and ensuring that that's done in a way that is simple, accessible, that it's efficient and that it's secure," he said.

Other items Samsung featured at the IACP conference include:

Mobile First with Samsung DeX. Samsung DeX, short for "desktop experience," provides a PC-like experience from a Galaxy device. Partners including Havis, D&R Electronics, iKey, Xenarc, Gamber-Johnson, RAM Mounts, and Lectronix will demonstrate how they are leveraging DeX in their public safety solutions.

Hands-Free Geolocation and Communication. Watches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Samsung Gear will be on display. These devices play a key role in public safety, allowing hands-free communication in the field, as well as GPS geolocation services, messaging, voice communications and SOS alerts—all without needing the smartphone close by.

Computer-aided dispatch. Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure, Motorola Solutions, Central Square Technologies (TriTech), RapidDeploy and Tyler Technologies will demonstrate CAD solutions on Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

Records management. SceneDoc will showcase its applications that leverage Samsung mobile technology for data and evidence collection and streamlined electronic citation process. Mobile Innovations and NicheRMS will also demonstrate their mobile solutions in the space.

Advanced command and control. Blueforce Development will show how it is leveraging IoT and cloud connectivity to deliver advanced command and control capabilities.

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About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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