Trends in civil police, fire and ambulance operational practices have been clear over the previous decade; less reliance on centralised command & control; enhanced situational awareness, striving towards the holy grail of the ‘common operating picture’; ever increasing sharing of rich media between the field and the command, and within field resources themselves.
All of these trends heavily rely on modern information technologies, and most on broadband communications, yet almost 20 years after the first commercial 3G networks went live, mobile broadband is still not a routine part of daily professional life for most first responders. We are struggling to find viable models to make 4G available to users still stuck with GPRS–era technology, when our children are about to move to 5G, and 6G is already in the labs.
A different, disruptive approach is needed. A recognition that the future of critical mobile communications lies in leveraging and sharing the commercially available networks, and in finding ways to do that with the needed grade of criticality.