Mobile Data Terminals (MDT) in police vehicles have been around since the mid 1980′s, but the implementation, support for the infrastructure, and cost to maintain was very expensive. Currently, most mobile data terminal’s are large bulky laptops that aren’t removable from a police vehicle, and require officers to sit in odd positions to do work. Mobile Innovations has helped solve these problems, making an officer truly mobile, yet at a fraction of the cost using BlackBerry Smartphones & PlayBooks .
In 2011, BlackBerry Empire reported the feature overview of the PlayBook incorporated in a patrol unit.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet includes the full BlackBerry Tablet OS, allowing officers to access core and third-party applications on top of the custom tools tailored to police work. All of the existing BlackBerry PlayBook tablet features are included in the device, such as the popular multi-tasking functionality. BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications specific to police work include access to databases, communications, task lists, and more.
- The tablet, even while remaining as a portable and detachable device, is hooked right into the mechanical functions of the vehicle. Pressing the right buttons on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s touch screen can toggle the emergency lights, raise the caution sign on top of the vehicle, control sirens, and eventually, video feeds from the car’s cameras.
- A Bluetooth keyboard is equipped below the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Both of these are mounted onto a swivel that allows each to be positioned in the most convenient way possible for driver, passenger, or both to have access.
How is it connected?
The setup employs the BlackBerry® Bridge™ application to extend a BlackBerry smartphone’s security and data to theBlackBerry PlayBook tablet. This allows an officer to access information on their smartphone when away from the car, and then to continue where they left off on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet once they return. Bluetooth technology is also leveraged to connect the keyboard to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, as well as to aid in interaction between the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and the technology built into the vehicle.
Encased in an Otterbox (www.Otterbox.com), the PlayBook is capable of operating for 6 or more hours on battery alone and is connected to a charger while in the mount of the Patrol Cruiser. Laptops, along with all the other electronics in a Patrol Cruiser (PC) are a huge drain on a PC’s on-board battery, and often officers may find the car battery dead when returning to the vehicle.
The system is connected through a USB smart-hub which is essentially a mini computer server that hosts all the connected equipment. The smart-hub runs Angstrom, a version of Linux designed for embedded systems, and the custom programs that make everything work together are written in the open-source Python programming language. In place of a hard drive the system works off a MicroSD card.
Introducing the Mobile Innovations CaseMaker
Mobile Innovations is set to release the CaseMaker, allowing officers to be even more mobile. Designed with on the go trans-portability, cost effectiveness, simplicity and filling a need for officers to be on the move, the CaseMaker offers all the mobile solutions that would be found in a PC without the need for the vehicle.
Gary Bauer, President at Mobile Innovations, provided BlackBerry Empire with images of the CaseMaker pre-production prior to the official launch later this week. These units displayed do not have the keyboard installed yet, but do enable us to see what the benefits there are for a truly mobile platform.
The cost to deploy a CaseMaker is $2500.00, and utilizes the Business Activity Reporting (BAR) app, allowing staff in the field to enter data right at the moment, and save the information without relying on notes or memory. Information is automatically entered as users open the app, and integration with the server are saved and sent securely to the database.
Five CaseMaker units are due out this week, with four of them already destined for police agencies, and the fifth to be used as a demonstration unit. All the agencies that Mobile Innovations have been working with are interested in using the CaseMaker in a vehicle as an alternative to a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT), and to allow their IT to give it a Bench Test capability (computer permissions to use the device, and to produce thermal printed tickets), one group is interested for Motorcycle Units to test and use the devices.
Mobile Innovations does have a BlackBerry CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) client, and has entered into a relationship with another integrated Computer Aided Dispatch and Record Management System (RMS) vendor in the United States to put a BlackBerry front end onto their system. Currently, Mobile Innovations is working on Near Field Communications (NFC) for quick and easy pairing, and on getting approval for the PlayBook for Canadian RMS and Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) data.
PlayBook 2.0 Benefits – “Massive!” – Gary Bauer, President Mobile Innovations
Gary Bauer, when asked about the benefits of PlayBook 2.0, responded with, “Massive – fusion, balance, Tablet Enterprise Activation, the ability to push software configurations to PlayBook devices, and to restrict them with policies from the server. ” All of this is necessary before Mobile Innovations can use the PlayBook in a production, operational enviroment, and with these features now present, it is a matter of updating the Net Connection Authorization Change Request (NCACR) which obtains approval from the security division of CPIC, and police agencies network and server acquiring Mobile Innovations own police server. CPIC has control over those policies and decisions which police agencies have no control over due to security permissions.
Utilizing BlackBerry Smartphone’s and the PlayBook, Mobile Innovations has combined mobility, portability, information management and cost effectiveness. Mobile Innovations has truly produced award winning effective tools for Law Enforcement. A full press release will be issued later this week with video and more images of the CaseMaker.
Gary Bauer, President and Owner of Mobile Innovations may be reached at [email protected]
Visit the Mobile Innovations Website at http://mobinnoco.com/
Additional Source: blueline.ca