Emergency services need to consider today not only how that connectivity will be delivered, but also how to efficiently incorporate so many new devices into a Wireless WAN (WWAN) infrastructure. Hint: widely available LTE and 5G, centralised cloud-based network management, and purpose-built wireless edge routers.
When the deployment of connected fleet technology devices includes complicated hardware and cloud-based components, there is a greater chance for costly mistakes that can compound over time. This is especially true for devices utilising SIM cards for cellular connectivity.
When deploying new devices, the responsibility for their registration frequently falls on the user. This means that all the steps required to configure the router — including inputting serial numbers into a cloud management system, registering SIM cards with a connectivity management platform (CMP), and more — have to happen prior to provisioning. When multiplied over dozens, hundreds, or thousands of devices, workloads can be not only challenging, but also expensive.
Cradlepoint NetCloud Cellular Intelligence for 5G includes a live view of 5G cellular health; 5G data usages tracking and forecasting; location tracking with integrated 5G coverage maps; speed and performance validation over 5G; and a health and reporting dashboard. In addition, Cradlepoint recently announced Cellular Intelligence which includes SIM Management based on the integration of Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator with Cradlepoint’s NetCloud and other databases. Customers can now activate and manage cellular routers, SIMs, and data plans from a single pane of glass.
By choosing a zero-touch deployment option for vehicle routers — where settings, configurations, and firmware come pre-provisioned — emergency services can enjoy a much faster time to service with fewer touchpoints per device.
Even after eliminating deployment bottlenecks, emergency services organisations still face fleet management questions regarding ongoing connectivity, router and IoT support. Managing the network using a device-by-device approach may work for small fleets, but it’s a model that doesn’t scale due to the compounding complexity, time and resource requirements, and the potential for errors and security flaws.
To effectively manage in-vehicle networks and connected devices across a fleet, organisations need a network management solution that is cloud-based, integrates with the existing WWAN deployment, is accessible from anywhere, and provides easy access to essential data generated by onboard routers and IoT systems.
US-based Care Ambulance Service relies on its fleet of 300 ambulances and support vehicles, staffed by highly trained first responders, to save lives in Southern California. However, they can’t do their jobs effectively unless their dispatchers at headquarters have access to vehicle location data that is always up to date. Care Ambulance’s IT team deployed Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for mobile throughout their entire fleet. The service includes routing, a WiFi access point, GPS and telematics integration, WiFi-as-WAN, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via an in-vehicle LTE router with 24x7 support and a limited lifetime warranty. They monitor, manage and troubleshoot the entire network remotely through Cradlepoint NetCloud Service’s single-pane-of-glass platform — efficiently keeping emergency personnel securely connected to the patient care records and specialised tools they need to protect communities.
Extensibility is another key feature of cloud-based router management solutions, allowing fleets to employ a wide range of telematics in LTE- and 5G-connected vehicles.
Like many first responder organisations, Care Ambulance uses Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) to match its vehicles and field personnel with the right emergencies, which greatly improves response time. CAD is only as reliable, though, as the GPS-based location data that is constantly being sent from the vehicles to headquarters. Unfortunately, the company’s previous connectivity solution, a 3G platform, routinely dropped its connection. Care Ambulance Service replaced its 3G routers with Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for mobile, which includes cloud management of purpose-built routers featuring embedded LTE.
In-vehicle Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) receive emergency call information from the CAD system and, using always-connected GPS data, automatically send that crew to the situation nearest their current location. This all-in-one cloud-managed solution includes a built-in stateful firewall and WiFi.
With always-on Cradlepoint LTE connectivity and reliable real-time vehicle location data, Care Ambulance trusts that its CAD system is dispatching ambulances and first responders to the locations where they are needed most.
Costs incurred from unplanned downtime repairing vehicles and connected fleet technology can quickly balloon and become unsustainable.
Manager gives Care Ambulance’s IT professionals remote access to WAN analytics, which allows them to troubleshoot coverage issues from headquarters rather than driving out into the field or pulling vehicles out of the line of duty. The team pushes out security and firmware updates to the entire fleet with one click, all remotely.
“In the past, the network solutions in our ambulances received updates twice a year during a lengthy, in-person process. With reliable LTE solutions, we can push out security and firmware updates over the air at any time,” said Ben Baker, Director of Communications & Information Technology at Care Ambulance Service.
Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for Mobile and wireless edge routers unlock the power of connected fleets, enabling highly reliable access to applications such as IoT, GPS and telematics in emergency services. Cradlepoint solutions help IT teams and fleet managers better serve citizens, improve organisational operations, and save money.
Image credit: iStock.com/MattGush