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#MobilityFirst: Doing More, With Less

Speed and access to information are critical in times of public need. And as law enforcement agencies seek ways to better protect their communities, many are relying on new and emerging mobile technologies to keep their officers informed and on the move.

“It's about bringing the office to the officer,” says Dave Brown, CEO of FSET Information Technology & Services. “A lot of the technology you're seeing in law enforcement today is focused on providing officers with the necessary tools to work seamlessly and in real-time with their co-workers in the field, as opposed to running back and forth to the detachment.”

For years, the solution has taken the form of in-car Mobile Data Terminals or MDT’s. More recently, however, advances in mobile technologies are equipping officers with handheld devices, apps, and integrated systems to perform their responsibilities on-the-go.

#MobilityFirst: A Case Study

FSET's #MobilityFirst initiative is one modern solution that bears closer investigation. Through it, FSET is taking the lead in uniting tech leaders and mobility specialists to provide a truly mobile solution for the law enforcement community.

“FSET brings the entire stack together,” says Brown. “We've partnered with a lot of trusted names in the tech community and FSET is providing the back-end infrastructure to bring their ideas and technologies together.”

Developed in close collaboration with Canada's law enforcement stakeholders, the technology effectively replicates the functionality of a typical MDT through a Samsung Galaxy mobile device to enable a genuine desktop experience, or what Samsung refers to as DeX. This provides officers with a mobile tool that can manage key enforcement functions in the field whether it be on their hip, docked within the cruiser, or “plugged” into an external display and used as a replacement for their PC back at the detachment.

“Now, when you plug that Samsung Galaxy device into a monitor, it recognizes the presence of an external display and it goes into DeX mode giving you a Windows like Android desktop experience” notes Brown.

In developing the #MobilityFirst initiative, FSET was challenged to integrate key Windows desktop applications that weren't currently designed for mobile devices and were unlikely to be any time soon. To overcome this, FSET incorporated Citrix Workspace providing the members with Windows published desktops and applications on an Android device.

“The idea is to provide front line staff with as many of or all of the tools they need to be able to do business while in the field through a single officer issued device. This allows them to remain within the community where they are most visible and most effective,” adds Brown.

Partners in Policing

FSET2Bringing the #MobilityFirst initiative online required a team approach. 

In addition to partnering with Citrix, Mobile Innovations, and Samsung, FSET has aligned with other best in class tech industry partners. These include NetMotion, to deliver secure and persistent connectivity; IGEL, as a secure Read Only Edge OS which can be used to re-provision existing hardware as thin clients; Cradlepoint, for LTE connectivity through branch security appliances and Internet of Things (IoT) within the cruisers; and Axon and Mobile Innovations for the native Android applications on the devices as part of the mobility “stack” or suite of applications used by the agencies.

Another key contributor to FSET's #MobilityFirst initiative is Entrust, a software company that has helped Brown and his team align its solutions with Canada's law enforcement security standards in proposing the use of PIV (Personal Identity Verification) and PIV-D (Derived Credentials).

“Complying with Canadian law enforcement policies was a big hurdle,” says Brown. “We had to figure out how to deliver multi-factor PKI-based [public key infrastructure] authentication on a mobile device. In collaboration with the OPP PKI unit and Entrust, we were able to deliver a Proof of Concept through PIV-D using Entrust’s IdentityGuard platform.  

In the field

FSET's #MobilityFirst initiative is more than a proof of concept. FSET paired with Treaty Three Police Service (T3PS) in Northwestern Ontario to put its mobile handheld systems to the test.

“We became the first service to do so,” Deputy Police Chief Jeff Skye reported in an interview with Blue Line magazine. "It just makes sense. You have your Samsung device with you, and if you happen to jump into a cruiser, you put it in a docking station, and away you go. All you need to install is a monitor and keyboard, and you're off to the races." 

Brown adds that results from the test run proved promising for FSET's technology, noting, “ Deputy Chief Skye and the Police Services Board has – and continues to – be an advocate, and was very open to the idea and vision that we shared with them in partnering together on this. That is something we're all very thankful and appreciative of.”

Moving forward, FSET believes its technologies like this that will continue to help agencies operate more effectively in what has become an ever-evolving (and ever-demanding) field.

See #MobilityFirst in action at FSET's Youtube page or book a demo contact us today!

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