New Survey Outlines Technology Needs, Challenges for Public Safety
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | Comments
Lack of funding and resources such as expert staff are the biggest challenges facing public-safety IT and communications managers, according to a recent survey.

MissionCritical Communications magazine teamed with Sierra Wireless to survey our readers and determine what's keeping technology professionals up at night. The survey asked questions around communications professionals’ roles and responsibilities, as well as challenges with respect to existing and new technology.

The survey found 46% of respondents said budgets and funding were their biggest constraints, and resources and expertise were cited by 45% of respondents as their biggest constraints. Respondents also noted a lack of technology strategy and user training as their top frustrations, along with staff and resources.

The survey respondents represented public-safety agencies of varying sizes and types including police, fire, state, sheriff, federal, EMS and emergency management. Their roles were mainly communications, administration and IT leaders and specialists.

Most agencies that responded (53%) store their data in an off-site secure location. About 21% each of agencies store their data either in the cloud or an on-premises server. About 5% of respondents use a mix of in-house and cloud data storage.

Security (58%) and network capacity (23%) are the two biggest challenges for the respondents. For respondents that use the cloud, security and connectivity were each cited by 27% of respondents, followed by network capacity and data management, each at 20%.

The top 10 technologies that respondents want to know more about included new public-safety applications, push-to-talk (PTT) for smart devices, device-to-device technology, CAD-to-CAD sharing, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), 5G, artificial intelligence, real-time video, drones and predictive analytics software. Next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) was the top technology concern, cited by 18% of respondents.

Training and education, resources, and new technology and equipment are the three things that would have the biggest impact on improving IT efficiency and productivity, the respondents said.

More details on the data, along with key takeaways for public safety and the vendor community were covered in a November webinar, which is now available to view on demand.

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