City vehicle goes high tech to become hot spots
Feb 28, 2012 (The Newberry Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The City of Newberry is turning vehicles into computer hot spots or nodes.
The city has contracted with In Motion, which is a leader in flexible, secure and enduring mobile communications to implement the onBoard System to leverage public and private network infrastructure for a citywide VoIP system that will improve response to citizen requests.
In layman's terms the new system allows the city's vehicles essentially become mobile hot spots, or nodes, that mesh with the city's wireless computer network and, when outside the current footprint of the network, the ability to maintain connectivity with it through a cellular (Verizon) air card.
"We are deploying this technology in our patrol cars, fire trucks, sanitation trucks and utility line vehicles; giving the personnel utilizing those vehicles access to voice, video and data modes of communication," said Newberry City Manager Jeff Shacker.
By having the system city workers can file reports, access work orders and other documents, and view maps, photographic images and the like while in the field and without need of a return trip to the office.
"We are excited about the potential of the system," said Shacker. "It allows us to be more productive and more efficient and will increasingly do so as we continue to integrate within our various work processes new and better technology."
Newberry operates a wireless mesh network and VoIP system to support the police and fire, public works, utility, parks, recreation and tourism departments.
The City of Newberry is working to maximum network performance and coverage by using multiple network technologies -- 3G, 4.9GHz and 2.4GHz.
With the mesh network deployed across the town, local leaders wanted to enable city workers to have an office in their vehicles.
Before deploying the onBoard System, city workers had to be near an access point or return to the office to download information and complete reports.
Without access to multiple networks and fast switching, VoIP could not have been extended to mobile workers.
"We looked at other solutions which were more expensive and took hours to configure and implement, and In Motion Technology has proven to be a committed partner in our success," said Marc Regier, information services director for the City of Newberry. "The onBoard System will help us be more responsive to the needs of our citizens and it will help us improve our productivity across all departments."
The onBoard System is a secure, manageable mobile communications system which creates a vehicle area network, designed to support broadband applications in a mobile environment. The system enables real-time and bulk data transfers, and transports data for video, voice, vehicle location, mobile office and vehicle health monitoring. It provides multiple device connectivity, end to end security, support for multiple networks and mobility management.
The onBoard Mobile Gateway turns vehicles into mobile wireless hotspots, connecting tablets, handhelds, laptops, barcode readers, and video cameras in and around the vehicle over any wireless network.
The onBoard Mobility Manager is a powerful network management system that allows operations to manage and monitor the health of the vehicle fleet -- including remote configuration, network coverage, and vehicle diagnostic data.
The onBoard Connection Manager is a mobile-optimized VPN server, providing IP mobility and sub-second switching in a multi-network environment designed to work with the mobile gateway and network management system.
This complete system provides the fastest, simplest, and most cost-effective way to extend the enterprise network to the vehicle fleet.
"We're pleased to be working with the City of Newberry, where technology leadership is evident in the city's infrastructure, and enables leaders to be innovative in their approach to public service," said Tony Morris, In Motion Technology's vice president of sales and marketing.
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