Technology is fast moving into the forefront in how public safety agencies do their business, and 2014 will very likely see more surprises and amazing tools coming to light when the media gets wind of how they work. Both software and hardware advances have made significant leaps in what public safety agencies can use them for doing their business. Here are some of the areas that will very likely see lots of attention in 2014.
Data Mining and IT Forensics
Law enforcement is definitely finding huge success and breakthroughs in white collar crime-fighting via the use of data mining tools and forensics. Where some crimes were almost untouchable twenty years ago, prosecutors are now finding goldmines of evidence by being able to filter through thousands of emails and data records for smoking gun documents. This trend will continue as both regulatory and criminal laws push for greater tracking, transparency, compliance and reporting. The tools work and law enforcement agencies are definitely emboldened by the results they are seeing in court.
Working Apps for Field Personnel
Smart device apps are still a wide, fertile ground for public safety agencies that are just now beginning to dip their toes into the mobile communication format. The most common tools available tend to be code references so personnel can find regulation information from alarm systems quickly via Smartphone or tablet. However, apps may soon expand into the training world, as well. Mobile apps are also starting to play a big part in live reconnaissance on the ground when determining landmarks, perimeters, and field conditions during a widespread emergency situation, as well.
Aerial Drones and Related Usage
Public safety agencies have also been in the news quite a bit with their experimentation and adoption of drones. They are being dubbed other, more politically generic names such as aerial surveillance equipment or unmanned aerial support resources or similar, but they’re drones nonetheless. Whether it is to track the movements of suspects on the ground or to see hotspots on a forest fire when smoke blocks regular aircraft from flying, drones are doing their part. So 2014 will definitely see an expansion of these tools and their use as well as legal definitions being created through case law about how to use drones.
The FBI seems to have developed miniscule, remote surveillance devices with practical field operation applications. This technology came to the public’s attention in early 2013 during a hostage standoff with a suspect held up underground. The federal agency is not providing much detail on the matter, but robotic science has been examining the potential of small surveillance tools for years, particularly in the form of pseudo-bugs. 2014 may see a solid proliferation of similar tools.
Anyone who is considering entering the field of technology as applied by public safety agencies is going to see a lot of opportunities in the next few years. Many agencies are being pushed to do more with less financial resources, and technology is one of the areas which can be a “force multiplier” when applied correctly. That’s attractive to safety agencies that can otherwise be spread far too thin with budget cuts. So tech companies, IT graduates and tech-savvy types who can bridge the potential between a tech tool and how it can be used in an emergency incident will definitely see lots of opportunities in the coming year.