Verizon Frontline's second first responder public safety communications survey revealed first responders expect to see a nearly 25% increase in dependence on connected vehicles within the next five years.  -  Photo: Canva/Verizon Frontline/Government Fleet

Verizon Frontline's second first responder public safety communications survey revealed first responders expect to see a nearly 25% increase in dependence on connected vehicles within the next five years.

Photo: Canva/Verizon Frontline/Government Fleet

Verizon Frontline revealed the results of its second Public Safety Communications Survey, showing an expected increase in the use of connected vehicles.

The survey was commissioned by Lexipol on behalf of Verizon Frontline among a national sample of 1,825 first responders, including fire, EMS, police, and public safety answering points (PSAP)/emergency communications centers (ECC).

Tech on the Job

When asked which communication tools first responders use on a daily basis, the vast majority (92%) said they use smartphones. That was followed by mobile radios (89%), tablets (47%), internet-connected vehicles (41%), drones (8%), and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) (1%). The survey revealed that first responders expect a nearly 25% increase in dependence on connected vehicles within the next five years.

Internet-connected vehicles are a top priority for public safety agencies, particularly for EMS and PSAP/ECC first responders. Fire departments had the most diverse priorities, with more firefighters selecting AR/VR training as a priority and less selecting smartphones and internet-connected vehicles than other first responder groups.

Based on the survey results, network reliability and speed are the most important factors for first responders when selecting a public safety communications provider. Those two things are expected to remain the most important factors over the next five years. First responders also expect to become more swayed by costs when making network provider decisions in the next five years, according to the survey.

First responders' top three concerns with tech on the job are an unreliable network, outdated tools, and lack of interoperability. A stronger connection in the field is the number one feature first responders said they would like to get with their current communications technology, as well as the ability to share location information and quickly upload/download in the field.

More than half of the respondents said they believe 5G will continue to be an important priority to the future of public safety.

Readiness & Crisis Response

The survey revealed a reliable and resilient network is the most important consideration during emergencies, with interoperability and durable/rugged devices taking the second and third place spots, respecitively. 

Most first responders in the survey believe their agency is prepared technology-wise to immediately respond to a natural disaster or crisis. Law enforcement feels the most prepared, while EMS, fire and PSAP/ECC responded less confidently.

You can view the survey results by clicking here.

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