MARIETTA, GA - The City of Marietta won a 2010 Excalibur Award from the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) for its successful use mobile resource management technology across its City departments (police, fire, water, and lights). The City utilizes Utility, Inc.'s Rocket mobile communications appliance solution, according to a release from Utility.
The annual awards recognize Georgia companies and organizations that demonstrate exemplary competency in using technology to excel in their industries. Winners were selected from numerous applications within the State and chosen based on a number of criteria, including: complexity of the business problem; creativity of the technology solution used; likelihood of success; and return on investment.
City Wanted Multi-access Communications Platform
The City needed a technology that would keep police officers in the field well connected, informed, and safe. Before the Rocket mobile communications appliance solution was implemented, officers relied on laptops and 19.2K data modems for accessing applications and important information such as Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC) record queries, mug shots, building drawings and robust Geographic Information System (GIS) datasets when in the field.
"Most of the data could not be pushed across the 19.2K connection and required printing at the station or was not used at all," said Ronald Barrett, Director of MIS/GIS for the City of Marietta and Marietta Board of Lights and Water. "While the data modems and laptops worked okay, if the laptop turned off, dispatchers did not know that vehicle's location. The data modems were slow, costly, unreliable, and allowed only limited text messaging for vehicle-to-vehicle communication."
The City installed a Rocket in each police vehicle. Implementation took just five days and only required the work of five employees. Today, each vehicle equipped with a Rocket has high-speed connectivity via an off-the-shelf cellular data card and GPS intelligence, allowing the City to track vehicles in real-time and to develop and use Web-based applications, which can be accessed in the vehicles. Applications, protocols, and other information are virtual and administered remotely by the IT staff, eliminating the need to physically update applications on the laptops in each vehicle, according to the release.
Positive Results Drive Implementations Across Other City Departments
After realizing the benefits of the Rocket, the City decided it could work in other departments as well. After the police vehicles, it was implemented in the City's water utility vehicles. Before the Rocket, water employees would drive into the office to pick up work orders, complete the order, and then bring back their laptops to access the City's Wi-Fi network or LAN to update the records. At best case, the database was synchronized three times each day. Today, workers are able to access work orders in real-time, as well as update the status of service calls immediately from their vehicles.
Shortly thereafter, Marietta further expanded the Rocket solution to fire and City vehicles. For fire vehicles specifically, the City was able to provide access to building pre-plans and real-time GIS information. The City can now also plan for future business applications that could not run on the previous legacy infrastructure.
Today, the Rocket provides wireless connectivity and GPS to 91 vehicles in the City of Marietta and installing the devices has resulted in a hardware cost savings of more than 60 percent, according to the release.