It seems like an obvious market opportunity: body-worn technology and first responders. Turns out, though, that the first-response industry is extremely demanding and conservative. It spends limited taxpayer money, procurement cycles are long and competitive (and not-infrequently clubby), interconnectivity is a must, and system failures can literally cost lives.
Civilians would be surprised at the complexity of the first response ecosystem. One of Center Ring Media‘s earlier projects was a magazine for emergency medical commanders, and the art and science of just the physical response — getting materiel in place and instantly setting up interagency command centers — is mind-bogglingly complex.
Intel just announced a Wearable Smart Gateway, developed with Mutualink, to bring wearable tech into the first responder community. Specifically, the WSG is designed to hook wearable devices into responders’ communications networks. Making the matter even more complex, those networks are a moving target. A national interconnected communications network devoted to first responders is in the process of being rolled out right now; it’s that network and the bandwidth it requires that’s had an impact on recent U.S. wireless spectrum auctions.
A recent international training exercise called Urban Shield served as a trial for Mutualink’s first WSG gateway devices, based on the Intel Edison platform, streaming live video, heart rate, and location data to the command center. Intel says they’re hoping for commercial rollout in 2016.