Friend of the Fire Service

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Written by
Will Holmes

Emergency Services Corporate Sales Manager for Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

Friend of the Fire Service

One sector benefitting the most from the introduction of rugged mobile computing devices has to be Fire and Field Services organisations. The TOUGHBOOK 33, a 2-in-1 detachable notebook, is the particular work hero of choice. This model is being used as the Mobile Data Terminal across Europe and by 35 different fire services in the UK alone.

So just what makes this device so special? Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service in the UK is one of the latest emergency services organisations to roll-out the device. Norfolk is set to be an early adopter of the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) with the deployment of its Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) solution across a fleet of 66 vehicles using the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 33 devices and Gigabit-class ruggedised LTE routers provided by Cradlepoint.

The fire service has deployed Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 33 tablets in the front cabs of its fire appliances as Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) and Cradlepoint NetCloud and IBR1700 Series routers for 4G LTE connectivity via EE, Vodafone and the forthcoming Emergency Services Network. Panorama Antennas are fitted to the vehicle roofs to optimise connectivity. These solution components were supplied by, long-term Panasonic partner and leading Cradlepoint distributor in Europe.

The MDTs are used for receiving and providing vital information on the way to an incident, such as sending status updates, risk assessment requirements, details on the occupancy of the premises and nearby hydrant locations. The solution also creates a 100m, wireless local area network (WLAN) around the vehicles, providing firefighters with the ability to remove the MDT from the cab and take it with them during incidents. The device can then be used for continued communication with the command centre at the scene of an incident or to assist fire crews with detailed schematics of buildings or vehicles to help rescue trapped people.

Once outside of the “Wi-Fi Bubble”, the TOUGHBOOK 33 has the capability to move to its own ESN Connect capable modem to continue communication if required. NetCloud Manager, part of the Cradlepoint NetCloud Service, is now being used to manage the mobile broadband network, local Wi-Fi network and router devices, providing the visibility to monitor location, network uptime, security, and cellular reception and usage through at-a-glance dashboards. The Service also enables routers to intelligently handle traffic flows across multiple cellular connections to ensure optimal performance, including over nationwide public safety networks like the ESN.

The solution components are all certified for use with the new Emergency Services Network, set to replace the current Tetra Network used by the emergency services in Great Britain. ESN will transform emergency services’ mobile working, especially in remote areas and at times of network congestion, with a single platform for sharing data and imagery and by enabling faster adoption of new mobile applications.

Latest generation even better

As a result of the popularity of the TOUGHBOOK 33, Panasonic has doubled down on its latest generation of the rugged notebook by delivering 40% faster performance, double the memory and double the storage of its predecessor all at a similar price point.

With the addition of a Quad Core 10th generation Intel® Core® i5-10310U vPro Processor, the second generation detachable notebook delivers up to 40% more computing performance whilst maintaining its 20-hour work life with user hot swappable, extended twin batteries.

Memory has been doubled from 8GB to 16GB RAM as standard (optional 32GB). Storage has been boosted to 512GB (from 256GB) with the NVMe Opal SSD, which self-encrypts in real-time, freeing-up processing capacity and offering enhanced data protection to information sensitive industries. A quick release, removable Solid State Drive is available on a project basis for those organisations requiring even further data security. Other additional enhancements include the latest WiFi (Intel Wireless 6 AX 201) and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and a USB Type-CTM port with charging capabilities.

With this model so relied upon by key workers across Europe, these second generation enhancements ensure the device has been future-proofed and will remain a valued friend of the fire service for many years to come.

Check out the latest TOUGHBOOK 33 here

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