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Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service Deploys ESN-Ready Mobile Communications Solution

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is set to be an early adopter of the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) with the deployment of a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) solution across its fleet of 66 vehicles using Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices and Gigabit-class ruggedised LTE routers provided by Cradlepoint.

Working closely with Panasonic and 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 Westbase.io, 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.

“The Panasonic device itself is great and we are yet to have a single hardware failure,” said Anthony Fearn, ICT Technical Manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. “The Cradlepoint routers have also been rock solid. We can observe the connectivity to each vehicle and see the physical location on a map. We can see exactly how the EE and Vodafone networks are performing and we have seen a significant improvement in connectivity. A lot of the uptimes are now 100% and we have a solution ready for the switch to ESN.”

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a global leader developing innovative technologies and solutions for wide-ranging applications in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, and B2B sectors. The company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, operates 528 subsidiaries and 72 associated companies worldwide and reported consolidated net sales of 61.9 billion Euro (7.49 trillion yen) for the year ended March 31, 2020. Committed to pursuing new value through collaborative innovation, the company uses its technologies to create a better life and a better world for customers. Learn more about Panasonic: https://www.panasonic.com/global

 

Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business

Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business is a Business Unit of Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU). Headquartered in Wiesbaden (Germany), Mobile Solutions Business helps mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, business tablets and handhelds. As European market leaders, Panasonic had a 45% revenue share of sales of rugged and durable notebooks and tablets in 2019 (VDC Research, March 2020).

 

About Cradlepoint

Cradlepoint is a global leader in cloud-delivered 4G and 5G wireless network edge solutions. Cradlepoint’s NetCloud™ platform and cellular routers deliver a pervasive, secure, and software-defined Wireless WAN edge to connect people, places, and things – anywhere. More than 25,000 businesses and government agencies around the world, including many Global 2000 organizations and top public sector agencies, rely on Cradlepoint to keep mission-critical sites, points of commerce, field forces, vehicles, and IoT devices always connected. Cradlepoint was founded in 2006, acquired by Ericsson in 2020, and operates today as a standalone subsidiary within Ericsson’s Business Area Technologies and New Businesses. Cradlepoint is headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with development centers in Silicon Valley and India and international offices in the UK and Australia. www.cradlepoint.com

 

About Westbase.io

Westbase.io is the leading 4G LTE and IoT networking distributor in the UK and Europe – the company provides the advice, services and solutions organisations need to be better connected.

 

With over 30 years of distributed network experience to share, Westbase.io works with its customers to help them to embrace the latest advancements and get the most out of last mile connectivity. The business has worked with wireless LTE networking solutions throughout its evolution; from early adopters who required flexible broadband connectivity, to businesses today who are deploying large scale IoT solutions. Westbase.io applies the valuable insights gained from working with these customers to help others to evaluate their distributed networking needs both today and further down the road. For more information, please visit www.westbase.io.

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