The Future for First Responders is Now
It appears as though with every coming day, new technology is being introduced: gadgets, apps, and connectivity that make our lives better, faster, easier, and more enjoyable.
The evolution of technology seems to be a real-time study and a living example of the famed “Moore’s Law.” Intel co-founder Gordon Moore observed in 1965 that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention, and predicted the trend would continue. This prediction was pretty much spot on (although the pace slowed down somewhat). Since then, data density has doubled every 18 months, which is the current definition of Moore’s Law.
So, how does this real-time, exponential evolution affect us all? It comes down to human nature and how we all connect with, embrace, and internalize technology. For instance, in the past four decades, our lives have changed faster than those of any other generation before us. I think back to my days as a child; I loved playing with cardboard boxes and a Slinky—the lowest of technology.
Jump forward a few years and my children were playing with the desktop computer. Now, I see children practically taking their first steps with a tablet in their hands—meaning that technology and its inherent interfaces become part of their psyche, giving them the ability to learn about technology throughout all stages of their lives. Just imagine, the next generation will never feel our pain of “teaching the internet” to our parents!
So, with the evolution of technology paired with the evolution of the human condition as it pertains to technology, the once-prophesied vision of the future has today become a reality.
Today, we see the benefits of everything from data-driven applications, learning algorithms, and even artificial intelligence—making everything around us “smart.” And that intelligence has delivered a new environment, one that speaks to us through our devices and that interacts with us through a network constantly delivering new and better experiences. It’s spawned an entirely new term: Smart cities.
The concept of the smart city is not that hard to understand. It simply means that by using technology to our advantage, we create better, easier interactions that streamline our daily routines. For instance, most metropolitan centers now have smartphone apps for parking—long gone are the days of frantically running back to your car with quarters in hand only to find a ticket on the windshield. Now, with a tap on the phone, your parking updates, and a fine is avoided. A small example, but an important step towards embracing the evolution of technology.
Now, why do apps like that instantly work for people? It’s because of their technological evolution. We have grown up—at least for the last few years—with mobile apps. The interfaces, user experiences, and iconography that represents functionality have all become commonplace. This means that as more apps are introduced, our ability to use them increases every day due to familiarity.
So, imagine the ingrained knowledge of mobile applications and how that impacts other industries within the smart city realm. Far beyond that of the average pedestrian using apps to pay for parking or to rent bicycles, the people who work to build, support, and protect our cities have a new realm of technology at their fingertips—all as familiar in form and function as the apps they use daily in their personal lives.
Imagine firefighters and EMS personnel armed with smartphones that capture and deliver building and onsite data in real time. Gone are the days of not knowing where exactly a building is, what it’s made of, and what is stored inside. Now, as first responders speed to save our lives, their own lives are better protected, as are ours, through comprehensive data and the power of knowledge.