Police, fire crews and paramedics have all been handed new Samsung 4G phones in a bid to speed up emergency communications after the Home Office signed a £210 million deal with the Korean manufacturer.
From the terror attacks in Manchester and London to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, 2017 has been a challenging and heartbreaking year for the emergency services.
But while technology can’t predict when the next crisis is going to happen, it can equip first responders to deal with the dangers as quickly and as effectively as possible.
This year, Samsung has stepped forward to take up that challenge.
How it works
Back in November 2017, the company announced that they would be supplying devices and accessories for use by the emergency services in the UK. Reportedly worth up to £210 million, the contract will see Samsung mobiles forming the backbone of the Home Office’s new Emergency Services Network, or ESN.
Currently, police, firefighters and paramedics use the Airwave system to communicate, which is largely limited to voice radio.
However, with ESN users will also be able to access mobile broadband data services via LTE – the specially-developed smartphones that Samsung will be supplying.
Hardware-wise, the phones have been designed to withstand all of the difficulties that the emergency services face on a regular basis.
With a durable, rugged design and water resistance, the handsets will be fully optimised for challenging environments.
With 4G connectivity, the devices will also support emergency services functionality and critical voice services at times when they are needed the most. Additionally, they will allow frontline staff to keep up to date on developing situations by live streaming video, using location services and more.
According to the Home Office, the contract with Samsung is expected to run for a minimum of 36 months, with the option to extend for up to 12 additional months.
And although ESN is currently running behind schedule, emergency services in the North West can expect to be among the first to test the new system, with regional rollouts beginning in summer 2018.