UK fire engines become smarter with IoT connectivity
UK fire engines become smarter with IoT connectivity
UK fire engines become smarter with IoT connectivity

UK fire engines become smarter with IoT connectivity

Emergency vehicles get connected to Internet of Things (IoT) network to keep them on the road.

Fire engines are to be connected up to the internet to help them better response to emergency situations and have their locations tracked.

Emergency One, which makes fire engines and other specialist vehicles in the UK, will connect its vehicles’ on-board computer consoles to Vodafone’s dedicated, 4G-enabled IoT network to help keep them working at all times.

The firm makes around 150 vehicles each year, which are used by 82 percent of all UK fire and rescue services. The new system, which complements the current emergency radio system used by fire and rescue crews, will enable central command and fleet engineers to better track the location of individual vehicles – essential in rural areas or in situations where numerous engines are en-route to an incident.

The Emergency One console, known as e1Fleet, can also relay essential onboard diagnostic information across Vodafone’s nationwide IoT network directly from the vehicle cab to fleet management and to Emergency One. This allows fire and rescue teams and Emergency One to remotely check a vehicle to ensure it is running smoothly; avoiding breakdowns at crucial times or costly repairs caused by exacerbating faults.

The system is expected to save fire and rescue teams significant cost in maintenance charges over the life of the engines and speed up incident response times. Speed of travel and fuel consumption can also be monitored constantly to ensure all fire engines are running at their optimum level, claimed the firm.

Quick response via IoT

Elliot Boyce, project manager, Emergency One, said the system has proved successful in allowing the company to continually monitor the fire vehicles and provide a quick response to any issues that may arise. “It assists the fire and rescue services with the crucial tasks that they perform all year round,” he said.

David Markland, senior technologist of critical communications at Sierra Wireless, told Internet of Business that technology in public safety is advancing at an exponential pace in many countries.

“First responders require broadband connectivity at the scene of an incident to support an array of in-vehicle devices, such as laptops and tablets and mission critical applications, like computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and automatic vehicle location (AVL), to enable faster and more efficient responses in the field. Vital information provided by these systems, including location, navigation, hazmat and building information, enables first responders to arrive on scene more informed, and better prepared to protect both the public safety and their own,” he said.

Hubert Da Costa, VP of EMEA at Cradlepoint, told Internet of Business that cloud managed solutions provide emergency services with the ability to scale deployments quickly and manage their vehicle networks easily in real-time.

“Providing Internet connectivity with cloud applications and management gives emergency service IT teams the cutting-edge resources they need to deal with life critical situations in hostile environments,” he said.

Related: NASA builds AI platform for firefighters