The Rogers (Ark.) Fire Department recently installed ’ MW810 mobile workstation in 90% of its fire trucks and other emergency-response vehicles. The MW810 Mobile workstation replaced consumer-grade laptops in frontline emergency response apparatus that were too slow to power up and not robust enough to stand up to the rigors of the job, which ranged from protecting an airport to some of the largest retail suppliers in the U.S., Chief Tom Jenkins said.
“We hypothesized that they’d be strong enough for field reporting because we thought it was cost-effective, and it was much cheaper,” Jenkins said. “But it was a colossal failure at the end of the day using a laptop that isn’t necessarily designed to be in a vehicle.”
A rugged solution was needed to replace the laptops that also could reduce data lag time and was compatible with existing municipal systems. With Wal-Mart corporate headquarters, Tyson Foods and JB Hunt growing in the area, the population continued to fluctuate from 70,000 residents to 110,000 daily due to commuters and visitors, Jenkins said. So, the system needed to grow with the city’s and the career department’s needs over the long term. It also needed to run and display fire/EMS dispatch data, such as the transmission and receipt of pre-planning information, mapping software and unit status applications.
The workstation has a three-piece design for multiple configurations of CPU, keyboard and monitor as well as a removable, backlit keyboard. In addition, it has an ultra-bright, glove-friendly touch screen with programmable buttons that make it easier to use for firefighters in the field, saidAnatoly Delm, a marketing manager at Motorola.
“The mobile workstation is a rugged, fixed-mounted computer that has been designed specifically for public-safety applications in the field and to be installed in public-safety vehicles, like fire apparatus or EMS apparatus,” Delm said.
Wireless connectivity is enabled for LTE (Band 13) with ready support for public-safety LTE (Band 14), multiple carrier support for 3G and 2G wireless data connectivity and Wi-Fi support. It also includes GPS and Dead Reckoning GPS options, Delm said.
Delm said workstations are built for ruggedness beyond MIL-STD-810G and IP54 standards. It withstands heat, cold, moisture, dust, vibration and has heated hard drives with 3D-shock mounts.
“We needed [Motorola] workstations for that rugged environment,” Jenkins added. “Off the shelf laptops just didn’t hold up.”
The upgrade was paid for by the city, Jenkins said. The total project, including both Motorola and non-Motorola hardware and software, cost about $175,000, he said.
“This is the home of Wal-Mart and its 6,000 vendors, so it is a little city here,” Jenkins said. “As a result, the city is insulated; we were fortunate to be able to budget for the upgrade and it was worth every penny.”