Despite shrinking budgets, EMEA public safety organisations are increasingly interested in making use of next-generation mobile broadband and mission-critical Tetra networks during the next five years.

This is according to IDC research sponsored by Motorola Solutions, which also shows that two-thirds (64%) of emergency services plan to deploy or extend their use of Tetra/Tetra II in the next five years, and many of them (61%) are interested in next generation mobile broadband services for public safety such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

In addition, the IDC research, which includes 105 public safety organisations in EMEA, underlines the ongoing need for robust, highly secure and continuous voice communications. Advancing Tetra technology will allow agencies to deploy much-desired services such as instant messaging and more precise location tracking for field-based personnel.  These services will mean public safety forces will be able to provide a faster and more effective response.

Other findings including that the most widely adopted solutions include computerised mapping technology/GPS (65%), mobile broadband networks (61%) and vehicle and personal location system (56%).

The study also showed emergency services plan to make greater use of advanced computer technology such as  PDAs (54%), mobile WiFi (36%) and rugged notebook computers (54%) as part of their  next generation services in that time.

The most desired applications among EMEA public safety organisations are instant messaging (45 percent) and location tracking (57%). Advancing Tetra technologies will allow these applications and enable public safety services to provide a faster, more effective response and service.

South African public safety organisations expressed concerns about their preparedness to deal with natural disasters (27%) and man-made major accidents (20%), while their counterparts in Norway, Germany and the UK were more concerned with terrorist attacks.

South African public safety organisations say that the single greatest benefit of using advanced technology at work is quicker response times and coverage reliability (both 27%). Surveillance capabilities and employee safety did not rate highly (7%).

In addition, 20% of South African public safety organisations make use of mobile applications for biometrics. This exceeds the number of organisations doing the same in Italy and Germany.

Tom Quirke, vice-president and GM: global Tetra organisation at Motorola Solutions, comments: “Like their public sector counterparts, emergency organizations are under pressure to enhance their service capabilities while dealing with tough budgetary constraints.  They see that expanding access to Tetra and mobile broadband technologies in the future is essential to maintaining their high standards while ensuring the safety and capabilities of staff working in the field.”