Cloud Benefits for Public Safety
Cloud Benefits for Public Safety Ironically, cloud adoption by public safety has lagged many industries for which the benefit are not nearly as great. The nature of public safety applications is such that the advantages of shared systems are greater in both cost and utility.
Interagency Integration and Intersystem Interfaces
Public safety applications are increasingly interconnected to inter-agency, regional, state, and national systems and databases. Each premise-based system must be individually connected to each external system. Every pointto- point connection takes network engineering, interfacing, monitoring, maintenance, support, and may require time-consuming certications and audits. Shared systems come with shared external connections, live and pre-certified.
Figure 3 shows a nearly 60% reduction in the number of interfaces required for 5 agencies to share information and to acquire data from 2 external sources. For 20 agencies, the improvement approaches 90%.
As new data sources and applications become available, the cloud model makes it possible to amortize the investment required (to make third-party plug-in services available to users) over the entire user population. With lower integration costs come greater incentives for the creation of new, innovative technologies. As the cost-benefit of supporting third party services is enhanced by lower up-front costs, support for the add-on marketplace becomes a competitive advantage.
The cloud eliminates field service, enables vendors to do the work once for the immediate benefit of all customers, and the subscription model gives them a powerful incentive do so. In theory, Service Oriented Architectures make plug-compatible open interfaces possible in premise-based client/server environments, but in practice, the need to support multiple installed versions of each such interface with a field service workforce makes most cross-vendor integrations financially unattractive, so they are only done when necessary to acquire new business. The investment must be repeated for each new version of each interface for each customer, and when customers aren’t up on the newest version of primary product, they can’t take advantage of the newest plug-ins.
Connectivity to the Public
In the same sense that state or national CJIS databases are resources, so are citizens who adopt public-facing collaborative apps, and the complexity and cost of connecting agencies and responders to such applications is orders of magnitude less when agencies use shared multi-tenant online systems.