What device is you using?
  • Looking for some feedback from departments that have tablets mounted in apparatus.  I know there are a lot of departments using toughbooks, or other computer/tablets, but I am looking specifically for anyone using Android or iOS tablets running Active 911 applications.  

    What device are you using?  Broadband or Wifi?  How do you have it mounted?

  • I work for 2 agencies that use A911.  At one, we use iPads. Specifically, the AT&T model mounted with a spider mount in the front of the apparatus and always plugged in to 12 volts.  This is working fantastic.  We keep WiFi turned off at all times, even though we have WiFi in the stations.  We found that the handshake time from WiFi to cell as the engine pulled out was way too long and we lost connectivity for upwards of 2 minutes.  Once we turned off WiFi, everything works great.

    Our ambulances (private company) put in the WiFi only version of the iPad and they connected then to an existing hot spot in the ambulance.  This has caused nothing but problems.  GPS does not work at all so they have no routing info and the engines can not see them on the map.  In addition, calls come in late or not at all due to connectivity issues with the hotspot (it keeps disconnecting when idle).  Don't get the WiFi only version of the iPad - even if you don't intend on activating cell service.

    At my other department, we use Toughbooks and the webview client.  It is totally useless for routing and see where other apparatus are on the map. The Toughbooks have an internal Verizon card that is always connected and they have GPS chips.  However, the browser is not really designed to use this GPS data.  You can see where the call is and our hydrant data but that is about it.  We already had the Toughbooks and they run our other applications so we are keeping them but without a dedicated Windows A911 application, it's not very useful in the front of a fire truck.  

    Go with iPads with the cell modem (which adds the GPS radio).
  • We are running 10 iPad Airs with LTE service through Verizon. We also do not connect these to WIFI, with the only exception being for updates. We have a government contract through Verizon with unlimited Data. Chadwick has more experience then most it seems, and I followed his threads and acquired most of the info needed to help us set up our department. We average 12,000 runs per year and have been live since July 2014. So far the system has meet our expectations. We have implemented a policy where each morning the the Active911 app is cleared and restarted. This seems to have corrected an early issue we had with trucks not showing their location on the Active911 map.
    Also our iPads are placed in Supcase Beetle defense cases via Amazon and mounted using RAM mounts which are lockable.