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UMRS Company’s Information Technology Solution Essay

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Updated: Feb 8th, 2022

Introduction

Technologies play a crucial role in modern society: it seems that the harmonious and uninterrupted operation of communication software equipment guarantees the effective existence of humanity. This creates an urgent problem of finding spare parts or developing high-tech solutions that can be resistant to crisis conditions. In particular, natural disasters often have a devastating impact on infrastructure; causing damage to urban settlements and agglomerations — as a result, in an emergency where people’s lives and health are threatened by catastrophe, citizens are disconnected. This is unacceptable because, at dangerous times, calling a rescue or ambulance can be a determining factor in saving lives. These conditions create the need for a technology solution that enables mobile communications even when infrastructure is disrupted. After analyzing the market, UMRS concluded that such a development is relevant, hence, the company has directed its efforts to implement an integrated mobile solution for crises. This work aims to discuss the concept of this high-tech product for natural and anthropogenic disasters.

Needs and Challenges

The analysis of the described scenario leads to the conclusion that UMRS faces several problems that need to be solved for the successful implementation of the product. First of all, it is worth mentioning that the engineers’ proposal is a combination of mobile technology that provides an uninterrupted and sufficient range of communication, with a solid and stable vehicle that can move in the disaster area and remain operational. Engineers have already found the necessary platform — this is a U.S. military off-road vehicle HUMVEE from AM General, which is used for the needs of the U.S. Armed Forces. The challenge is to find a technology that can meet the needs of engineers and customers. First of all, the proposed solution should provide at least voice data, but it is best that the communication channels can carry other types of information, including text, location data, or emergency signals. The demand is dictated by the essential need to transmit medical data, information about victims, and new potential tsunami waves, earthquake tremors, or ignition sources. At the same time, the device must be able to extend the range of communication beyond the mobile command center. It seems clear that such a solution must be provided by a software server connected independently to satellite links, or by capturing frequencies not used among urban communication sources. This approach can ensure the autonomy of the mobile network when communication lines within an agglomeration are disrupted. If the kill radius is high enough, the technology should be able to not only cover the entire diameter but also broadcast outside. For these purposes, it is essential to create an integrated system consisting of several armored vehicles mutually reinforcing the neighboring devices.

Innovative Technologies

It is fair to say that the world community is already developing such technologies. Moreover, some companies have been demonstrating success in deploying mobile telecommunications in disaster areas for several years. One such impressive example should be Cisco: since 2010, the Tactical Operations Department provides timely assistance to city services and disaster victims in terms of voice and text messaging (“Cisco tactical operations,” 2020). Their solution, TacOps ECK, is based on the idea of satellite communications to form an independent signal to build connection bridges. It is worth noting that the proposed technology works. Thus, TacOps ECK has been used regularly for telemedical consultations for victims and rescue workers. Although the technology has already been used, it requires an evacuation center from which the signal can be sent. In other words, TacOps ECK is useless for people locked in their homes, for example, in the wake of a tsunami.

Another solution is TB9400, the product of the New Zealand company Tait Communications. It is a well-known technology that provides simultaneous and uninterrupted transmission of voice data on radio frequencies (“High performing,” n.d.). The product has many advantages, among which are especially worth noting the high-frequency range in case a particular channel turns out to be full or idle; the ease and mobility of the equipment; the ability to broadcast multiple sources in parallel. In the situation when city networks, including Wi-Fi, LTE, or 5G, are damaged and, consequently useless, TB9400 will become relevant because the communication mechanism is based on IP protocols. Furthermore, the same situation is typical for Hosted PBX, which does not depend on the performance of the Internet and is usually not affected by disasters (Gault). However, these technologies are still dependent on power sources, and even when operating offline, they are susceptible to battery drain.

Another appropriate solution for UMRS may be the portable Beartooth device of the American company of the same name, designed to restore the ability to communicate on smartphones when there is no cellular communication. Traditionally, this solution is used for skiing, where avalanches are likely to occur and there is no communication, but in natural disasters, this technology is also useful. Beartooth provides the ability to send voice messages within 5 miles and text messages up to 10 miles (“Beartooth,” 2016). Even if the user’s smartphone is dead, the Beartooth will still work as a portable battery. This is a beneficial solution, although the device itself has the ability to run down during prolonged use.

Assessment

The proposed solutions differ not only in the mechanism of action but also in price categories. While the manufacturers of TB9400 and TacOps ECK hide the price, explaining it by working only with military companies and at the request of government services, it seems that the cost of these developments is extremely high. This opinion can be justified by the fact that the technology is not designed for individual users, but to provide large-scale communication, that is why the main customers are the government. At the same time, Beartooth is aimed at individual users, and the cost per device does not exceed $249 (“Beartooth,” 2016). Nevertheless, buying such a portable device does not mean creating a mobile network coverage map, since the mechanism of action is only available to Beartooth users. It is likely that if UMRS improves this system so that the effect of a single source is extended to all victims of a disaster, then the benefits of Beartooth will increase. However, it should be understood that then the cost of technological development will rise significantly. Ultimately, it is important to find a compromise that satisfies the rescue services, victims, medical centers, and significant military facilities located outside the epicenter of events.

Selection

Based on the above proposals, it would be wise for UMRS to invest in TB9400. This choice is dictated at once by factors: the mechanism of action, autonomy, and the ability to cover the disaster area. Although the cost of the equipment remains unknown, stakeholders can contact customer service directly to find out the price. By placing such equipment in HUMVEE and connecting it to a power generator, UMRS will be able to cover existing needs and provide cellular communications to the population.

References

Beartooth. (2016). Beartooth. Web.

Cisco tactical operations. (2020). Cisco. Web.

Gault, J. (2016). Hosted PBX service and disaster recovery. Voiceopia. Web.

High-performing, multi-mode base stations for mission-critical networks [PDF document]. (n.d.). Web.

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