Recently I had the pleasure of being one of a few individuals to take a look at how the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet can be integrated into a police cruiser, heralding a new era of law enforcement technology.
Note: Do not use your PlayBook tablet while driving. Using your tablet while driving could put you and others at greater risk of an accident causing serious injury, death, and property loss. You are responsible for knowing and obeying the laws and regulations regarding the use of wireless devices in the areas where you drive.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet holds a multitude of advantages in this position, such as freeing up real estate in the car by replacing existing bulky equipment; its ability to be detached and become portable; and the intuitive interface – not to mention Bluetooth® pairing with a keyboard and a tethered BlackBerry® smartphone.
- The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet includes the full BlackBerry Tablet OS, allowing officers to access core and third-party applications on top of the custom tools tailored to police work. All of the existing BlackBerry PlayBook tablet features are included in the device, such as the popular multi-tasking functionality. BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications specific to police work include access to databases, communications, task lists, and more.
- The tablet, even while remaining as a portable and detachable device, is hooked right into the mechanical functions of the vehicle. Pressing the right buttons on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s touch screen can toggle the emergency lights, raise the caution sign on top of the vehicle, control sirens, and eventually, video feeds from the car’s cameras. Trust me when I say that it was a “wow” moment when I touched the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet screen and the emergency lights came on!
- A Bluetooth keyboard is equipped below the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Both of these are mounted onto a swivel that allows each to be positioned in the most convenient way possible for driver, passenger, or both to have access.
How is it connected?
The setup employs the BlackBerry® Bridge™ application to extend a BlackBerry smartphone’s security and data to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. This allows an officer to access information on their smartphone when away from the car, and then to continue where they left off on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet once they return. Bluetooth technology is also leveraged to connect the keyboard to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, as well as to aid in interaction between the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and the technology built into the vehicle.
So what’s the overall benefit?
This BlackBerry solution allows officers to use light, portable, and robust devices to quickly and conveniently interact with the data. The hardware and form factor also frees up a huge amount of space within the vehicle – a priority as the cars become smaller and older, and bulkier equipment becomes obsolete. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet itself is outside of the airbag zone, improving officer health and safety. Integration of BlackBerry devices into demanding police work, especially considering the rigid security protocols, is a logical step forward.
The additional equipment that interacts with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, such as a Bluetooth-connected printer and a barcode scanner that would improve the process of issuing tickets and scanning licenses was planned by Mobile Innovations, and brings even more tangible on-the-ground technology to the BlackBerry solution. This technology is currently being tested in Canada with interest in integrating secure BlackBerry solutions and products into law enforcement.