Oklahoma City celebrates Wi-Fi for city services
$5 million system is used by police and fire departments and will figure in flood response, severe weather prediction
Computerworld - Oklahoma City today will celebrate the success of its city-owned and -operated municipal Wi-Fi mesh network, a $5 million taxpayer-funded project that took more than two years to build and that provides 150 applications used by police, firefighters and other city workers.
Although the system does not provide free or low-cost Wi-Fi to the public, that concept had been envisioned and is still in the realm of possibility, said Mark Meier, IT director for the city, in a recent interview.
"Free Wi-Fi is still an interest of ours," Meier said, recognizing that the idea has failed repeatedly in many large cities in the U.S., including Oklahama City. EarthLink Inc. backed out of a project there last year, as it has done in some other cities, including Philadelphia. EarthLink won a city request for proposals to provide home-based Wi-Fi services, but backed out before anything was formalized, Meier said.
Oklahoma City officials, representing more than 529,000 residents, have made a conscious decision to review public access on a semiannual basis, although the city's primary mission with the network would not be to provide Internet access to all of the World Wide Web. "We may allow access to government Web sites and city schools, entertainment, mapping services, public transit and social services," Meier said.
The decision on how to move forward with public access is not principally Meier's to make. However, he has overseen a massive buildup of municipal services in recent years, including the wireless network, which relies on 1,200 fixed Wi-Fi nodes and 850 mobile Wi-Fi nodes (in police cars and fire trucks) provided by Tropos Networks Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Today's celebration is designed to publicly announce the success of that relatively inexpensive infrastructure, which supports the city's critical communications for police and fire and creates a number of efficiencies for inspectors. By using mobile nodes in vehicles, the city has greatly reduced the number of fixed nodes it needs to install on poles and buildings for a 555-square mile network at a great cost savings, Meier said.
He also said that the most recent innovation that has taken place is that the Wi-Fi network is now managed as part of the city's IT infrastructure, not separately, which means that applications available over wired local area networks can run reliably wirelessly. "When we first started the process, it was deemed a very big risk" technologically, to manage Wi-Fi as one with the rest of the network, he said.
Among the applications now being used are the ability to view video of roads and high-risk crime locations from 300 cameras. Video images can be routed to police officers in squad cars or to firefighters responding to fires, and criminal arrest records and building plans can be routed to emergency responders. In addition, building inspection results can be made available on the same day of an inspection, saving days over the older system.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more