After two years of promises from the wireless industry, seamless switching between wide area (GPRS) and wireless local area (Wi-Fi) networks is starting to arrive - and one of the first to benefit is the London Ambulance Service.
The ambulance service is testing technology from Broadbeam to switch between five different networks according to their priority, using Wi-Fi in the depot to download maps to get to a patient, and GPRS when out of range, to transmit vital patient data back to the hospital.
Quentin Armitage, deputy director of technology at London Ambulance, said he can not identify a specific case where switching networks has saved a life but that the time it takes to get critical data has been greatly reduced.
"It used to take approximately one minute to pass the call details to an ambulance crew by voice and then the crews may have needed to look where the destination was in their map books. Now it takes typically two seconds for all the call details to be sent to the ambulance, and the PC in the vehicle tells the navigation equipment where the destination is," said Armitage.
The ability to connect to different networks and switch between them is a new feature in version 3 of Broadbeam's Mobile Solutions System (MSS) Smart IP version 3.0 middleware platform, which the ambulance service is testing. MSS already handled wireless optimisation, security and authentication.
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News source: Techworld