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Police test smartphones over cellular for undercover use during Boston Marathon

Matt Hamblen | June 25, 2014
During April's Boston Marathon, police in Brookline, Mass., piloted a wireless system that let undercover police and supervisors to use ordinary iPhones and Android devices to communicate with rugged Land Mobile Radios over LTE and other commercial cellular networks.

Wilder and Simon both said that BeOn would never replace rugged police and fire radios that are carried into emergency scenes where heat, water and shocks would destroy a commercial smartphone. Rugged emergency radios "are going to continue to be the norm," Wilder predicted.

Since virtually all police and fire radios in the U.S. are supplied or supported by Motorola Solutions, Wilder said his testing showed that BeOn would still work with the Motorola gear.

For future uses, Wilder said BeOn could be expanded to allow smartphone users that have loaded the app to take crime scene photos or victim and witness video statements to pass through the emergency network. "Of course, we'd have to make sure we set up policy procedures and evidentiary rules," he added.


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