The world’s first TETRA portable radio with built-in digital camera and image management solution was unveiled by Motorola Solutions at an event in London, UK today (21 March 2013).
The MTP6750 features a 5 megapixel camera and comes with Motorola’s Photograph and Intelligence Communications System (PICS) image management solution. Through PICS, images captured on the MTP6750 can be managed, authenticated and shared within a public safety organisation´s existing workflows, enabling verification of captured images at any point and reducing the chance of evidence being deemed unusable in a prosecution.
The design and functionality of the MTP6750 is the result of close collaboration between Motorola and police forces around the world, according to Tom Quirke, VP & General Manager, Global TETRA Organisation at Motorola Solutions.
Fire and ambulance service may also find good uses for the radio, as may other business critical industries (potentially to provide visual evidence for liability, compliance or insurance purposes, for example), but Motorola is initially targeting police forces.
Research by the company showed that the two most pressing use cases for police forces were the need for imaging solutions (a photo of a missing child is far more useful than a verbal description) and for database enquiries (check for criminal record, vehicle licence etc).
Capturing perishable evidence on camera
The camera is mounted on the back of the radio, which means it must be taken out of its holster to be used. Quirke said: ‘It is really designed for evidence collection and not for use in a riot situation. It is used when officers have the time to do it.’
One of the most compelling use cases is that police forces want to be able to capture what may often be perishable visual evidence (e.g. footsteps in the snow or bruising on a victim of an assault) as soon as possible at the scene of an incident, rather than have to wait for specialist photographic teams to arrive.
Vital evidence, including possible witnesses, may have disappeared or been destroyed in the interim or be difficult to prove under questioning in any subsequent court case held many months later. Visual evidence from the scene not only helps the officer write a more accurate report later, but also adds strong visual evidence to back up his testimony at a trial.
Motorola’s research revealed that police did not want to have to carry a separate device, hence the decision to add a 5 megapixel camera to the radio. However, if digital images are to be used as evidence in a prosecution it is vital that it can be proved they have not been tampered with.
To combat this a series of meta-data is added to each image including a time stamp; GPS location; the TETRA cell site ID; the radio ID; the user’s ID and who the user was talking to. From a back office perspective this information is vital for indexing information.
Unique digital fingerprint for each image
The photo is then sent through an algorithm which creates a unique digital fingerprint in the shape of a 256 character number. If even one pixel is subsequently altered the photograph will not correlate with its digital fingerprint. This provides tamper-proof visual evidence to back up an officer’s report.
The image management system has been designed to minimise changes to a police officer’s routine. On return to the station, the officer inserts the radio into the charger and the photographs are downloaded automatically. The J-Peg image is kept separate from the digital fingerprint. The J-Peg can be downloaded to a secondary device in the field, but the digital fingerprint cannot, as it will only enter the system from the charger. Up to 1,000 images can be stored on the radio.
Quirke said: ‘The radio is the lifeline for the police; no one leaves the station without their radio. The combined camera and radio means they don’t need two devices, they don’t need a second ecosystem of chargers and cables, and being a ruggedised radio (IP65 and IP67), it will last for five to seven years at least.’
The ability to generate savings is of great importance to the emergency services with public safety budgets under pressure around the world. Motorola’s research showed that having photographic evidence is a major money saver.
Taking the example of minor assault cases (domestic violence), 65% of people accused of this will plead not guilty based on the fact that they can pressure their spouse or partner not to testify in court.
But if photographs are taken by the police on the spot and they can be used as evidence in court, rather than have to rely on the witness testifying, then the figure reverses and 65% will plead guilty when faced with photographic evidence. It costs in the region of $1,000 to prosecute this kind of case, but if the accused plead guilty the costs are reduced by 84% by cutting the time spent in court.
Another cost saving involves car accidents where the vehicle cannot be moved until photographic evidence is taken. This causes traffic congestion and all the associated problems that creates. But if officers first on the scene can take photographs immediately and then move the vehicle out of the way, that provides huge savings to the town or city.
Smarter access to intelligence
The radio is also designed to provide smarter access to intelligence in the field. If police stop someone they can access the police database to check if the person has a record, verify their identity or check a vehicle licence.
If there has been an incident captured on a phone by a bystander, that can be transmitted to the radio via Bluetooth. Or if a child has gone missing, it is likely the parent will have an image of the child on their phone that can then be distributed to police.
Create daily briefings
Daily police briefings for each shift are usually done via Powerpoint presentations. But briefings can now be created and downloaded to the radios while they are on charge, including photos of missing and wanted persons. Officers can then access the briefing on the radio and look up photographs with text in the field. The radios volume knob is used to zoom in and out.
Briefings can also be tailored to specific job roles or to officers in a particular geographic location. Updated information can also be sent over the air to officers in the field, locally via Bluetooth, by single slot packet data (SSPD) or via TEDS
First TEDS capable portable radio
The MTP6750 is the first TETRA Enhanced Data Services ready portable radio. TEDS radio systems can send data 10 times faster than the current SSPD system. The radio also comes with the same 2W audio power enhancements and 2db better signal, which extends coverage by 14%, as the Motorola’s MTP3000 range of TETRA radios launched last year.
The radio is in beta testing with various police forces in Q2 and Q3 2013, but it will be shipping in the second half of this year. Motorola was typically unforthcoming on pricing, but Quirke said: ‘We feel the solution we have is unique and that it offers a lot of value. We think it will pay for itself very quickly and that what it offers will help justify the cost of upgrading, as users will be able to show the return on their investment.’
Key about the MTP6750 TETRA handheld radio
- This is the first TETRA radio to integrate a five megapixel digital camera into the same easy-to-use radio form factor for which Motorola’s TETRA handsets are known. Integrating image capture and processing capabilities into the radio platform ensures that common workflow processes are enforced and images come under the security protocols of the agency.
- A large QVGA colour display allows officers to view images with a single glance.
- Built on the newly launched MTP6000 Radio Series platform, the new TETRA handheld enables a wide range of data connectivity options, including integrated Bluetooth®, Multi-Slot Packet Data and support for TETRA Enhanced Data Services (TEDS). This enables frontline personnel to share text messages and images reliably, securely and quickly.
- The integrated WAP browser with WAP Push capability allows the user to access information sources such as databases and view images on the large screen and for images to be pushed directly to the user, rapidly sharing valuable intelligence.
- The MTP6750 offers an integrated Direct-Mode Repeater. Working range can be further extended by up to 14 percent through the radio’s Class 3L (1.8W) transmit power capability and best-in-class receiver sensitivity.
- The image software is intuitive. Users can be confident that common workflow processes are enforced and images come under the security protocols of the agency.
- Always in the hands of front line officers, the new TETRA handheld with integrated camera functionality offers them the ability to take images without the need for additional devices.
- Photograph and Intelligence Communications System (PICS) – End-to-End Image Management Solution
- PICS covers three key areas - Integrated Terminal Management (iTM), Indelible Digital Marking and Application Programming Interface (API).
- iTM allows a fleet of radios to be managed remotely from a central location, including image back-up and software updates. It enables shift leaders and dispatch to push images to any number of officers’ radios whilst they are charging. Briefing notes can be attached to images, allowing shift leaders to provide them directly to officers’ radios instead of carrying paper documents.
- Indelible Digital Marking is designed to verify that images have not been tampered before being used in law courts. Images captures include metadata such as time and date, location, user ID and more.
- iTM allows the user to validate the image - if any element of the image or its metadata has been changed since it was captured, validation fails. This ensures that the integrity of the evidence can be checked through the chain of custody so that it can be presented as evidence for any prosecution.
- Finally, the iTM API allows Motorola and its partners to integrate PICS into organisations’ existing systems and processes, or to develop further applications tailored to the needs of public safety and other end-user organisations.