In my role as product manager at CDW for emerging technologies, I work with vendors that are producing some amazing new solutions. Many of these products are being taken up by emergency response and public safety organizations.

When it comes to emergency response, technologies such as drones and augmented reality (AV) and virtual reality (VR) are capable of assisting frontline workers in safely executing their tasks. Healthcare professionals and first responders can leverage those same technologies to maintain social distance and support early detection of contamination, and can also use mobile devices to stay in contact with non-urgent medical patients.

Explore CDW’s AR and VR offerings.

Here are some additional use cases for emerging technologies in public safety:

AR and VR in Healthcare

Augmented reality, also referred to as assisted reality, can benefit healthcare professionals when there is an influx of patients and time is critical. With AR, doctors and nurses can use telemedicine to talk with and assess patients with the “see what I see” functionality that the AR glasses offer.

Augmedix offers software that enables doctors to focus more directly on the patient by having a trained professional on the other side of the glasses transcribing what the doctor is saying and adding the information into the patient’s chart. This technology saves doctors up to two hours of time. When there is a higher rate of patients entering doctors’ offices and hospitals during a healthcare crisis, this setup of AR glasses and healthcare software enables patients to be seen and admitted faster or sent home in less time.

Additionally, with advances in telemedicine and the growth of the VR market, independent software vendors (ISVs) are now offering VR platforms for at-home care. These ISV platforms support treatment of patients as a part of cognitive and motor therapies geared toward stress, anxiety, pain distraction, hot flashes, neurological disorders, joint pain and more. Remote patient monitoring and live consultations are also readily available via ISV platforms. These offerings help patients with mobility issues or compromised immune systems, as well as anyone who needs to social distance.

Thermal Imaging for Contactless Screenings

In emergency response to healthcare crisis situations, thermal imaging can be used for the early detection of elevated body temperatures and fever. Thermal cameras can be used as a standalone handheld device or coupled with varying emerging technology products. One of CDW’s assisted reality partners, Vuzix, uses a Wi-Fi-enabled thermal camera that can link back to AR glasses for real-time scanning. This technology could benefit medical screeners, first responders, border patrol and airport employees by monitoring potential threats without the need for direct contact. Thermal imaging can also be used in tandem with a drone when monitoring large crowds or high-traffic areas. Drones give an eye-in-the-sky view that enables first responders to keep a safe distance.

Drones in Public Safety

Drone technology has become an integral part of the tools available for public safety staff to use. Romeo Durscher, DJI’s senior director of public safety, has said, “Drones have already proven to be an important tool in a variety of ways, allowing public safety officials to do vital work more efficiently from a safe distance.”

Drones can also benefit first responders, state and local agencies, and military forces. Some of these use cases include allowing people to avoid contact for inspection and dispersion during crowd management, delivering essential items, publicly broadcasting important information, applying disinfectant in high-traffic areas and measuring body temperature remotely.

Throughout the years, drones have been used to assess natural disaster areas after floods, hurricanes and tornados, and to provide supplies such medical necessities, food and even defibrillators to those areas. Drones have also been used to alert beachgoers to shark threats through attached audio speakers, and they have been used to drop life preservers and rafts to surfers caught in riptides.

All of these use cases have kept first responders out of harm’s way while providing assistance to people in danger.