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September 18, 2007

Metro Round-Up: Tucson (Ariz.), Pasadena (Calif.), Billings (Mont.)

Tropos deployed over 230 sq mi in Tucson? First I've heard of this network, designed for public safety. The ER-Link system offer telemetry and telemedicine for patients being transported by all 17 equipped ambulances run by the fire department. The medics can provide close-up views of injuries, and give vital statistic feeds to doctors at Tucson's University Medical Center. The system is offering a more pedestrian service, too, coordinating traffic signal data and remote images while conserving $200,000 per year in outsourced cost. The city is looking into additional applications. Building an outdoor public-safety oriented network is a great way to begin a city-wide Wi-Fi network, because the ability to move dollars from one budget to another and trim costs in the process make the networks affordable. This network relied on a $1.9m public-safety grant to get up and running. SmartWave Technology built the network; General Devices provided the telemedicine pieces.

Cable, Wi-Fi mix from BelAir in Billings: Billings, Montana, will mark the first cable/Wi-Fi hybrid network public test that I'm aware of. BelAir developed a cable-plant compatible access point many moons ago, and this deployment in a 1 sq mi test zone downtown uses the BelAir 100S, which connects directly to a cable line for data (via the cable DOCSIS 2.0 standard) and power.

Goodbye, Pasadena: Once EarthLink's headquarters, Pasadena got two blows in one week: 226 EarthLink employees in the city were laid off as part of the larger staff-cutting measures, and the network that EarthLink agreed to build there won't be under the current terms.

1 Comment

As Project Manager for the Regional Transportation Data Network, I can say that we do get a lot of "This is the first I hear about´┐Ż". The network covers the major thoroughfares throughout the 228 square miles in the city of Tucson and has been in place for over a year. The ER-Link application went live this past August 2007. We have had a mixed reaction by the paramedics, as this means a slight change on their usual business practice. Every day the Tucson Fire Department is finding new ways to help their practice with this new application. At the same time the Tucson Transportation Department is full steam ahead to take advantage of this network we built. As you mentioned we are replacing phone lines to our signals with wireless connectivity and are now bringing intersection video images that we could not get before. We have a growing list of applications for the network: Field computers (currently 10 deployed), Water pipe monitoring, Intelligent Transportation Systems applications (Dynamic Message Signs under construction), Free WiFi for bus commuters, WiFi VoIP, Police data/video and more to come. Tucson is a Metro area with four other cities adjacent to us. We are currently working in conjunction with them to extend this network to their cities. Some very exciting times are ahead of us.