02 Jul 2005

Ripon Wireless – Leading the District

I have been becoming more and more interested in the opportunities and promise of municipal wireless access lately, and I found out that Ripon has begun deploying a wireless network across the entire city.

From the article, the network would provide :
- real-time monitoring of city wells and pump station data can be collected and sent to public works supervisors and mobile field units; - government vehicles fitted with the high-speed mesh will benefit from the systems’ built-in position and location capability enabling the deployment of an Automatic Vehicle Location system without the city having to purchase GPS equipment. This will allow dispatchers to task the closest mobile police units to incidents and allow them to keep track of the units during critical incidents and .emergencies; - allowing remote access to information generated by Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping of hazardous material storage areas, utility infrastructure locations and the development of tactical plans for commercial building responses.

The project is being spearheaded by Chief of Police Richard Bull, and will cost about $550k, with possibly $75k awarded from Homeland Security funding. Lockheed Martin will be deploying the Motorola MESH network hardware.

I think this is something we need to see across the whole district. We are starting to chip the tip of an iceberg of opportunity here in letting our government function better and more efficiently. It also provides individuals more information and control in their government and businesses with new models and opportunities.

They see the citywide wireless network as a way to improve efficiency, to allow city workers and police officers to do their work more effectively from the field.

In the future, it is also envisioned to provide VoIP for city departments, hand held PDA access in the field, Fire Department uses, and possibly civic access.

I will write more extensively about the promise of municipal wireless for our district in the near future, but for now Micah at the Rasiej campaign does a pretty good job of providing an overview of that vision.

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