Acadian Ambulance Service deploys mobile solution
Acadian Ambulance Service is deploying In Motion Technology’s mobile solution to manage operations, improve emergency communications and save lives across Louisiana, Mississippi and southeast Texas, said Tony Morris, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Acadian Ambulance Service is a private company with 270 ambulances and more than 2,650 employees. It transports about 1,000 patients daily across its service footprint that includes urban and suburban areas, the remote swamps of Louisiana’s bayou and offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. It also has dispatch centers in Lafayette, La., and Austin, Texas.
The ambulance company deployed In Motion’s onBoard Mobile Gateway in 250 ambulances and command vehicles. Morris explained the onboard gateway provides connectivity from laptops, heart monitors and other systems inside the ambulance. The gateway then selects the best-available wireless network and roams across commercial cellular, 3G, 700 MHz and municipal Wi-Fi networks to provide mobile communications across Acadian’s vast service area.
“One of the things we talk about is sensing, assessing and selecting the best-available wireless network,” Morris said. “So as you move through the areas that Acadian supports, there will be some moving from one cellular carrier to another. We provide a consistent in-vehicle connectivity environment but also leverage whatever wireless infrastructure they desire as they move through such areas.”
Acadian’s headquarters staff uses In Motion’s onBoard Mobility Manager to monitor and manage operations remotely and in real time. The manager collects and analyzes information from gateway-equipped vehicles to provide its two dispatch centers with a virtual dashboard of detailed information about networks, vehicles and devices, said Kenny Logan, Arcadian’s director of electronic technology. Logan is responsible for overseeing voice and data communications as well as maintaining the company’s communication tower sites throughout Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.
Logan said the company was looking for a more reliable way to transmit data from ambulances to its two dispatch centers. In the past, it depended on a VHF system. But as the company grew, technology couldn’t keep pace with the demand for data.
“It was taking too long to get data out to ambulances and it was going to take a lot to upgrade our VHF systems,” Logan said. “Wireless is growing faster than we could grow our tower network, so now through the gateway all data is transmitted through cell sites, through the VPNs to our servers.”
In the future, Acadian plans on deploying recently released modules that allow organizations to remotely monitor vehicle diagnostics, track assets and troubleshoot data devices connected to gateways, Morris said.
The gateway starts at $1,800, Morris said.