T-Mobile and vendor Visual Labs are partnering on a project designed to turn first responders’ smartphones into body cams and communications tools. The goal is to save money over purpose-built systems.
The technology provides body camera, digital camera, audio recorder and personnel locator functionality and is available to first responders who receive free T-Mobile service through the company’s Connecting Heroes program.
The package being offered to first responder agencies includes a Web-based evidence management platform and secure cloud storage for videos, photos, audio and evidentiary documents.
T-Mobile compares the platform to body cams that the carrier says can cost thousands of dollars per first responder. The Visual Labs software is compatible with most Android smartphones.
The first three months of are free with a three-year Visual Labs contract. Until the end of the year, new customers will get the $45 a month rate per device with a $50 setup fee. Agencies that have compatible Android devices can add the Visual Labs software to free and $15 per month plans.
The Connecting Heroes program offers agencies a variety of Samsung phones free with a two-year agreement on premium rate plans, T-Mobile notes.
Visual Labs, which is headquartered in Menlo Park, CA, offers software to law enforcement, private security and other organizations.
“We launched Connecting Heroes to do more for the first responders we all count on — it started with free 5G on our incredible network, and now we’re adding bodycam solutions to their smartphone at an incredible cost savings through our partnership with Visual Labs,” Mike Katz, the Executive Vice President of the T-Mobile Business Group, said in a press release about the T-Mobile body cam offering. “At T-Mobile, we feel it’s our duty to support the men and women who risk it all for us, and we won’t stop innovating to save them money and provide new solutions they need to keep themselves and our communities safe.”
In May 2020 T-Mobile said that it would offer free mobile service to first responders for free for a ten-year period if its merger with Sprint was approved, a promise that yielded the Connecting Heroes program.