Most first responders like firemen and paramedics use a system called Land Mobile Radio. It’s secure, it’s largely free of interference, but it’s got one major drawback: its design makes it hard for first responders to reach non-emergency personnel. This is a problem when, say, a building collapses and you need to talk to the architect.
Raytheon has developed an app to solve that problem with Virtual Radio.
Part of the company’s Interoperability Communications Suite, it essentially turns any smartphone into an LMR. It’s not designed to replace these radios but to instead offer a communication option for personnel out of radio range or otherwise in need of an extra way to get in touch.
It also allows pretty much anybody who gets approval to do so to get on the network and start speaking with the first responders. That can shave valuable time off of getting in touch, since currently they have to be found and brought an LMR device. Now they can just take a call and be in contact immediately.
In short, cellphones can now save even more lives. This is why smartphones are awesome.