Dropped calls and feeble data connections are modern day nuisances, but for public safety officers, it could very well be a matter of life and death. Every mobile connection, conversation, and video transmission counts when public safety is at stake. For this reason, the providers of dedicated public safety wireless communication networks aim to build a private system for public safety communications through full build-outs. Twenty-nine states have decided to opt-in to FirstNet and AT&T build-out plans that are to be submitted to each state.
Currently, AT&T is launching FirstNet, a dedicated network for first responders in all the 56 states, which aims to complete its core network that can ultimately be available to all users across the 56 states with a complete build-out of network infrastructure. Currently, FirstNet offers priority communication to users on its existing network, and also provides the ability to pre-empt non-emergency users. FirstNet SIM cards that connect the users’ cell phones to the network are currently available, and the FirstNet applications store is fully operational.
The police cars, fire trucks, sheriffs, and ambulances are capable of sharing data from individual devices. Such data can get into the hands of public officers in real time. Currently, the providers such as Verizon have to build secure, segregated, private network for public safety users that is powered by 4G LTE capability. The tech and network providers are developing a host of other solutions including devices that are capable of operating within the nationwide first responder spectrum. AT&T, however - the FirstNet provider - is able to deliver specific applications such pre-emption, mission-critical and push-to-talk.
There is also the implementation of Internet of Things- an emerging technology poised to make public safety networks more agile and advanced, keeping people and first responders safe. The Internet of Things is fundamentally changing the way nationwide public safety connection works, offering a more reliable, blanket communication using the same network and frequencies. Moreover, it is mandatory to build a public safety network for any new or upgraded buildings and enterprises. Carrier-funded telecom infrastructures such as DAS are decreasing as a result of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture.
The Internet of Things is spurring the growth of devices that can assist in notifying first responders of an emergency situation. There is the development of smart homes that are installed with sensors that can alert fire departments, police stations, and ambulances in case there is an emergency such as fire or break-in. At the same time, such sensors can detect smoke or heat levels within the buildings, as well as prevent fires or break-ins when individuals are away from their premises. Another logic explanation for the implementation of IoT is that wearable devices are currently used to alert emergencies responders of the vital signs of danger to get scenes quicker.
AT&T is currently launching a dedicated broadband fast lane for first responders. The network connectivity builds on the AT&T’s LTE infrastructure to ensure the all first responders, including individuals living in the rural and well-connected areas. The increased connectivity means better response to such tough to reach locations. AT&T is introducing 20 MHz of Band 14 telecommunications spectrum to the existing building towers, and the firm is working with the governments to identify high-need areas such as the spots prone to natural disasters. The company is upgrading its systems to boost the network in the coming few years, including 5G connectivity.
Several tech companies have been using their resources and products to advance public safety. For instance, AT&T assisted in providing cell services to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Such providers also use Artificial Intelligence and big data to spot and determine trends hoping to combat disaster before they occur. By reviewing such data, such public safety offices and agencies can react quickly to urgent needs. Real-time observations and analysis using mobile-analytics solutions enable companies to tune their resources and safety policies towards optimizing first responder productivity.