Leading the first responder transition from narrowband to broadband by providing secure multimedia communications within and among agencies and organizations.
The need for mission critical group collaboration, both within and between otherwise siloed communication networks, suggests rethinking FirstNet as a necessary silo with low walls. Group collaboration with organizations outside of FirstNet (either by choice or by defined exclusion) is then possible on an ad hoc basis using Mutualink’s interoperability platform.
Published September 21, 2016
Terror attacks and mass shootings have become far too common in our world today, and public safety officials across the United States are forced to plan and prepare for worst-case scenarios in their own communities. As terrorist tactics continue to evolve, so too must the law enforcement response.
Patterns can be found in after-action analysis of incidents around the globe and here at home. Recurring problems hindering law enforcement include communication breakdowns among responding agencies, overcrowded cellular networks, and a lack of real-time information sharing at the scene of the attacks.
Our nation has an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from crises worldwide into the ongoing development and deployment of the FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority) nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). Established to modernize communications for first responders and provide a dedicated high-speed broadband network exclusively for public safety, FirstNet can make significant strides toward better preparing and equipping U.S. first responders for large-scale emergency scenarios.
As FirstNet engaged in State Consultations over the last few years, Mutualink participated in Early Builder projects and Band 14 test deployments. Below are some projects and deployments for which Mutualink delivered Mission Critical Group Collaboration capability.
Project: Harris County, TX
Type: Early Builder
Primary Focus Area: Special events, real-time video, LMR<>LTE, mobile communications, hurricane preparedness.
This FirstNet Early Builder project got the attention of the BBC, who sent Spencer Kelly and Jen Copestake to investigate, noting that the dedicated, secure public safety broadband service could serve as a model for the world. The Band 14 solution set up in Harris County is already changing the way that public safety professionals work. During an emergency, when commercial LTE is managing overwhelming traffic, Band 14 provides a way for public safety first responders to share voice, video and data.
Sgt. Rudel demonstrates the instant command center in use at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which includes Mutualink collaboration software for secure, real-time interoperable communications.
Project: Adams County, CO
Type: Early Builder
Primary Focus Area: Real-world test on Sonim Ultra-Rugged phones over Band 14
Project: Alameda County, CA
Type: Urban Shield
Primary Focus Area: FirstNet in Motion – Media cohesion, SWAT team training, real-time video.
IJIS Innovation Award Honorable Mention 2015.
Project: Las Vegas, NV
Primary Focus Area: Real-time video, data sharing, mobile vehicle capability, daily operations, emergency.
Project: New Jersey
Type: Early Builder
Primary Focus Area: Tactical Collaboration Nodes, SOWs, COWs, rapid deployment of communication assets in the absence of infrastructure.
A fundamental goal of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is to enable multimedia communication and collaboration capability between all first responder agencies. As envisioned under the National Response Framework (NRF) and National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), a scalable “all hazards, all disciplines” response capability should be implemented at all levels to enhance emergency response and recovery. This desired capability also extends to Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) throughout all identified sectors of a community under the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). Furthermore, to capitalize on agencies’ existing investments, this capability should be inclusive of existing communication and collaboration systems.
Group communications is a fundamental and critical need for first responders. We offer the Mission Critical Group Collaboration application (MCGC) to bring the next generation capabilities of the NPSBN to group communications. MCGC is a full multimedia platform that enables both intra-agency and cross-agency group communications to include voice, video, text messages, file sharing, and location sharing.
Communication silos, while necessary for a variety of reasons, create obstacles to group collaboration. Mutualink respects these silos, while enabling ad hoc group communication between and among otherwise siloed agencies and networks. With Mutualink, agencies on FirstNet can collaborate with agencies and organizations on commercial broadband when the need arises.