By Chris Nehls from FierceCities
New Jersey's piece of the nation's emergency communications broadband network got its first test in August when state and local law enforcement tried it for the first time during two large outdoor concerts in Atlantic City. The inaugural real-world implementation of a wireless broadband network for first responders, known as FirstNet, operated without a hitch.
Members of the Atlantic City Police Department and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness reported they were able to communicate via radio and cellular channels and share video feeds across the JerseyNet interoperable system during Maroon 5 and Rascal Flats concerts that attracted crowds of nearly 50,000 people each.
Audiences of this size can strain cellular networks, threatening the signal reliability that first responders typically rely upon as well. Using Mutualink systems on wheels, or SOWs, and a tactical collaboration node, Atlantic City police were able to share communications and video surveillance footage with the New Jersey State Police and emergency medical service personnel independently of commercial LTE frequencies.
"This was the first time during a large, densely populated event that we were able to maintain a constant real-time video stream, and this vastly improved the situational awareness for everyone involved with securing these events," Atlantic City Police Department Lt. James A. Sarkos said in a statement.
Emergency personnel also used the system during Wednesday' Atlantic City Air Show.
JerseyNet is the only statewide participant of FirstNet's Early Builder program. NJOHSP uses SOWs and Cells on Wheels, or COWs, in three locations – the Route 21 corridor in north New Jersey, in Camden and in Atlantic City. These deployments ultimately will include 27 700 MHz LTE-capable COWs and SOWs that can boost exiting communications or provide backup to nodes that may be compromised.
Colin McWay, president of Connecticut-based Mutualink, said the Atlantic City demonstrations were a proof of concept for combining fixed infrastructure like casino surveillance cameras with deployable communications hardware within the FirstNet system. The events also demonstrated, he said, how police departments ultimately could use FirstNet's capabilities to share video and biometric data from patrol officers with other emergency responders and hospitals.
Mutualink, Inc. has developed an interoperable communications platform that enables community-wide multimedia sharing of radio, voice, text, video, data files and telephone communications in a secure environment. Mutualink’s system is currently deployed by hundreds of public and private entities worldwide, including homeland security and defense installations, NATO Special Operations Forces, police and fire departments, schools and universities, transit authorities, hospitals, shopping malls, casinos, and more. Mutualink is a privately-held company headquartered in Wallingford, CT, with R&D facilities in Westford, MA and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and Defense Services office near Washington, DC. For more information please visit www.mutualink.net.
For More Information & Further Inquiry:
Beth Clay, Mutualink, Inc.
Phone: (203) 774-3474
Jenna Beaucage, Rainier Communications
Phone: (508) 475-0025 x124