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FirstNet Authority Co-Hosts Public Safety Innovation Day

Public safety thought leaders join FirstNet Authority, TEEX PDC for one of the first FirstNet Authority Roadmap engagements.

The First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) mission is to be a catalyst for advancing the nationwide public safety broadband network. Recently, we launched a renewed engagement program to gather feedback from public safety on the technology and operational capabilities that are most important to them over the next five years. With this feedback, we are developing a FirstNet Authority Roadmap to help guide us as we advance and invest in the FirstNet network.

As part of the launch of our roadmap engagement program, we were pleased to co-host a Public Safety Innovation Day on March 6 in College Station, Texas. The event was held in conjunction with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service – Product Development Center’s (TEEX PDC) annual Under Fire Technology Summit.

The Public Safety Innovation Day provided an opportunity for public safety technology leaders to discuss emerging topics and trends, such as unmanned aerial systems and robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors, location-based services and personnel accountability, and mobile apps. We worked in small, multi-discipline groups to discuss each of the topic areas with a focus on how agencies were using these technologies today, how the data is being shared and operationalized, what capabilities they would like to see in the future, and more.

It was great to have FirstNet Authority Board Chair Edward Horowitz encourage the group of thought leaders to engage with us on the development of the FirstNet Authority Roadmap as a way to shape the future of the network. “FirstNet is not a technology, it is a strategic asset that communities can use to become safer and achieve a higher quality of life for their residents,” Horowitz said.

The day of discussions was a great kick-off to the Under Fire Technology Summit, which brings together public safety practitioners with technology start-up companies to discuss current public safety tools and exchange feedback on new technologies. The two-day event included a Response Innovation Showdown — a competition for cash prizes and a technology demonstration display at TEEX’s renowned Disaster City. 

TEEX concluded the event by awarding prizes to seven vendors with great public safety and homeland security technology solutions. A variety of technologies received recognition for improving first responder safety, preparedness, and response, including: search and rescue water robots, real-time monitoring of radiological environments, open source platforms for smart cities, virtual reality training tools, situational awareness tools and tracking, and biometric monitoring platforms, to name a few. To learn more about the competition and prize winners, read more here.

Thank you to the public safety officials who participated and to TEEX PDC for bringing us together to drive innovation that will save lives and protect communities. It was great to have Al Davis, Deputy Director of TEEX, welcome us, and the Public Safety Innovation Day and Under Fire would not have been possible without the dedicated work of TEEX PDC’s Caleb Holt. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the TEEX PDC team in the future.

Similar to our recent engagement in Michigan, we look forward to holding many more of these engagements across the country. The feedback we gather will be used to develop the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, which will guide us as we chart a path forward for the evolution of the FirstNet network. This will be an ongoing effort as the roadmap will be continuously updated to align with public safety operational needs and technological trends. If you are a public safety official interested in participating in a roadmap engagement, please reach out to your FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor here.

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