NIST Releases Roadmap, RFI on Public Safety Communications

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NIST has released a 20 year roadmap and RFI for public safety communications. The roadmap covers the next 20 years of research needed to establish seamless, broadband public safety communications networks across the United States. The document is the first of a planned series on relevant technologies, focuses on location-based services to improve situational awareness for police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders.

The RFI asks for recommendations for online platforms that can broaden awareness and make it easier for the public to search for, locate, learn about, and obtain access to these facilities, products, and services.

“The roadmap will guide planning for public safety communications research, including how to allocate the $300 million apportioned to NIST from the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction,” said Dereck Orr, chief of the PSCR Division of NIST’s new Communications Technology Laboratory, in a statement.

The document is based on ideas captured during a 2013 workshop involving 150 participants from both the public and private sectors.

The report identifies significant needs for location-based standards; in particular, open standards that provide for data exchange and availability among different devices and systems. The United States does not have indoor position standards. Achieving consensus and buy-in on such standards is critical and requires significant effort.

The report also identifies needs for public safety performance metrics, including accuracy, speed, power and availability, as well as testing for integrated devices. Among other technology R&D needs, the report calls for finding ways to minimize the battery consumption of location-based services systems, which tend to be power drains.

The full report is available here.