After taking a brief pause over the summer, the Los Angeles Interoperable Regional Communications System (LA-RICS) has announced the first successful test of its emergency communications system at the Rose Parade. The network enabled local, state and federal emergency services agencies to share data and communicate directly with each other during the Rose Parade, the first time such communication was possible over the network.
“The system functioned flawlessly,” said Pat Mallon, Executive Director of LA-RICS, said in a statement.
For the parade, video, maps, GPS data and two-way voice traffic was transmitted between the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and LA County Fire Department and the data was streamed through servers controlled by the Department of Homeland Security. Other public agencies who safeguarded the event were the Pasadena Police Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The communications used some 294 gigabytes of data – the equivalent of 20,000 YouTube videos.
During the parade, the speed at which the LA-RICS systems transmitted and uploaded data was three times faster than Verizon’s commercial network, and five times faster than AT&T’s. Before the debut of the LA RICS system, emergency-service agencies would often use commercial cellular networks to transmit critical data, which becomes problematic when those systems become overburdened during large-scale emergencies and disasters.
As CivSource reported in May of last year, LA-RICS paused construction of some communications towers when municipalities started to raise questions about health concerns and local control of the towers. At that time project administrators said they wanted to revisit the approved plans and work with local officials in the municipalities that had concerns. Since then, work has resumed and will be followed by a second phase of construction focused on adding a radio network to the communications system.
Contractors involved in phase one include Airship; Airwave Communications; Barrett Communications; BlackHawk Imaging; Canon Cameras; ESChat; Milestone Video Management Systems; Motorola Solutions; NVIS Communications; Pepro; SLA Corporation; Sonim Technology, and Star Solutions International.