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Posts Tagged ‘ APCO ’

The “Public” in Public-Safety Communications

By Mike Collado
August 25th, 2015

IMG_1676The 2015 APCO Annual Conference was both pivotal and revelatory for the advancement of in-building public-safety communications.

Team SOLiD returned to APCO for the fourth year which, for a Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) manufacturer, makes us a veteran.

I recall feeling like a pioneer in 2012 while discussing in-building wireless solutions with AHJs (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) when the conference was hosted in Minneapolis during which the first board members were announced for the nascent FirstNet initiative. Little did I know then that SOLiD would host the newly-elected FirstNet CEO Michael Poth and newly-titled President TJ Kennedy as well as current and former board members Chief Jeff Johnson and Chief Charles “Chuck” Dowd at a cocktail reception to launch a new eBook called The Imperative which details the obstacles and options facing public-safety communications inside public and private buildings. (Thanks to the Long View Gallery for hosting our reception!)

(Check our APCO recap posts from 2012, 2013 and 2014 to map the public-safety evolution. And watch videos from industry luminaries Jonathan Adelstein (PCIA), Rob LeGrande (The Digital Decision), James Teel (Harris) and SOLiD’s Seth Buechley)

A pivotal shift has occurred within the public-safety industry whereby the topic of in-building is no longer met with a puzzled or skeptical look.

When SOLiD presented back in 2012, we observed in a blog post that “Based upon the number of heads that were both nodding in agreement and disagreement during the panel, the public safety and commercial cellular industries need more forums for debate and education as well as programs designed to solve the common problem of public safety communication.”

In contrast, an industry colleague was surprised that nearly every attendee in his presentation this year was familiar with DAS.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.24.02 PMBut while developing The Imperative (download a free copy here), it became clear – as its editor, John Celentano, states in the eBook’s opening pages – that, “…public-safety communications is not relegated to police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS). Its about the general public, too.”

This is revelatory because most people likely envision a fire fighter when they think of the words “public” and “safety.” As Don Brittingham, Vice President for Public Safety Policy at Verizon observed during our launch reception, the general public is the “public” in public safety.

Donny Jackson, Editor at Urgent Communications contributed to the foreward of The Imperative and writes:

“From a public-safety perspective, good indoor coverage for customers and first responders provides multiple benefits during an emergency response.

Initially, strong commercial indoor coverage lets consumers who are indoors dial 911 to report an emergency via their cellular phone—the device they are most comfortable using, and it should provide better location information in the near future. This can save valuable time in circumstances when seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

Once first responders are on the scene, a good indoor public-safety system allows firefighters, law enforcement and EMS to communicate better and more efficiently using LMR voice today, with the potential to leverage Band 14 LTE and transmit sensor data via myriad technologies in the near future. This data capability includes the ability to track the location of first responders, as well as monitor their health via biometric technology.

When first-response efforts have gone awry, communications difficulties almost always are cited as a key contributing factor. This is understandable, because organizing any endeavor—from the construction of a sports arena to planning a family reunion—tends to happen more smoothly when strong lines of communications are open.

In short, a facility with good indoor wireless-communications coverage for consumers and public safety is inherently safer than those that lack this functionality. Without good indoor coverage, there likely will a delay in reporting an emergency situation and the response effort often is delayed, which can lead to increased property loss, injuries and fatalities.”

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Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition), Mike Collado (SOLiD) and Donny Jackson (Urgent Communications)

This observation was echoed on a panel moderated by Donny Jackson where I joined Chief Alan Perdue, Executive Director of the Safer Buildings Coalition (SOLiD is a member). Chief Perdue shared that the majority of 911 calls are made using a smartphone and that, similarly, the majority of emergency incidents occur indoors.

According to John Celentano, “…it is vital that both public safety and commercial cellular to work together to solve for public-safety communications.” 

The common denominator, however, is the Building Owner – the key stakeholder that can impact in-building wireless communications for both cellular and public-safety – who, unfortunately, remains noticeably absent from these discussions at APCO.

We’ll be back with a separate post to explore the challenges and opportunities for the Building Owner to address the public-safety imperative.

Tell us what you observed at APCO that is pivotal and/or revelatory in the comments.

 

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Contributors to The Imperative: John Celentano (Editor), Donny Jackson (Urgent Communications), Clark Lazare (AT&T), Mike Collado (SOLiD), Manuel Ojeda (Morcom), Chief Charles “Chuck” Dowd, Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition), Lori Blair (Hutton Communications) and Rob LeGrande (The Digital Decision)

 

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Chief Charles “Chuck” Dowd discusses the public-safety imperative

 

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Chief Alan Perdue discusses collaboration among venues, wireless operators and public safety

 

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Mike Collado (SOLiD) and Lori Blair (Hutton Communications) welcome attendees to The Imperative launch reception

 

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SOLiD Quad-Band Public-Safety DAS at the Hutton booth

 

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SOLiD’s Ken Haberer and Matt Atkins at the APCO Block Party hosted at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

 

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Matt Atkins (SOLiD) and Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition) at the APCO Block Party

 

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Delivering thought leadership at APCO

 

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Bike Art at the Washington Convention Center. There were also kitchen stools, kayaks and guitars!

The Public Safety Imperative

By Mike Collado
August 10th, 2015

IMG_1214We live in a world where we take our personal safety somewhat for granted.

For the most part, the processes, procedures and functionality of our public safety systems keep pace with requirements. Commonplace “tools” such as fire call boxes, e911 systems and the radios used by emergency first responders have evolved out of necessity and have been fueled by innovation.

In many ways, wireless is paramount to public safety. (See our most-read public safety posts here, here and here)

Police, fire and (EMS emergency medical services) personnel must communicate and coordinate efforts when they arrive on the scene of an emergency. The general public also must be able to communicate. After all, if you or I can’t be notified about an incident or call for help, first responders won’t know to help us.

The importance of in-building wireless communications for public safety cannot be overstated. An estimated 80 percent of all wireless calls originate or terminate inside buildings. Similarly, a majority of emergency incidents occur indoors.

Creating safer in-building environments for occupants and first responders is paramount. Call it the Public Safety Imperative.

To be sure, The Imperative is shared by the public safety, commercial wireless and venue owner ecosystems.

To meet the challenges of The Imperative, the stakeholders must implement fire and building codes and standards for indoor public safety communications; develop and innovate a toolkit of robust wireless communication technology and networks; and identify business models to overcome the burdens of complying with an “unfunded mandate.”

FirstNet is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new public safety broadband network (PSBN). But it’s scope is primarily focused on achieving outdoor communications, not indoor. It is vital that indoors does not get left behind.

We took the first step to achieving this vision several years ago to as a founding member of the Safer Buildings Coalition, an independent, non-profit organization focused on advancing policies and ideas that lead to more large and medium sized buildings being served with commercial and public safety wireless coverage. (Make a difference by becoming a member: info(at)saferbuildings.org or 888.600.1011)

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.24.02 PMNext week at APCO 2015 in Washington, D.C., we’re launching – in collaboration with Hutton Communications (read our partnership announcement from APCO 2014 here) – the inaugural publication of THE IMPERATIVE, an eBook in which we consulted with many of the industry’s leading experts and proponents in public safety communications to tap into their deep knowledge and experience on the topics of public safety codes, first responder operations, wireless technology, and telecommunications networks.

To receive a free copy, please stop by Booth #1709 (Hutton Communications) during APCO. Or follow SOLiD on LinkedIn and/or on Twitter for instructions on who to download THE IMPERATIVE.

Together, SOLiD and Hutton personnel will showcase in-building solutions including the SOLiD quad-band public safety distributed antenna system (DAS) with support for first responder and essential two-way radio frequencies including 700/800,150/450 MHz.

And if you’re an early riser, plan to attend the “Making Buildings Safer Through Wireless Technology” session on Sunday, August 16 at 9:30 AM hosted by Safer Buildings Coalition executive director Chief Alan Perdue (ret.) and moderated by my friend Donny Jackson, editor of Urgent Communications.

Thanks for reading.

As always please share your thoughts in the comments.

2014 Most Read Posts

By Mike Collado
December 29th, 2014

P1010744As we close out 2014 (and to quote Frank Sinatra, “It was a very good year…”), here’s a look at the top 10 Inside Story posts you read this year.

In many ways, our industry advanced.

But we also continued to wrestle with past questions.

We enjoy bringing you our insights and look forward to sharing our thoughts and observations with you in 2015.

Would you do us a favor? Use the comments below to tell us what you like and don’t like about our posts as well as what you’d like to read about more next year.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Thanks for reading!

 

Number 1: The DAS Equipment Vendors
An oldie (from 2011) but goodie… In just three short years the OEM landscape continues to change!

Number 2: Teenagers, Standards & Education: Themes at BICSI Fall Conference In-Building Panel
Questions abound from design and deployment stakeholders on ownership, choosing among DAS or Small Cells or WiFi, and public-safety.

Number 3: WiFi on a DAS? First ask yourself why
Convergence and all-fiber infrastructure inform that the industry will keep wrestling with this question.

Number 4: Where are the Small Cells?
Process and technology continue to be obstacles for widescale deployment of small cells.

Number 5: What are the Business Models for In-Building Coverage for Healthcare & Why Look at Them Now?
A look at who should own, pay and manage the network for DAS deployments in hospitals.

Number 6: Advice Before You Jump Into A DAS Project
Practical advice whether this is your first DAS rodeo or not.

Number 7: Not Quite Super, But a SOLiD Week in Vegas
Observations from the latest incarnation of CTIA’s annual conference: it’s ain’t over yet…

Number 8: Playing it Safe in the Big Easy
In spite of a slow start, FirstNet is narrowing the gap between the commercial cellular and public-safety industries.

Number 9: Densification is a Toolbox Approach. So, Now What?
Now that the industry has advanced from “DAS versus Small Cells” to a “toolbox approach”, it begs the question of how do we decide?

Number 10: oDAS + Collocation = FTW
We predict an oDAS renaissance where OEMs innovate small cell-like solutions to lower the coverage canopy beyond macro and high-power 40W DAS.

Playing it Safe in the Big Easy

By Mike Collado
August 6th, 2014

We’re fresh back from the heat and humidity of New Orleans which played host to the 80th APCO Annual Conference & Expo. Here are some of the highlights:

 

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SOLiD and Hutton Communications presidents Seth Buechley and John Walker celebrate new partnership

APCO 2014 was a fitting place to announce our new partnership with Hutton Communications. The SOLiD portfolio – including the Quad-Band Public Safety Distributed Antenna System (DAS) with support for 700/800 and 150/450 MHz – will be available to Hutton customers that deploy in-building wireless solutions to enable cellular and public-safety communications.

 

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AGL Media’s Sharpe Smith explores the need for broadband public safety coverage indoors with panelists from PCIA, Safer Buildings Coalition, FirstNet and BICSI

With the bulk of emergency incidents occurring indoors and over 50% of emergency calls being made with a wireless device, the public safety industry is asking three fundamental questions: Can people communicate? Can people be notified? And can first responders communicate where the people are?

Chief Jeff Johnson (FirstNet board member), Jonathan Adelstein (PCIA CEO) and Phil Klingensmith (BICSI Master Instructor) joined Chief Alan Perdue of the Safer Buildings Coalition (SOLiD is a member) to explore how to overcome the challenges of ensuring public-safety communication which the panel agreed is a shared responsibility.

 

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FirstNet board member Chief Jeff Johnson discusses the need for in-building public safety communications

According to FirstNet’s Chief Johnson, wireless is essential – not optional. In an interview with Urgent Communications after the panel, Chief Johnson looks to the market to design around an ecosystem which in turn will create an economic model for stakeholder participation.

(We missed seeing Donny Jackson this year and we wish you a speed recovery from survey! Learn more here)

 

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SOLiD Public-Safety DAS

According to Safer Buildings Coalition executive director Chief Perdue, there is no “one size fits all” solution to ensure indoor public safety communication. Similarly, the industry is not in agreement on whether networks should be “blended” to support public safety and commercial cellular services on a single infrastructure or whether separate “parallel” networks should be deployed that are supported by solutions such as SOLiD’s quad-band700/800/150/450 MHz) solution which covers broadband and narrowband public safety services.

 

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Lots of interest among attendees on addressing broadband coverage indoors

 

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Packed room of AHJ’s at the SOLiD / Hutton cocktail reception. Honored to have hosted Pat Daniel, wife of the late Jack Daniel who pioneered the model NFPA and International Fire Code (IFC) codes requiring in-building radio coverage.

 

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The calm before the storm…

 

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Dixieland band at the APCO Block Party

 

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When in New Orleans, it’s cafe au lait and beignets!

 

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Saint Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

 

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The Steamboat Natchez

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The iconic Crescent City Connection Bridge