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Posts Tagged ‘ Shared DAS Coalition ’

Highlights from APCO 2012

By Seth Buechley
August 24th, 2012

In-Building Technology Update Panel at APCO 2012 with Seth Buechley (SOLiD & Safer Buildings Coalition), Minfei Leng at Bird Technologies Group and Greg Glenn of TriPower

In-Building Technology Update Panel

Our recent re-cap of the APCO International 78th Annual Conference & Expo recounted a community of public safety communication professionals invigorated by the opportunity and challenge associated with building a nationwide interoperable public safety network to serve first responders.

Aside from the spectacular weather, described by locally-raised comedian Louie Anderson as the kind that tricked settlers into stopping in the first place, two milestones stood out: (1) the appointment of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board of directors and (2) the creation of the annual Jack Daniel Award.

Establishing  a Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network

This years show was abuzz from the get-go because the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) deadline for announcing the FirstNet Board responsible for planning and building a nationwide public safety network fell, serendipitously, on August 20th, the first day of the APCO event.

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank waxed on about the administrations many accomplishments before proudly announcing the names of the FirstNet Board members who were warmly received by the public safety community.

I have enjoyed the privilege of getting to know Chief Jeff Johnson, past president of the Western Division of the IAFC, during the time we were launching the SOLiD product platform and also while strategizing the formation and mission of the Safer Buildings coalition. Stated simply, he is a strong leader who “gets it” when it comes to the economic and practical reasons why the cellular community and the public safety community will want to leverage common infrastructure to deliver macro and indoor radio services for public safety.

Four public safety members join six cellular and local government members serving alongside three federal agency heads on the FirstNet Board. Of note, there are no radio OEMs (Motorola, Harris, ALU, Cassidian), nor any prime integrator (General Dynamics, Lockheed, etc.), nor active executives from the cellular operators serving as FirstNet Board members.

We can assume this is to prevent conflicts of interest and a vigorous competitive bid environment in the future.

For more on the announcement, see coverage in MissionCritical Communications and Urgent Communications.

Honoring a Lifetime of Service to Public Safety

I was especially pleased to see a new annual award created in the memory of Jack Daniel, a friend and a legendary public safety radio expert.

Jack was a Life Member of APCO and an active member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Code Council (ICC), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Radio Club of America (RCA) and many more public safety and radio-oriented organizations. Jack, more than any other person, was responsible for setting the vision and doing the hard work that created the model NFPA and International Fire Code (IFC) codes requiring in-building radio coverage.

The Jack Daniel Award will be given annually to an APCO member to recognize excellence and achievement in the public safety communications arena.

In a touch of class, the President of APCO awarded the inaugural Jack Daniel award posthumously to Jack and invited his widow, Pat Daniel, to the main stage to accept his award.

Doing Our Part

SOLiD participated on the in-building technology update panel on Monday delivering the vision of the Safer Buildings Coalition and the methods by which we are working to ensure Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) installations accommodate public safety radio.

Again, the common sense approach of using Awareness, Policy, and Standards to overcome the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that often prevent or delay the delivery of public safety radio was well-received.

We are officially out of the strategy and launch phase and will now focus our work on assisting some of the nations largest cities with the policy and management tools to develop their own Safer Buildings programs.

Through our product innovations and our leadership in the Safer Buildings Coalition, SOLiD intends to remain squarely in the middle of the conversation seeking to ensure public safety radio is treated like a carpooler rather than a hitchhiker on DAS systems deployed across the US.

Talking Public Safety at DAS in Action

By Mike Collado
April 23rd, 2012

We had the opportunity to present on the “Building Codes, Public Safety and DAS” panel during the recent DAS in Action event produced by our friends at the DAS Forum and PCIA.

Based on the number of questions after the session as well as the discussions we had during the breaks and receptions over the two days we were in Atlanta, it is clear that Public Safety coverage inside buildings is a complicated and emotionally-charged problem to solve.

Yin & Yang

That point was hammered home in the introductory remarks by the panel’s moderator, Bob Butchko of Lord & Company Technologies Inc., whose description of a first responder – weighted down by heavy gear, suffering through the smoke and heat of a building on-fire, and burdened by a communications radio that likely does not work in the building to coordinate with other team members – served as a poignant wake-up call to this problem.

Each panelist shared a different approach to addressing Public Safety. From attacking it with technology and establishing far-reaching partnerships; to affecting policy and initiating training and certification standards.

Overall, solving the Public Safety problem creates confliction… On an emotional level, industry stakeholders want to ensure Public Safety coverage inside buildings. Who wouldn’t?

But business issues – chiefly financial and legal – along with implementation issues – including technology and system management – get in the way.

Our Take

SOLiD has been advocating the formation of a Coalition consisting of key stakeholders – Public Safety, Building Owners and the Wireless Industry – to create a framework to ensure coverage of public safety radio communications indoors.

At DAS in Action, we addressed the four issues and objections above.

  • Financial – The incremental cable and antennae infrastructure costs of covering areas such as stairwells is approximately 10% of the DAS cost. For the benefit of the public and first-responders (who also use smartphones) services should work there anyhow. If WSPs will provide a DAS that facilitates public safety, buildings owners and the public safety community should pay all costs to deploy and manage the signal source and required inspection of the public safety portion of the DAS.

 

  • Liability – There is no known case of litigation against WSPs associated with public safety coverage. That being said, risk management is an individual analysis that happens within the purview of corporate attorneys who have a legitimate goal of reducing corporate risk. People can always file a lawsuit, so this issue can never be completely eliminated. Developing and following industry best-practices is a positive defense against unfounded lawsuits.

 

  • Technology – This is an outdated argument that has been overcome hundreds of times with quality systems deployed by qualified integrators. Many wireless industry experts believe a converged system with proper filtering is the preferred method of eliminating potential RF interference when compared to two systems often managed by two parties

 

  • Management – Buildings owners and the public safety community should handle the management burden of everything associated with the public safety DAS including signal source installation costs, monitoring as required, certification, annual inspection, and system maintenance. Such work should be done by a “Certified” technician.

 

Want To Get Involved?

We’re in the process of putting together the proposed Coalition which will serve three purposes:

  1. Create awareness and educate the market on the problems and solutions
  2. Influence policy to ensure Public Safety coverage inside buildings
  3. Establish certification standards for integrators installing and managing DAS networks that provide coverage for Public Safety.

 

We could use your help. Please share your ideas and interest below in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Please watch Dan Myer of RCR Wireless summarize DAS in Action:

SOLiD Technologies Presenting at DAS in Action Event

By Mike Collado
April 5th, 2012

We’re presenting on the “Building Codes, Public Safety and DAS” panel discussion on Tuesday, April 10 at 2:15pm during the DAS in Action Conference presented by PCIA and the DAS Forum at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta.

We look forward to the opportunity to engage the audience which includes wireless operators, integrators and building owners to explore how to make buildings safer.

We recently proposed the formation of a coalition that brings together Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), Building Owners, Public Safety and Wireless Industry stakeholders to ensure coverage for public safety wireless radios whenever a DAS network is deployed for commercial services.

A key recommendation is to require that DAS networks to accommodate public safety radio frequencies and developing an accredited certification program for technicians responsible for deploying DAS networks that serve Public Safety, Commercial Cellular, and Two-Way Radio.

Evidently, this initiative has legs. MissionCritical Communications covered the announcement which generated reader feedback (scroll down to “In Response to ‘Executive Calls for DAS Coalition for Public-Safety Indoor Radio Coverage'”):

Your news brief is absolutely correct — it is about sharing responsibility, eliminating obstacles and aligning interests so that we can make our community safer. The DAS Coalition is a positive approach to meeting this goal…

Paul Niemann
Niemann technology

and:

I agree with and enthusiastically endorse the concept of a national radio technician certification program, combined with a reinstatement of periodic system inspection by such a technician…

A.V. (Lex) Rutter
Nampa, Idaho

 

Our presentation will explore the key issues and challenges in attaining universal indoor public safety radio coverage for first responders including liability and financial concerns as well as network management.

As we prepare, we’d enjoy the chance to weave your thoughts into our presentation. Just add your comments to the section below.

We’ll post an update at the conclusion of DAS in Action.

Thanks for reading!

 

IWCE Wrap-up: D Block & Making Buildings Safer

By Mike Collado
February 27th, 2012

Team SOLiD rolled into Las Vegas for the IWCE 2012. It’s always one of our favorites because we get to talk directly with the Public Safety community to hear their concerns and ideas.

This year’s event was particularly energized since it happened to coincide with a Presidential signature allocating the 700 Mhz D Block for a new national Public Safety network using LTE. The network will be initially funded at $7B with oversight coming from the NTIA.

We had the privilege of listening to Marty Cooper, the inventor of the cellular phone, as he opened up with the keynote address. May we all be as feisty, hopeful, and creative in our golden years!

Mr. Cooper had some bold ideas. One that surely caught the audience’s ear was the idea that our spectrum policies are deeply flawed and showing favoritism towards companies with money. Some needs like the D-block transcend money.

He also believes that spectrum, through technology, will become trillion of times more useful over time through sharing techniques that eliminate interference. This capability, perhaps most importantly, would also eliminate the need for the FCC – a notion the crowd seems to relish.

Pointing out that the first radios could transmit 1/6 of a bit of data per second, Mr. Cooper noted that data speeds have doubled every 2.5 years since that time…for 110 years.

And finally, the key idea that I will take away is that wireless communication has the ability to change human behaviors. Since I was carrying two batteries in my pocket all week, I think I agree!

To begin our week, we sat down with our friends at MissionCritical Communications to explain a bit about the newly-formed Public Safety Shared DAS Coalition. The Coalition charter has been refined and formalizing membership benefits and opportunities is underway.

The vision of the Public Safety Shared DAS Coalition is: “Making Buildings Safer”. Our Focus Areas are:

  1. Creating Awareness: Through media, events, and educational content
  2. Developing Policy: Providing code language and enforcement templates to local AHJs
  3. Establishing Certification: Through DAS installation guidelines and a certified inspection certification

 

Our friends at the DAS Forum also coordinated a panel on the final day of the conference to spread the message of how DAS improves the delivery of Public Safety radio. The panel ran a bit on the technical side but Greg Glenn of TriPower showed that a converged DAS system with proper filtering is the preferred method of eliminating potential RF interference when compared to two systems often managed by two parties.

SOLiD shared our vision of the Public Safety Shared DAS Coaliton which aligns multiple interests including Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and Building Owners as well as Public Safety and Wireless Industry stakeholders.

 

 

Should you have additional ideas or questions about SOLiD’s Public Safety programs or the work of the Public Safety Shared DAS Coalition, please share them in the comments section below.

What stood out for you a IWCE? Thanks for reading and subscribing!