• Emergency communicationCreating high-speed internet lane for emergency situations

    In a disaster, a delay can mean the difference between life and death. Emergency responders don’t have time to wait in traffic — even on the congested information superhighway. Researchers are developing a faster and more reliable way to send and receive large amounts of data through the internet. By a creating a new network protocol, called Multi Node Label Routing protocol, researchers are essentially developing a new high-speed lane of online traffic, specifically for emergency information.

  • Emergency communicationAI to aid in humanitarian efforts

    Mobile phones are one of the fastest growing technologies in the developing world with global penetration rates reaching 90 percent. However, the fact that most phones in developing countries are pre-paid means that the data lacks key information about the person carrying the phone, including gender and other demographic data, which could be useful in a crisis. Researchers have developed an AI algorithm to accurately predict the gender of pre-paid mobile phone users, so that emergency response teams would have better information about those affected by disasters.

  • CommunicationSpectrum Collaboration Challenge’s contenders selected

    Unveiled in March 2016, DARPA’s Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) has reached an early milestone by choosing thirty contenders for the first of the three-phase competition, slated to culminate at the end of 2019 with a live match of finalists who have survived the two preliminary contests. In addition to twenty-two teams from academia and small and large companies, eight individuals have made it into the competition.

  • Battlefield communicationMobile handheld devices to share battlefield information at multiple classification levels

    Troops in remote regions around the world often struggle to operate with limited networks for data sharing and communication—an encumbrance that is amplified when U.S. troops need to share classified or otherwise secure data with each other and coalition partners. DARPA’s Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) program aims to create a system where information at multiple levels of security classification could be processed on a single handheld device

  • 9/11: 15 years onDisaster communications: Lessons from 9/11

    By Thomas Terndrup and Nicholas Kman

    What we and the other responders learned on 9/11, under the pressure of a disaster of incredible scale, scope and urgency – not to mention the international media spotlight – went on to spark major changes in U.S. emergency response communication. By ensuring that – no matter what happens – we can communicate with each other, the emergency response community keeps the memory of 9/11 alive in our own way every single day.

  • First responseNIST’s rolling wireless net improves first-responder communications

    First responders often have trouble communicating with each other in emergencies. They may use different types of radios, or they may be working in rural areas lacking wireless coverage, or they may be deep inside large buildings that block connections. NIST has worked with industry partners to integrate commercial technologies into a mobile wireless communications system. About the size of a large file cabinet, the platform offers more capabilities and faster setup than typical “cell on wheels” systems.

  • Airport securityTSA deploys AtHoc crisis communication solution in 200 airports

    TSA joins the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deploying AtHoc to improve crisis communication in 200 U.S. airports. TSA’s Alert Warning System (AWS), based on AtHoc, will enable real-time accountability of TSA staff during routine, emergency, and critical events.

  • Emergency communicationDHS S&T licenses innovative communication technology to commercial partners

    DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) last week announced that it has licensed the Radio Internet-Protocol Communications Module (RIC-M) to two commercial partners. RIC-M, used by local, state, and federal responders, is a low-cost, external, stand-alone, interface device that connects radio frequency (RF) system base stations, consoles and other RF equipment — regardless of brand — over the Internet or Private Internet Protocol (IP) network.

  • Emergency communicationNIST, NTIA seeking industry partners for public safety communications test bed

    The Commerce Department’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program is signing up a new round of industry collaborators for the test bed used to evaluate advanced broadband equipment and software for emergency first responders. So far, thirty-nine telecommunications companies have signed new, five-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) to participate in the test bed program.

  • Emergency communicationWhen the phones went dead: 7/7 showed how disasters call for tomorrow’s tech

    By Nigel Linge

    At times of crisis communications are essential. The emergency services need to coordinate their response while the general public wants to contact loved ones and find out what’s happening. The problem is that there simply isn’t enough capacity for everyone to use the networks simultaneously, particularly in densely populated areas like central London. Thus, one aspect of the London bombings of 7 July 2005 that many who were there remember is that their phones went dead. Mobile phone coverage in parts of central London was almost unavailable. This was not due to damage; the emergency services had shut down public access to the networks. Today’s emergency services want to make better use of video and exploit the potential of real-time mapping applications — both of which demand a network with a greater data-handling capacity. The natural place to find this capacity is the 4G mobile network that is now being rolled out around the world. But this will require new services to be designed and built for emergency services use.

  • Public safety comm.NIST publishes first “roadmap” for public safety communications research

    NIST has published the first “roadmap” for the next twenty years of research needed to establish seamless, broadband public safety communications networks across the United States. The new roadmap, 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 roadmap was commissioned by NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, which has been performing research, development, testing and evaluation, and creating standards to support first responder communications since 2002.

  • Seismic standardsLA to require seismic standards for new cellphone towers

    Last Friday Los Angeles became the first U.S. city to approve seismic standards for new cellphone towers, part of an effort to reduce communications vulnerabilities in case a large earthquake should strike. The Los Angeles plan requires new freestanding cellphone towers to be built to the same seismic standards as public safety facilities. Cellphone towers are currently built only strong enough not to collapse during a major earthquake. There are not required to be strong enough to continue working.

  • Emergency communicationWashington State county considering levy to fund new emergency-radio network

    Voters in King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, will be asked in a special 28 April election to approve a levy for a new emergency-radio network to expand coverage throughout the county and replace outdated equipment used by police, fire, medical, and other emergency personnel. The levywould raise $246 million over nine years and cost $0.07 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation beginning in 2016. The levy proposed would increase the number of transmission towers from twenty-six to forty-six and replace 19,000 radios and 117 dispatch consoles.

  • Emergency communicationL.A.’s emergency communication system facing many hurdles

    After the 9/11 attacks, the federal government encouraged authorities in large cities to build emergency communications systems that would allow separate agencies to coordinate together quickly and efficiently. The government offered grants to help pay some of the costs of the systems, pending completion of the work by a set deadline. In Los Angeles County, a common communications system is still not a reality years after officials signed up for the federal program. Besides technological hurdles, contracting issues, and constantly changing requirements from the federal government, Los Angeles County is having to deal with firefighters and residents who object the plan citing health and property value concerns with the placement of giant cell towers in their neighborhoods.

  • Emergency communicationDHS S&T makes it easier and cheaper for first responders to communicate

    A new low-cost interoperability solution developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) could save the first responder community millions of dollars.

    S&T says that the Radio Internet Protocol Communications Module (RIC-M), used by local, state, and federal responders, is a low-cost, external, stand-alone, interface device that connects radio frequency (RF) system base stations, consoles and other RF equipment — regardless of brand — over the Internet or Private Internet Protocol (IP) network.