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NIST, Industry Partners Develop Mobile Wireless Communications Platform for First Responders

Rapidly Deployable Public Safety Research Platform (EGOV)The National Institute of Standards and Technology has collaborated with more than 70 industry partners to combine commercial technologies into a mobile wireless communications system for first responders.

NIST said Wednesday the Rapidly Deployable Public Safety Research Platform works to facilitate voice, text, video and data communications between approximately 200 users of broadband smartphones, Wi-fi, data terminals and handheld radios within a 2.5-mile range.

“Our role at NIST is not to develop the technology itself, but to integrate the state-of-the-art pieces into a conceptual platform that will help drive the industry to meet public safety needs—that is, to make portable systems smaller, more robust and with more capabilities,” said Tracy McElvaney, engineering supervisor of NIST’s public safety communications research division.

McElvaney added research and demonstration platform is based on the First Responder Network Authority‘s vision for a vehicle-borne network system that will work to support communications when the nationwide public safety network is disrupted.

NIST said the platform supports PSCR staff as they evaluate factors of public safety operations such as audio intelligibility and communications database development amid loud-noise environments.

More than 70 vendors provided equipment for the platform through PSCR’s Broadband Consortium and under cooperative research and development agreements with NIST, the agency noted.

NIST added the system is funded partly by the Department of Homeland Security’s First Responder Group.

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