The Department of Homeland's Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has tested AT&T FirstNet's Push-to-Talk standards-based and mission-critical application for first responders in two real-world emergency scenarios across the U.S.
The tests are part of S&T's effort to introduce interoperable PTT software across homeland security agencies for voice, video and data communications during crises involving various disciplines and jurisdictions, DHS said Tuesday.
During the first scenario at the Port of Oakland in California, Customs and Border Protection agents used FNPTT to coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard and Homeland Security Security Investigations in catching a runaway narcotics suspect at sea.
CBP units also tapped the application to establish communications and exchange information with the Oakland Fire Department regarding a simulated fire at the port.
Meanwhile, during the second scenario off the California coast, USCG Cutter crew worked with CBP and HSI through the software in responding to a dive boat fire and medical emergency.
Test participants left positive comments regarding their experience with the application, some noted that FNPTT's reliance on the differing signal strength of AT&T's first repsonder-focused broadband coverage slowed down video transmission.
Following FNPTT's testing, S&T plans to evaluate other PTT applications that offer off-network and device-to-device communication and land mobile radio-to-LTE interworking.