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APWA’s Top Five Trending Technologies in 2021: How FirstNet is expanding to support connective technologies

February 2, 2021

From smart cities to the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence capabilities, FirstNet has been an important driving factor behind integrating advanced technology solutions into public safety services and community planning. The FirstNet Authority is preparing for a future where innovation can leverage the latest lifesaving tools to keep first responders and our communities safe.

Recently, the American Public Works Association (APWA) released its Top Five Trending Technologies of 2021 survey and report announcing promising technologies that best support public works agencies to serve their communities. Based on almost 6,000 votes, APWA named five trending technologies for 2021, including:  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Asset Management Technologies, Integration of Technologies, Small Cell/5G Technologies, Technology for Field Crews, and Virtual Public Engagement Technologies.

With public works agencies at the center of emergency response and recovery, APWA reached out to the FirstNet Authority to discuss small cell/5G technologies’ growing impact on FirstNet’s vision to expand and enhance coverage into communities located in urban, rural, or other hard to reach areas. FirstNet Authority staff discussed the small cell concept as a promising solution to help extend coverage, provide stronger signals and data speeds, and ultimately increase reliability for the end-user.

Small cells can play a significant role efficiently delivering high speed mobile broadband to cover small geographical areas – helping communities deliver essential public safety services via smart city and IOT solutions. “5G small cells can be implemented on an as-needed basis (temporary or permanent) to meet the coverage and capacity needs for outdoor or indoor scenarios, including public safety response, such as traffic hotspots, construction, stadiums, and so on,” explained FirstNet Authority Senior Advisor, Gigy Mammarappallil. “Small cells can also be used for non-line-of-sight backhaul needs without laying fiber on the ground.”

To learn more about how FirstNet and small cells can support LTE and 5G deployments for your agency, read the full article from the January issue of the APWA Reporter.

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