Earlier this month, the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) held its Spring Business Meeting to discuss the committee’s efforts in 2021 and its ongoing plans to support FirstNet’s growth and expansion. Discussions highlighted accomplishments and business updates in 2021, PSAC Strike Team efforts, and PSAC User Working Group updates.
PSAC Business Updates
PSAC Chair Todd Early highlighted the significant role the PSAC plays in providing consultation and guidance to the FirstNet Authority as public safety’s network evolves. He also welcomed Seattle Fire Deputy Chief Chris Lombard to the PSAC Executive Committee along with 10 new members who were appointed to the PSAC for two-year terms (2021-2023).
During the meeting, the group discussed the following updates on network expansion and initiatives to enhance FirstNet innovation:
- FirstNet now boasts more than 16,000 public safety agencies and organizations on the network, with 2.2 million connections. The network continues to expand with Band 14 buildout and increases in apps and devices available to public safety.
- In the first quarter of 2021, the FirstNet Authority team collaborated with 7,000 public safety stakeholders nationwide through 449 remote engagements. Topics ranged from network deployable assets to subscriber-paid services.
- FirstNet remains focused on delivering innovative and interoperable solutions to public safety, with new capabilities related to Z-Axis, FirstNet MegaRange™, and FirstNet Push-to-Talk.
- The FirstNet Authority continues to engage with the PSAC and public safety community to update and refine investment priorities for FirstNet to ensure they enhance the network’s public safety features and capabilities.
FirstNet Authority Board Chair Tip Osterthaler, FirstNet Authority CEO Ed Parkinson and Market Engagement Office leadership also took the opportunity to recognize the public safety officials who participated in the FirstNet Authority’s review of the impacts of the Nashville bombings on Christmas Day 2020. As part of the After-Action Review of the incident, the FirstNet Authority coordinated with federal, state, and local public safety officials in the Nashville area and Southeast region to understand the effects of the service outages that occurred as a result of the bombing.
PSAC Strike Team Updates
PSAC strike teams are designed to capture time- and topic-specific inputs from PSAC members and operational and technical experts from member associations. The two current strike teams provided the following updates:
- The Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) Strike Team discussed public safety applications to benefit FirstNet’s ICAM solutions. In the coming months, the strike team will share input with the PSAC based on their expertise to help with security and adoption measures.
- The Telehealth Strike Team updated their work to identify the effective use of telehealth capabilities in a public safety environment. The COVID-19 pandemic motivated public safety agencies and other stakeholders to support the deployment and use of telehealth practices in every day and emergency response.
PSAC User Working Group Updates
The ongoing PSAC User Working Groups continue to take a deep-dive look at topics of interest to public safety. The two current user working groups provided the following updates:
- The PSAC location-based services focus group continues to work in support of the FirstNet Authority Roadmap’s Situational Awareness technology domain. Through a user-based study, the focus group is working with the PSAC and public safety community to segment and target different perspectives on location-based technologies.
- The PSAC mobile application focus group is aligned with the FirstNet Authority Roadmap User Experience technology domain. The focus group is working to ensure a positive FirstNet user experience through the development and use of operationally sound mission-enabling applications.
I would like to thank the PSAC for participating in a great virtual Business Meeting. FirstNet’s success would not be possible without the PSAC’s valuable advice and insights to guide the network’s continued growth. The whole FirstNet Authority looks forward to continuing to work with the PSAC to evolve FirstNet for first responders nationwide.
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