FirstNet will include apps for first responders

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was created to equip America’s first responders with state-of-the-art communications tools, enabled by the first nationwide interoperable, wireless broadband network. But FirstNet is doing much more than building a communications network: the organization is also working to drive continuous innovation over the Network – including the development of an open, integrated applications ecosystem tailored for public safety users.

Through FirstNet’s outreach to public safety, first responders have told them about the advantages of data communications in the field and their growing use of mobile broadband tools and technologies to help save lives. They have heard from responders at station visits, city and state meetings, training opportunities and ride-alongs about the promise of using applications over the FirstNet Network.

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“Having vetted, standardized, secured apps on a secure network is extremely important,” said Phoenix Fire Department Deputy Chief Amos Chalmers. Melissa Matey, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana State Police, said technology also “greatly enhances” officer safety. “We rely very heavily on those systems because when we’re on a traffic stop, we don’t know who we’re dealing with,” she said.

FirstNet is taking first responders’ feedback and using their ideas to cultivate an open, integrated applications ecosystem on the FirstNet Network, so that public safety personnel will have access to more targeted applications and more timely data than ever before possible.

FirstNet’s applications strategy, which is discussed in this video presentation, is built around the following three key tenets:

  1. Developing a rich set of applications for use by public safety;
  2. Ensuring public safety drives new applications requirements for the Network;
  3. Providing the capabilities for the full life cycle of applications.

As an important component of this strategy, FirstNet is incorporating public safety’s first-hand knowledge and creativity to develop an applications ecosystem. FirstNet is hoping to open the doors to more developers from public safety by providing them with the tools and support commonly afforded open development environments.

“What excites me is that there are firefighters, EMTs, or patrol officers out there with ideas,” said Captain Chris Lombard, a Seattle firefighter who also serves on the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). “They’re looking for the perfect mechanism to get that idea in motion – that’s the potential and opportunity of what FirstNet will enable for us.”


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