Public Safety Broadband Consortium Launched

By Jeff Goldman

November 15, 2006

The group plans to support first responders with city WLANs.

Broadband wireless solution architecture and integration firm Public Safety Broadband last month announced the creation of the Public Safety Broadband Consortium, a partnership with InfiNet Wireless, Lockheed Martin and WiFi-CityWide LLC to offer a complete solution for the development and implementation of municipal wireless public safety networks.

The consortium will offer to cities a wireless public safety solution that uses InfiNet Wireless’ 4.9 GHz mesh routers, with Lockheed Martin and WiFi-CityWide as system integrators. The group was originally created to respond to an RFP from the City of Riverside, California for a citywide wireless network that included a public safety component – and they won that bid.

At the COPSWest law enforcement trade show on October 24th, the consortium demonstrated the ability to stream live video from a police car traveling at high speeds, using Lockheed Martin’s In-Car Mobile Mesh Digital Video solution and InfiNet Wireless’ 4.9 GHz mesh routers. The video, which showed the driver’s perspective in the vehicle, was streamed to monitors for public viewing.

The Riverside Demo

On November 8th, Public Safety Broadband hosted the Broadband Wireless Conference for Public Safety and Public Access in Riverside, demonstrating the capabilities of the consortium’s wireless network. A number of other companies, including Data911, Panasonic and Mobile Mark, were at the conference to demonstrate applications that can be deployed over the network.

Public Safety Broadband CEO Mike Doble says the demonstration at the conference focused on an area of several city blocks surrounding a shopping center, as well as a “test track” nearby leading to a fire station. “We’re outfitting several police cars with mesh radios and in-car video systems, and we’ve also installed fixed surveillance cameras at the shopping center,” Doble says.

Using the surveillance cameras they’ve installed, and also tapping into businesses’ surveillance systems, allowed both police and private security companies to monitor a wide range of locations from inside their patrol cars. “It’s a partnership between private businesses working with the police, both being able to use the video surveillance,” Doble says.

A Total Solution

Doble says the kind of complete solution that the Public Safety Broadband Consortium is offering to municipalities is relatively unique. “Motorola is probably our main competition as far as having a total solution for public safety,” he says. “They do a lot of the pieces themselves – but then, similar to what we’re doing, they also bring in several partners to provide the full solution.”

And it’s not just about being able to provide the solution, Doble notes – it’s also about having the expertise to back it up. Companies which are focusing on free public Wi-Fi that might bid on a public safety solution, he says, “don’t have the expertise like Lockheed has with public safety – that’s more of an area where you need a company like Lockheed or Motorola to provide a complete solution.”

Still, that doesn’t mean the consortium won’t target public access RFPs as well. “The drive is to put together a total solution to go out and win projects,” Doble says. “It’s focused on public safety, but we also have WiFi-CityWide for public access solutions, because often when these networks go in there’s a public access side that helps pay for the public safety piece of it.”

Originally published on .

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