Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Officials test blimp-like aerostats for hosting wireless systems: "When a natural or manmade disaster puts ground-based communications out of commission, one alternative could come from the air. Officials tested the idea in September in Sandusky, Ohio, during a demonstration of the potential role aerostats might have in restoring emergency communications.

Proponents of aerostats – essentially tethered blimp-shaped balloons – say they can provide temporary wide-area communications when disaster wipes out fixed towers. The Sept. 24 consortium of federal agencies, universities and private companies tested communication payloads on a 75-foot long Army-owned aerostat."
Wireless policies under scrutiny under Obama advisers: "While it will be months before President-elect Barack Obama gets his administration in place and begins to roll out policy priorities, the selection of individuals focusing on high-tech agencies and their issues in the transition period suggests industry giants Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility could face greater scrutiny on open access, consolidation and other issues than they have the past eight years.

"Indeed, two academics assigned to the Federal Communications Commission transition review — Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach — are vocal advocates of open networks in the wireless and broadband sectors. Both are influential bloggers on cutting-edge telecom and high-tech policy issues."

Monday, November 24, 2008

National Governors' Association to Help States with Public Safety Interoperability Governance: "Public safety communications is a critical issue facing state and local policymakers. States continue to struggle to ensure that first responders from various agencies, jurisdictions and levels of government can speak to each other during emergencies or at the scene of a disaster. In the 2007 NGA State Homeland Security Directors Survey, interoperable communications ranked first on a list of homeland security advisors' concerns. According to the survey, nearly every state has a statewide interoperable communications governance structure in place, however, many states need to draw in additional stakeholders or formalize their activities to improve interoperability."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wireless Usage Survey - RadioRescource for Netmotion - A recent vendor survey of public-safety agencies found that nearly 60 percent of the agencies intend to invest more heavily in wireless technology next year. The customer survey was conducted in October across NetMotion Wireless’ installed base of more than 1,200 organizations and government agencies.

Among the key findings:

  • In addition to the 60 percent of agencies that plan to invest in wireless technology next year; 23 percent were unsure; and 17 percent said they did not plan to do so.
  • Given the broad geographic regions they cover, about 94 percent of public-safety agencies rely on multiple wireless data networks for their deployments.
  • Nearly 20 percent use a combination of Wi-Fi and one cellular carrier; more than 70 percent use Wi-Fi networks in combination with multiple wide-area data networks provided by wireless carriers.
  • More than 97 percent of the respondents’ wireless deployments are comprised of laptops, while 35 percent also use tablet PCs, and about 55 percent use smart phones or other wireless handheld devices in their deployments.
  • For 87 percent of IT personnel that support public-safety field forces, the key factor in defining the success of their mobile deployment is whether it saves officers' time and makes officers more productive in the field.
  • During the next two years, 56 percent plan to deploy streaming video within the field and 29 percent plan to use mobile voice over IP within their agencies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Phoenix Shared Radio System - A long-awaited regional partnership allowing [Phoenix area] police, fire and municipal agencies to talk to one another on a single radio-communications frequency is starting to take shape. ... [Bill Phillips, the project manager] anticipates that by December, a board of directors will be formed to discuss the system's design, each city's needs and how costs will be shared. The design could take six to eight months to complete.