The US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has allocated $ 2,988,950 in a new round of funding for new interoperable public safety communication systems. Initially funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), through his Innovation and research of small business The program (SBIR), Catalyst Communications Technologies of Forest, Virginia, received this SBIR Phase III award for commercializing its interoperable communications solution.
Prior to that, S&T provided SBIR funding for Phase I and Phase II to Catalyst to develop interoperable solutions for terrestrial mobile radio (LMR) and long-term evolution communication systems (LTE) for public safety. Catalyst created a roadmap for effective interoperability during Phase I and is currently finalizing prototypes to build Phase II for various LMR systems and a public safety control console that seamlessly supports LMR and LTE.
The NIST Phase III Award will allow Catalyst to continue the work begun at S&T in 2018 to commercialize a standards-compliant solution that will allow the new Critical Call Applications (MCPTT) on LTE mobile phones to communicate with the two existing LMR public safety subscribers and dispatchers.
“The first responders rely on interoperable communication tools to make life-saving decisions. S&T’s partnership with Catalyst and their recent continued work with NIST are steps to ensure that public safety, using MCPTT applications on LTE devices, can seamlessly communicate with colleagues on their LMRs, ”said S&T Program Manager Norman Speicher. “The last thing they need to consider when reacting to an incident is whether they are able to contact the colleagues who react – that should be a given.”
NIST Study of public safety communications (PSCR) The department provided funding under the Middle Class Facilitation and Job Creation Act 2012. This award is part of PSCR’s tripartite approach to improving LMR to broadband (LTE / 5G) capabilities and providing them to first responders. This SBIR effort represents an approach to radio protocol interface technology over the Internet / connectivity systems; the other two efforts support Project 25 Radio 3rd Generation Partnership Generation Project (3GPP) Development of functional functions and creation of software-defined radio capabilities for connecting broadband networks with the old LMR systems.
“Commercialization is a key priority for NIST and the Department of Commerce,” said PSCR Chief Derek Orr. “This SBIR effort not only provides public safety with another ability to connect its existing critical voice systems with new broadband systems, but also represents a significant investment in a small US company to market innovative products.”
Finding interoperable communication solutions for public safety is a priority issue for S&T. Many providers have developed means of communication between LMR and LTE public safety platforms. Attempts to communicate between multiple LMR systems from different vendors during public safety events often create barriers to effective first response in an emergency. S&T’s Mission and Capabilities Support Office and the Interoperability and Compatibility Technology Center are working to achieve interoperability with partners such as Catalyst.
The collaboration between S&T, Catalyst and NIST is a step closer to implementing and standardizing an interface to successfully activate interoperable MCPTT networks through both LMR and LTE. These efforts will help ensure that LMR, LTE and future generations of communication technologies allow responders to connect immediately and efficiently.
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