PSCR is part of NIST and provides scientific and engineering expertise to help public safety realize their communications potential, “that so many people assumes exist, but it doesn’t.” PSCR existed in a small capacity before 9/11, but experienced growth due to the focus and effort on interoperability at that time and most recently due to legislation authorizing the First Responder Network Authority or FirstNet.
What are the current trends?
PSCR is focusing on current voice capabilities of 4G LTE and interoperability with existing communications devices. Building for the future, PSCR is researching enhanced location based services, advanced data analytics to make decisions, and enhanced user interfaces. Traditional commercial devices are not designed with public safety in mind.
“As consumers today we take advantage of enhanced analytics to help us make decisions. We can apply those types of algorithms to public safety data to have better response during an operation and make quicker, better decisions and allow them to do more in less time.”
How the Research Happens
PSCR leverages internal scientists working on measurements of technology and measurements of success. PSCR also uses prize challenges and grants to get industry and academia involved nationally and internationally. Challenges to being innovative include planning lead time for government process for procurement, grants, and hiring. There is, “a tension between innovation and process.”
How to Get Involved (Time)
Attend the four-day annual stakeholder conference for industry, academia, public safety, and government, a primary event for public safety communications technology issues. This year’s conference will take place June 5-8 in San Diego, California.Interview with Dereck Orr, Division Chief of Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)