Datacasting Sends Encrypted Data Streams in Simulated Active School Shooting
Thursday, October 25, 2018 | Comments

A partnership of federal and state public-safety officials, local school staff and public TV engineers conducted an exercise demonstrating the power of datacasting to quickly identify and neutralize threats to school safety. The simulated school shooting incident was conducted at the Adams Central Community Schools in Indiana.

School administrators and teachers participated in the demonstration, but students were not on campus.

Datacasting uses public TV broadcast infrastructure and spectrum to enhance public-safety communications capabilities and send encrypted, targetable data streams to designated public-safety personnel to help swiftly locate and neutralize threats to the public. The data stream was used to share critical information from the simulated incident with first responders and public-safety officials from multiple agencies. This information included live video from multiple cameras, school blueprints and other information that would be essential for responding to and resolving an actual school shooting threat.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) sponsored the event in collaboration with the Integrated Public Safety Commission, Adams County Sheriff, Adams County Emergency Management Agency, and Adams County School District.

PBS 39, the public TV station serving Adams County and headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, provided the datacasting equipment and expertise. America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a strategic partner with DHS in promoting the public-safety benefits of datacasting nationwide.

Datacasting’s one-to-many communications architecture makes it possible to send huge streams of information quickly to an unlimited number of law enforcement officers and first responders without risk of the congestion and system failure often associated with cellular networks during emergencies.

“I’m convinced that state and local first responders can truly benefit from this public television station/public safety partnership,” said David W. Vice, executive director, Integrated Public Safety Commission. “The Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Integrated Public Safety Commission have been working behind the scene for months on this pilot project, and we’re gratified to see it in action today.”

For two years DHS S&T and its technical performers Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and SpectraRep have collaborating with APTS on a series of pilot projects demonstrating datacasting’s compelling public-safety use cases in various parts of the country.

“Datacasting has the potential of providing key visual information to first responders for incidents where this technology is used,” Shane L. Rekeweg, Sheriff, Adams County, Indiana. “Both quality as well as quantity of information is important to first responders for a rapid and decisive response where other current technology fail to provide. A rapid response is needed by first responders in order to save lives. Today’s demonstration showed that datacasting does in fact provide the quality and quantity that first responders need for faster response resulting in saving more lives in critical incidents.”

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