Texas A&M First Responder Exercise, Workshop Set for March
Thursday, February 07, 2019 | Comments

The postponed Texas A&M University (TAMU) Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC) Winter Institute and Workshop has new dates of March 25 – 29. The event, originally scheduled in October 2018, was delayed so first responders could support the victims of Hurricane Michael.

AT&T and its First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) are sponsoring the event.

“Now that we have FirstNet and next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) is on its way, it is time for us to figure out how best to leverage the powerful new capabilities that these two networks offer,” said Walt Magnussen, director of TAMU ITEC. “Building the networks was hard but not as hard as it will be for us to figure out how to break down the jurisdictional silos and share information.”

The event has four primary areas of inquiry:
NG 9-1-1 to FirstNet integration. The event will look at the additional roles of the call taker, define the network interfaces and discover what sort of information first responders want.
Federation of first responder messaging. Most group messaging platforms are based on enterprise solutions. The institute will begin to let us look at how messages can be shared across jurisdictions in large disasters.
Internet of things (IoT) for first responders. The event will explore what information first responders need and how we get it from the citizens to NG 9-1-1 and dispatch to the first responders.
Data Sharing. Situational awareness tools and CAD systems do not have full interface standardization, resulting in a lack of ability to share information across jurisdictions. ITEC was funded to deploy a data gateway to use application programming interfaces (APIs) to normalize information and share it across platforms. The capability will be field tested at the institute.

The five days will host two separate activities, the first of which is the Winter Institute where first responders and technology firms field test capabilities. This year’s exercise will involve an earthquake involving federal, state and local responders working together. The event is at Disaster City, which is more than 200 acres of collapsed buildings, derailed trains, underground tunnels and hundreds of other props outside College Station, Texas. The exercise will include operational tests of both AT&T customer-owned and AT&T-owned FirstNet deployable systems. The concurrent 2.5-day workshop offers presentations and networks, and attendees will spend the last half day observing the exercise.

More information and registration is here.

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