Operation Convergent Response 2019: 5G Public Technology Innovation in Action (Sponsored)
By Maggie Hallbach
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | Comments

With the 5G revolution in mobile communications, access to 5G connectivity is set to revolutionize public safety technologies.

In November, Verizon and Nokia hosted Operation Convergent Response (OCR), an immersive learning experience that gathered hundreds of attendees from across the public safety community to demonstrate how the latest 5G innovations and advancements in crisis-response technology can be used to help first responders save lives.

Last week, I wrote about how OCR’s simulated crisis scenarios provided an important opportunity for first responders and public safety officials to experience the transformative potential of technologies working together to drive new approaches to emergency response.

The event also provided attendees with an early glimpse at the new 5G-enabled future of public safety technology. At this year’s event, Verizon deployed a live commercial 5G new radio (NR) system and an Airborne Cell to support much of the technology on display. For many attendees, it was their first chance to see 5G in action.

Whether it’s getting more useful insights from video data, instant analytics for real-time situational awareness, augmented reality (AR) for firefighters in low-visibility environments, virtual reality (VR) to train and better understand the magnitude of potential events, 5G promises to help transform mission-critical services vital for public safety and introduce new, technologies for first responders. It is important that crisis response teams on the front line of emergency response can take advantage of these technologies, and OCR provided a rare opportunity for first responders to witness the transformative potential of 5G firsthand.

At the complex terror attack scenario, for example, attendees experienced a coordinated response to a multi-layered terrorist attack on pedestrians and a hotel. As part of this demonstration, a 5G small cell provided the network connectivity for a 5G-enabled camera mounted on a K9 officer, capable of relaying video footage from the scene in near real-time to a joint operations center (JOC) where law enforcement and other government officials and advisors could offer additional support and information remotely.

The power of this next generation of 5G network-connected command centers was demonstrated throughout OCR’s crisis scenarios. Keeping first responders connected during these kinds of emergencies is the ultimate goal. 5G’s incredible capacity for low latency and high speeds brings new levels of intelligence, responsiveness and efficiency to complex, high-pressure situations.

Several of the companies that provided the new technologies featured during OCR are part of Verizon and Responder Corp’s 5G First Responder Lab, a first-of-its-kind program that identifies promising technology companies from around the world and gives them access to 5G technology to develop, test and refine their 5G solutions for public safety. With the 5G First Responder Lab, Verizon is helping to drive the future of public safety forward by providing opportunities for startups and new companies to develop their solutions, backed by Verizon’s long heritage in technology innovation. The 5G First Responder Lab is made up of several cohort partners focused on emerging technologies, and OCR provided an opportunity to see many of these advanced technologies in action in the hands of real first responders.

During OCR, Verizon announced the third cohort of companies to join the 5G First Responder Lab. The startups in Cohort 3, including Edgybees, SimX, Knightscope, Lumineye, and ZeroEyes, focus on developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) for weapon detection, geo-intelligence, autonomous security and smart cities solutions, all powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband.

Verizon has provided critical connectivity to public safety agencies nationwide for decades, and is committed to driving the next generation of public safety technology innovation. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network has already gone live in select cities this year, and last year, Verizon launched priority and preemption services, giving public safety users access 24/7 to the highest priority levels. Verizon’s network coverage and reliability for public safety is best-in-class, something that could not have been achieved without working closely with public safety partners over a 28 plus year heritage in this space.

Maggie Hallbach is vice president of state, local, and education markets for Verizon. In this role, she manages a nationwide team responsible for developing solutions to address the increasingly complex requirements of state government, local government, and education clients. Maggie and her team focus on using Verizon’s industry-leading portfolio of advanced communications and IT solutions, including cloud, security, networking and Response Solutions, to meet the needs of public sector customers and the citizens they serve.

With more than 20 years with Verizon, Maggie has held a variety of roles where she has responsibility for delivering customer experience enhancements and increasing shareholder value.

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