Chief Seattle Geek Blog: The Internet of First Responder Things (loFRT)

Bill Schrier writes,  “Internet of Things” or IoT is a common buzzword in the technology community these days.  It refers to the increasingly prevalent distribution of sensors throughout the natural world, and the connection of those sensors – as well as other machines – to the Internet.

The running joke is that IoT is about putting your home refrigerator, thermostat, washer, dryer, microwave, range, TVs, computers, smart phones and even toasters on the Internet, or at least connecting them so they can talk to each other.  Now what a toaster would say to a TV, or what the conversations between a washer and a dryer might include, could certainly make for a lot of talk show jokes and lists on a David Letterman show (should he return).

But clearly creating such an “Internet of Household Things” or IoHT would be quite useful.  Take, for example, the urgent water crisis in California and throughout most of the West.   If you could add sensors to every water fixture in the house, and then connect those sensors to computers and smartphones, you could determine where your water is being used and take steps to cut back use.   Going one step further, if those water sensors also had valves, you could control your household water use from anywhere in the world.  So when your teenager’s shower has gone over five minutes in length, you could abruptly get a notification and then shut off the water (or turn on the cold water full blast) from your hotel room in Hong Kong.

How might this Internet of Things concept apply to First Responders – the paramedics and firefighters and police officers who respond to our 911 calls?

I recently had a twitter conversation about this with Ray Lehr, former fire chief in Baltimore, and former FirstNet State Point of Contact (SPOC) for Maryland.  Ray suggested we should start talking about the Internet of Life Saving Things (IoLST) which I morphed into a possible Internet of First Responder Things (IoFRT).

There are many applications for the IoFRT, and I’d guess they fall into several buckets:

  • First Responder Personal Things – the sensors and equipment which would be on or near a First Responder to help that officer do the job and keep the officer safe.
  • 911 Caller and Victim Things – these sensors would help alert 911 centers and responders to problems so First Responders can quickly and accurately respond to calls for assistance.
  • Information and Awareness Things – these sensors and machines would improve public safety by monitoring the natural and built environments.

Seattle Police Body Worn Video

“First Responder Personal Things” would include a variety of sensors and communication devices.  Body worn video cameras – so much in the news recently after the events in Ferguson, Missouri – are one example of an IoFRT device.  Most such cameras today record their video and hold it in the device.  But if wirelessly connected to the Internet (by, say, FirstNet), a police commander, 911 center and other authorized users could see the video in real time to advise and support the officer.

Read more of Bill’s blog here:

From FCC Daily Digest, May 26, 2015

PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES USER TESTING OF 911 RELIABILITY CERTIFICATION SYSTEM. (DA No.  15-626). (Dkt No 13-75 11-60 ).  PSHSB . Contact:  John Healy at (202) 418-2448, email: or Eric Schmidt at (202) 418-1214, email:



AT&T Asks FCC to Reject Compensation Condition Sought by NPSTC for Waiver

AT&T, Inc., has asked the FCC to reject a compensation condition proposed by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council if the agency decides to grant AT&T a waiver request.

AT&T has asked the FCC for a limited waiver to allow the use of power spectral density (PSD) measurements for certain 800 megahertz band cellular operations in four Missouri markets until the FCC completes action in a proceeding in which it is considering modernizing its cellular licensing rules (TRDaily, Nov. 10, 2014). AT&T has proposed a PSD limit of 250 watts/MHz in non-rural areas and 500 watts/MHz in rural areas. Continue reading

DHS S&T Announces Winners of Innovation Prize Competition

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced the winners of S&T’s first innovation prize competition: The Vreeland Institute, Inc., of Copake, N.Y., and Certa Cito, LLC, of Rochester, N.Y. The competition, “Indoor Tracking of the Next Generation First Responders” focused on the challenge of keeping track of first responders when they are inside buildings, tunnels and other structures.

Interested in learning more? Read the full S&T Press Release.

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 22, 2015

FirstNet held its first Industry Day to discuss the Request for Proposal (RFP) draft which is on the street for comments. I missed it but was able to find out from the web-site a lot of what transpired. It appears as if the business model is looming as the big unknown at this point. Will there be serious bidders who will stand up to spend the Billions of dollars needed to build out this network? Will they believe that the money spent will be an investment in secondary spectrum usage that will assist them with broadband demand?

The other big issue is how many States will opt out and what will the final rules be for these opt-outs. I believe that several states might opt out not because they are not interested in FirstNet for their State but simply because, like anything else that includes both Federal and State governments, there are political situations at play here also. Questions are due next week on May 28th and final comments are due at the end of July. I hope that we all get another chance to see a revised draft before the final RFP is published, the more everyone get to see the changes the more likely FirstNet is to have some qualified bidders. My question still is, does FirstNet have a plan is there is no qualified bidder after the RFP is opened? Other news is below, have a great and safe holiday week-end! Andy Continue reading

Hartsville Messenger Reports: Darlington Native Lloyd Mitchell Recognized for Outstanding Service

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council has recognized Darlington native Lloyd Mitchell, the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s statewide communications coordinator, for his exemplary service to the arena of public safety telecommunications by presenting him with the NPSTC Participants Award.

The NPSTC Participants Award was created to recognize individuals and/or organizations that have supported NPSTC and the public safety community on critical objectives such as achieving interoperability. Mitchell’s contributions play a role in the important work NPSTC does to make public safety telecommunications better

Read complete article here:

Texas Governor Signs Bill to Require Direct Access to 9-1-1 from MLTS

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) on Friday signed into law a measure that will require direct access to 911 service from certain Internet-protocol based telephone systems, including multi-line telephone systems (MLTS).  The new law takes effect Sept. 1, 2015.

SB 788 requires that a business service user that provides telecommunications service, owns or controls a telephone system or an equivalent system that uses IP-enabled service, and provides outbound dialing capacity or access to “configure the telephone system or equivalent system to allow a person initiating a 911 call on the system to directly access 911 service by dialing the digits 911 without an additional code, digit, prefix, postfix, or trunk-access code.”

The bill requires a business service user to comply with the bill’s provisions no later than Sept. 1, 2016.  The new law authorizes the Commission on State Emergency Communications to grant a one-year waiver of the bill’s requirements to a business service user if the requirements would be “unduly and unreasonably cost prohibitive” for a business service user to comply.  The business service user, however, must agree to place an instructional sticker adjacent to each telephone that is accessed using the noncompliant system indicating that during the waiver period the telephone is unable to directly dial 911 and providing instructions for accessing 911 in case of an emergency. Continue reading