NIST Issues 2017 Public Safety Enhanced User Interface R&D Roadmap

The public safety community is in a period of great transition. Over the next 20 years, technology advancements will enable data, video, and eventually voice communications to migrate from disparate Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks to a nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network, the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). Emerging technologies within this new infrastructure present opportunities and challenges for public safety, and the process of modernizing responder communications requires significant coordination and planning. To facilitate the transition from LMR to LTE, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program initiated a research and development (R&D) planning process to determine what technology investments are of highest priority to the public safety community.

The 2017 Public Safety Enhanced User Interface R&D Roadmap summarizes the results of PSCR’s Public Safety Enhanced User Interface R&D Roadmap. This report is the third of several technology roadmaps that PSCR has developed over the past several years to better inform the investment decisions of R&D organizations supporting the public safety community. This report intends to outline the current state of user interface technologies, forecast the evolution of user interface capabilities and gaps, and identify potential R&D opportunities that would improve public safety’s use of enhanced user interface technologies within operational settings. Upon completion of this roadmap, PSCR intends to identify R&D project ideas that pose the greatest operational benefit to public safety. These opportunities may be considered for inclusion in PSCR’s Innovation Accelerator program, drives R&D through prize challenges, grants, and/or cooperative agreements. Given the scope of technology under consideration and level of effort required to deliver enhanced user interface technologies to public safety, PSCR hopes that these findings and recommendations will educate stakeholders across all levels of government, industry, and academia.

The roadmap was drafted by soliciting input from technology experts, end-users, and researchers across government, public safety, industry, and academia. This cross-disciplinary approach enabled PSCR to evaluate existing R&D efforts, potential partnerships, and future projects against public safety’s unique set of priorities, requirements, and long-term goals.

Roadmap Design Principles: The following principles have guided the process as PSCR created the User Interface Roadmap and past roadmap reports:

  • Build a vision of where the public safety community wants to go, determine what technologies are needed to get there, and provide a route for achieving the vision.
  • Make R&D decisions based on capability requirements and priorities set by the public safety community.
  • Assume that public safety may have to adjust operations to fully realize the benefits of new technologies.
  • Leverage ongoing efforts by other partners to develop and implement the roadmap. This approach will allow PSCR to focus resources to complement and not duplicate ongoing efforts.
  • Get far enough ahead of the technology development curve to influence commercial R&D and leverage economies of scale.
  • Enable public safety to meet generational and public expectations.
  • Employ a cross-disciplinary approach to gather input and develop R&D plans for PSCR initiatives.
  • Identify R&D project opportunities in light of the evolution of technology capabilities and gaps forecasted by working group participants.