blog-post image

NIST Awards $38.5 Million to Accelerate Public Safety Communications Technologies

Wed, June 14, 2017

The following is a cross-post from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded $38.5 million to 33 research and development (R&D) projects aimed at advancing broadband communications technologies for first responders.

“Through programs like FirstNet, President Trump and this administration are working hard to keep Americans safe,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These grant awards will help fulfill our mission, ensuring that first responders have access to advanced tools that can save lives.”

The multiyear grants are intended to help modernize public safety communications and operations by supporting the migration of data, video and voice communications from mobile radio to a nationwide public safety broadband network, as well as accelerating critical technologies related to indoor location tracking and public safety analytics.

The grants are part of the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program funded by NIST’s $300 million allocation from the 2015 auction of advanced wireless service licenses. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 provided the funding so that NIST could conduct an R&D program to help public safety overcome critical technical barriers, spur innovation as well as investment in public safety broadband, and realize the full potential of wireless broadband capabilities.

NIST reviewed 162 proposals from a diverse pool of national and international applicants across industry, academia and public safety organizations. The 33 selected projects span five key technology areas that have the potential to greatly enhance public safety communications and operations:

  • Mission Critical Voice (moving from traditional radios to cellular systems)

  • Location-Based Services (conducting indoor positioning, navigation and mapping)

  • Public Safety Analytics (handling and exploiting more data)

  • Research and Prototyping Platforms (enabling low-cost R&D tools)

  • Resilient Systems (ensuring systems work in poor conditions)

Additional details may be found on the Public Safety Communications Research website. A full list of the awardees and their projects can be found here.