Public safety hinges on quick, clear, and consistent communication, from citizen alerts all the way to dispatching first responders. Next generation connectivity powered by 5G unlocks real-time updates and high speed communication, while advanced technologies such as XR, AI, and ML are changing the way first responders train, deploy and execute in the field. In this conversation we discuss how smart technology has become key to keeping our responders and our communities safe.
Communication Streamlined –– With 5G technology bridging the horizon, possibilities for the future of first responder communications are evolving. Currently, 85% of rural places employ a volunteer fire station, while urban cities struggle to handle the volume. 5G will make it possible for front line communications to become efficiently streamlined, and can be simultaneously customized to suit a specific environment.
Real-time Information –– By providing first responders with necessary data and omitting analytics that may not be assistive in a given situation, actions taken on a moment’s notice can be as informed as possible. For example, new technology such as PNNL’s Vital Tag device can provide responders with real time information about the status of patients in critical condition. In the future, it will be necessary to consider what kind of information is useful to first responders for making instantaneous decisions, versus leaving out data that is not helpful in the given moment.
Expanding Public Safety –– Moving forward, the possibilities of functional technology will expand the capabilities of public safety. As new and innovative devices are released, it will be pertinent for first responders to be able to quickly and efficiently identify the problem that the technology was designed to solve otherwise the technology may become obsolete.
Sheena Fowler 00:00
Join us on your Wednesday afternoon for today's conversation in the Living Lab: First response technology, public safety. My name is Sheena Fowler. I'm the Vice President of Innovation at the Orlando Economic Partnership and the executive to the Orlando Tech Council, where community building, strengthening regional partnerships, and the greater success of the Orlando region and beyond. I had the privilege of hosting the first Verizon: Lake Nona event series, and I'm excited to be back here again. We're discussing a new topic that's very top of the mind: building safer and stronger communities. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lake Nona, and what this smart city is doing, Lake Nona setting the stage is one of the first fully connected communities where technology based solutions are piloted among thousands of residents. The Living Lab is powered by Verizon 5g Ultra-Wideband Network, enabling real time data across the city center's healthcare, mobility, wellness, education, and retail infrastructure. Together Verizon and Lake Nona are making it possible for enterprises to introduce innovation with more resources and less barriers, closing the gap between ideation and real time applications. Today, we'll be discussing what it looks like as it pertains to public safety. So without further ado, let me introduce our experts who are here with us. First, let's start with Cory from Verizon. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cory Davis 01:36
Hi, Sheena, thanks for that. Happy to be here and excited to talk to everybody. So I'm the National Director for Public Safety and the Verizon response team. I've been with Verizon for 17 years. My team today is partnering with public safety and public sector agencies nationwide. To help them stay connected, innovate plan for the future, mitigate any pain points and their agencies, prepare for times of crisis events and emergencies across the United States.
Sheena Fowler 02:03
Wonderful, thank you. Grant, how about you?
Grant Tietje 02:08
Hi everyone, I'm Grant Tietje and I work with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. We're a federally funded research and development center. At PNNL I focus on developing technology solutions for first responders. I'm a former first responder myself with about 35 years in the field between paramedic police officer and emergency manager.
Sheena Fowler 02:27
Welcome and Jerry.
Jerry Hauer 02:31
Yeah, I'm Dr. Jerome or Jerry Hauer. I am the former acting Assistant Secretary for public health emergency preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services. I served as the Commissioner of Homeland Security for the state of New York, and the Commissioner of Emergency Management for the city of New York. I also oversaw fire emergency management and emergency medical services for the state of Indiana.
Sheena Fowler 03:09
Wow, welcome. So I think all of you can see there is a breadth of information with these gentlemen. Now, before we kick things off, I want to remind our audience that the Q&A feature is open. So please feel free to ask questions, and it's going to be on the right side of your screen. I'll try to get to those at the end of our conversation. Okay, let's jump in. I want to hear from all of you on how innovators like yourself, the people that you're working with are leveraging technology to target the most pressing public safety challenges. Cory? Let's start with with you. From your perspective, with the Verizon response team, what do you see as the greatest challenges?
Cory Davis 03:53
If I look at a holistic approach, access to technology differs whether you're in a metropolitan area or if you're in a rural area either because of infrastructure or because of funding, which can be a big challenge for widespread adoption and transformation across the board. Also today due to the COVID pandemic, there are macro economic challenges and communities across the nation that no one could have anticipated or planned for. One holistic approach that we're doing is to partner with public safety agencies on digital transformation initiatives that will drive those efficiencies, help make them make smarter decisions, aggregate and analyze data that is coming more and more effectively, which will help these agencies be more productive, safer, more secure and more sustainable long term. Today, my team is using an array of technologies and disaster response, whether it's satellite backhaul solutions, in times zero macro coverage during events like wildfires and severe storms to high gain and high power antenna solutions, which enable connectivity in those harder to reach places, like deep within buildings, offshore remote locations, we use voice over IP to help with redundancy and continuity for PSAPs, which are public safety answering points, and 911 centers, or through our UAS or our drone program, which provides enhanced situational awareness for things like search and rescue in search and rescue missions. My team is also using mission critical PTT out in the field. So that's mission critical push to talk during events, like the most recent presidential inauguration. So a lot of great things happening, a lot of technologies that we're using today.
Sheena Fowler 05:38
That seems like a wide variety of options, so you can really target in and make sure you get the right communication. Awesome. Jerry, what about your experience?
Jerry Hauer 05:49
Yeah, my experience. What I see going on with technology is it's dramatically changing the way first responders both anticipate, respond and recover from various types of incidents. I coordinated the response to Hurricane Sandy, state of New York. Having technology let us know exactly where the hurricane was going to hit allowed us to allocate resources geographically, to be better prepared to respond as soon as the hurricane hit patterns. Once the hurricane had passed, technology allowed us to quickly assess the damage that we had, which was absolutely devastating. So technology for first responders is really transforming the way fire, police, EMS emergency management respond to incidents, deal with incidents and recover from incident. It also is bringing healthcare forward into the realm of the first responder. And that's an exciting component, some what you're doing at Lake Nona.
Sheena Fowler 07:28
Yeah, cause it helps them do their job that much better. Getting some of the other stuff out of the way. Grant, I'd love your opinion on this.
Grant Tietje 07:38
I want to build on what Cory and Jerry have been talking about, you know, we live in remarkable times where finally we've got the communication links being built now that are able to handle what we need to do. New things in first response, our greatest challenge probably is from my perspective just: how do we help our responders understand the opportunities ahead. Granted, there are always limitations on money and things like that. But it's a new day when it comes to technology and first responders. I remember when just connecting was a real challenge. And now we have these opportunities. When we meet with first responders, I think part of the challenge we face is helping them understand those opportunities. The art of the possible needs to be a little bit larger, because they're very grounded in the here and now. And they may not have time to understand all that is out there that could be applied to improve, and not just improve, but maybe fundamentally transform how we do public safety services in our country.
Jerry Hauer 08:48
Very important point.
Sheena Fowler 08:51
Yeah, I'm interested to see how they take this and then evolve practices, as they're continuing to do this. So on that topic of infrastructure grant, what do you see that's being offered right now? And how are smart cities and Living Labs like Lake Nona really evolving this process?
Grant Tietje 09:16
I go back to think about a deputy director of intelligence in the United States who gave this great speech about the future. And she she brought up two points that were interesting that used to be that they would know what was going on. And now she says, by the time I get to the office, on the internet are all these people who are posting up information about an incident. And she also highlighted that we're entering an era of ubiquitous sensors. That speaks to that smart city idea that we're wiring up our cities as we speak, and that's just going to continue to grow at an exponential rate. How do we leverage all of that data in a way that can help responders do their job better, but we need to not overwhelm them with all that data either. We need visual analytics, and intuitive user interface. So that probably backed up by AI, so that responders when they need that information, it's right there at their fingertips, and they can do their job better.
Sheena Fowler 10:18
Yeah, fantastic. Jerry, I want to turn to you for a second. You're on the Verizon first responder Advisory Council, and I've worked with Verizon for many years. Can you tell us about this experience? And why engagement and partners like this are important?
Jerry Hauer 10:35
Yeah, the the Verizon Labs, the 5G responder labs, allow first responders to come into the labs, look at technology, look at the future, and interact with the manufacturers, give them feedback, let them know what they think would work, what might work and what might not work. But it gives them the opportunity to do hands on. To touch it, feel it, look at it. A couple of different things involve visual, put the helmet on, look for people that are trapped in a fire. 3D training - it allows so much. And the interaction between the manufacturer of these advanced technologies and the first responders is a really invaluable experience.
Sheena Fowler 11:50
And, Cory, I'd love to hear your perspective as well. What is the acceptance of this? This is all new technology for these industries that have been around forever.
Cory Davis 12:02
Yeah, absolutely. Sure. That's a great question. So we're so grateful to have such great partnerships with some of the best minds and experience in public safety like Jerry. It's been a key element to how we think about Verizon frontline, which is the most advanced networking technology for first responders, which we just recently launched a few months ago. Just this last week, we had a conversation with Jerry and the team around how can we partner closer with agencies and use advanced technology in mission critical comms, when responding to things like civil unrest. There's been a lot of protests, there's a lot of things happening across the country - how do we help those agencies make decisions and be informed quicker, faster, stronger, and more efficiently. We've also had collaboration around responding more effectively to severe weather events, and conducting after action reviews alongside emergency management agencies post the event. We've partnered with public safety agencies, folks like Jerry, and the first responder Advisory Council around the development of our UAS program - what does it look like? What are some of the challenges? What are some of those pain points around adapting the technology? How can Verizon help? How can Verizon help them ease into that next step, and really drive that business transformation within their agency?
Sheena Fowler 13:25
Wonderful. And, Grant, we've been talking about this in a very general fashion - can you get into a little bit of the specifics of what the differences are when we're looking at a rural location versus a dense urban core? And what does the technology play in each of those phases?
Grant Tietje 13:45
That's a good question. Most of us live in an urban or suburban area where we have services readily available. I think if you ask someone randomly on the street what type of emergency response capabilities are there as you leave the city, probably most would be surprised to hear that it's pretty thin. You might have a few police officers or Game Wardens out in a rural area. It's a volunteer fire department program in the United States. And that's a great thing we can build upon - that's a community really investing in first response, but where they've always lacked is the ability to connect, and the ability to get resources quickly. It's a very interesting moment now where we're able to think about providing resources virtually to people and enter it in the form of information, better connectivity, so they can call for those resources reliably, and that they'll get there. And when we do bring resources into a rural area, can they get there? Can they find it? You know, now we're mapping the world. We're sensing the world. And I think we're gonna see a real plus up for the rural responder, but then on the other hand, for the urban responder, that those same benefits are going to apply. We're going avoid that choke point of information not being able to get through because systems are overwhelmed. And we're gonna be able to supply those resources to responders, because a lot of the concerns we have are usually in the urban areas, and to get help into those urban areas. We can envision, for example, when I've done mutual aid response, it's kind of a surprise when you get there as "Okay, we need to brief down. What do you need us to do? We think of connectivity where you can dot some goggles, and you're virtually there, getting briefed, and maybe even trained on the job you're going to do while you're in route over a day or so to get into that scene, like we've seen with hurricanes and other areas.
Sheena Fowler 15:52
Oh, that's amazing. Jerry, do you have any follow up that?
Jerry Hauer 15:56
Yeah - technology can be customized for the environment that you're trying to introduce it into. Whether it's urban, or suburban with different demands. 85% of the fire departments in the country are volunteer. They're mostly in the more rural areas. When you look at those departments, their needs are a little bit different than fire departments in major cities. The demands on the departments are different. So part of what you do with the technology is you try and customize it for the environment that you're putting it in. And that's one of the good things about having the interaction between manufacturers between Verizon and the first responder community, is ensuring that there's a good dialogue so that things aren't being produced that don't make any sense. that the demands of the first responders are being met.
Sheena Fowler 17:21
Yeah, I think that's interesting. It's easy for a technologist to get excited. But you've got to keep the first responder in mind.
Jerry Hauer 17:32
Your point is a good one, producing a lot of gadgets or widgets or whatever, is great. But if they don't solve a problem, they really can actually inhibit a good response. There needs to be that kind of interaction, so you're producing something that meets a need.
Sheena Fowler 17:58
Absolutely. And I'm sure the accessibility of training to those tools to plays into that.
Jerry Hauer 18:05
Sheena Fowler 18:07
So let's start to turn the conversation to talk about the actual application to the next gen solutions that are making this and the communities easier to work with. Grant, can you tell us about what you're currently working on?
Grant Tietje 18:22
Well, I'm excited to tell you about it. One of the main projects I'm working on now is called Vital Tag. So Vital Tag is a wearable, low cost disposable sensor that was funded by DHS science and technology to deal with the problem of medics being overwhelmed at large scale incidents such as mass shootings. You can only keep an eye on so many patients. And the more critical the patient, the more narrow your view becomes. As we went around the country interviewing first responders, paramedics were loud and clear when they said - "Look, we need a way to have better situational awareness of all the patients under our care in these scenes". So the Vital Tag is intended so anyone can apply it. Once you put it on, it starts transmitting and the responder sees on their smartphone - pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, and a single lead EKG. And it also gives a basic map of where they are in the whole incident scene. We've licensed that technology to a private company and are looking to license that to others. We think this is transformative, because the type of monitoring devices on a typical ambulance, you can maybe monitor one or two people. So our paradigm shift is to say let's monitor everybody.
Sheena Fowler 19:45
That's incredible, so they can make more strategic decisions and stay ahead of the crisis.
Grant Tietje 19:51
Exactly. And I'll just add that they wanted to emphasize it is disposable and low cost so we wanted to make it available to responders in urban or rural areas, where budgets might be tight. So put it on, use it, throw it away, and you can carry it around in your pocket till you need it.
Sheena Fowler 20:12
That's simply incredible. That's really exciting. Okay, so I'm curious, once medical professionals have access to this data, how can hospitals then leverage that?
Grant Tietje 20:25
Well, right now, if you get an incident, the conversation between the incident scene in the hospital starts once the ambulance gets there; the medics have had a chance to assess. And that is usually abbreviated discussion because they're busy taking care of the patient. Well, if we can get that information to the smartphone to the responder, we can get it anywhere. And using good communication systems like 5G, can we push that out? And now, on the scene of a multi trauma incident, say on a freeway, the local trauma center is seeing the vital signs of all the patients, and coupling that with the short report that they'll get from the medic as they're ready to load and move. That creates a much better picture for all the hospitals. It's also a really hard problem. When you have multiple patients, where to send them, how not everyone needs to go to the trauma center, which hospital needs them? Right now, we don't have a lot of data to go on. When we have that incident can we can we use this to give them that awareness so that they can have a very fast but well informed conversation about - where does this patient need to go versus the other, and not have to move them around between hospitals if we make the wrong call later.
Sheena Fowler 21:36
Interesting. And then where are some of the other applications where you see this going in the future?
Grant Tietje 21:43
I think the sky's the limit, you know, search and rescue. How about at sports events, coaches can have this in their pocket. The accelerometer could give you a sense of how hard of a hit a player took, and yet again, be able to transmit that information. I think the way to look at this is that, why wait until the responder gets there to start gathering the data on a critical patient. Let's gather it right away. And then hopefully in the future too, that the people in the ambulance responding other than the driver could put on some headsets. And now look at the live streaming from the scene and actually see that patient that witnesses are providing that information about, and now they've got the vital signs right next to it. That's a lot better than when you arrive at the scene. It's often a big surprise when you open that door, what you're confronted with versus what you're heard from dispatch.
Sheena Fowler 22:36
That made me think of this - this then kind of jumps the communication barrier. So if a patient is having trouble communicating, that data is still being transmitted, and you're able to get that information quickly.
Grant Tietje 22:49
Sheena Fowler 22:51
Wow. Fascinating. Jerry, how do we continue to capture and aggregate the data and make more informed decisions?
Jerry Hauer 23:00
You know, data can be a friend or foe. You've got to have good data. Too much data overwhelms the ability to deal with it. And it means what Grant is talking about, is the ability to use these disposable devices which are really exciting, which allow you to do triage, and pull out data that is valuable in making decisions. You don't want an overwhelming amount of data coming into Google or triage location at a mass casualty incident. Because unnecessary data actually just slows things down. So if you have something like Grant is talking about, where you've got a set of data, that gives you a good idea of the status of the patient, and allows you to make critical decisions as to where a patient should go. It really becomes your friend. It's when you're sitting with input from so many sources, and you get just reams of data coming in that it's very difficult to interpret. So when devices are developed like Grant has done, having usable data is critical. And not having been overwhelmed with data that is useless.
Sheena Fowler 24:55
Absolutely. And Cory so we're talking about these applications, but in order for these to really do their job, we need infrastructure. Can you talk to us about that?
Cory Davis 25:06
Yeah. And that's why we're so excited about 5G technology. Massive bandwidth for one, riding on a strong fiber, backhaul backbone network. If you think about our current 4G technology as a six lane highway, then with 5G, add another 1000 lanes to that highway, right? This will allow all that data that Jerry and Grant had been talking about to be transferred more quickly. This is especially important in those high density areas like stadiums and urban areas that we were talking about before. But the second one is the ultra low latency, so we're talking sub 10 milliseconds. And what that means is it's really the total round trip time that it takes a data packet to travel. And then with advanced technologies like mobile edge compute what we call mech. We can then bring the processing power closer to the network. And then a third is just the number of connected devices that 5g has the capability to connect. You can connect up to 1 million devices in a square kilometer. That's going to provide a lot of situational awareness. It's going to provide a lot of surveillance or types of data. That is the good data that Jerry was talking about. This will also allow cities to do things like smart lighting, remote security, monitoring, intelligent rail, and then for our law enforcement and public safety folks, precise gunshot detection.
Sheena Fowler 26:43
Interesting, and how do drones and payload capacity play into this?
Cory Davis 26:52
I think by harnessing the power of 5G, by harnessing all that data, we can use drones to feed that information back to the HQ. You can feed that information back to the hospitals, back to the medical care facilities. That way, everybody is getting real time data quickly. And in that way, they can make those real time decisions on the fly, and they're not waiting for it to happen.
Sheena Fowler 27:26
Correct me if I'm wrong, this is evolving? I think the way people think about telehealth right now, it's been through COVID - how you access your doctor. But this is now the much larger scale, how we're communicating telehealth on the larger scale. Yeah, absolutely. Interesting. And, Jerry, I'm interested, do you have any additional thoughts on telehealth? On the way that the 5G infrastructure is going to change some of this communication structure?
Jerry Hauer 27:59
No question about it. 5G is going to allow better situational awareness. Then as Cory just said, connecting more devices, being able to anticipate what you're getting into before you even get to an incident. Police fire EMFs using people's smartphones as input for data that allows you to look at movement in the case of an incident, the ability to bring healthcare far forward and have real time healthcare that used to be done in the emergency run room, being done out in the field. All of this is going to depend on having that backbone of 5G with great bandwidth and very low latency. It is an enormous step forward as far as dealing with public safety and emergency medical kinds of incidents.
Sheena Fowler 29:25
And in your experience, the limiting of that time, is that the difference of life or death?
Jerry Hauer 29:32
Oh, absolutely no question. Particularly in multi casualty incidents. When you're collecting all this data and trying to determine who gets care, where they go, how they go, and you're dealing with lots of input from multiple sources. There's no question that this data is fed back to a hospital or a command post. As I said earlier, speed is going to be absolutely critical. And speed is going to help save lives.
Sheena Fowler 30:18
Amazing. And Grant, what are your thoughts on the real time applications of this?
Grant Tietje 30:26
I think we need to not fear the multi lane highway that Cory described that is 5G. This is a huge opportunity to be able to communicate at that speed and bandwidth. And that means that we're probably going to be also looking at how can we assist the responder to help them cope with all that's coming in? I really appreciate Jerry's remarks about overloading. For years we're like "Oh, if we only had more information in assembly". You get what you wish for. And now we're just drowning in information. So I think the system, the communication network that we're talking about in the very near future, is going to also allow us to have that intelligent agent - the AI that's going to help the responders sort through all that customize the tools that they have at their disposal, and for their role, so that they're most efficient in what they're doing, and we avoid that overload. That is a very real thing as Jerry described.
Sheena Fowler 31:28
Wow. So, Jerry, when does disaster strikes? Talk to us about interoperability.
Jerry Hauer 31:37
Interoperability is central to responding to any disaster. Any kind of an incident, whether it's an active shooter, a flood, a hurricane, a tornado of mass supplier. Agencies have to be able to communicate on their mobile devices, on their land mobile radios, on their mission critical push to talk, any device that is carrying voice or video, or any other information - the ability for those devices to talk with one another. No matter who the carrier is, no matter what the device is, it's critical to ensuring a safe response. It's critical to ensuring a coordinated response. After Hurricane Sandy hit, we realized that the National Guard was flying helicopters to do damage assessments. But they couldn't talk to the first responders on the ground. So we had to go buy radios to give to the National Guard with their helicopters so they could talk to first responders to either do rescues or to get us information about damage assessment. That kind of interoperability is central to any kind of response.
Sheena Fowler 33:21
That's incredible. And Cory, I'm interested in your perspective on this.
Cory Davis 33:26
Yeah, Sheena, I echo everything that Jerry says here. We've been talking about interoperability for more than 20 years. So everybody, anybody who is part of the public safety community and ecosystem agrees that when there's an emergency, there is a dire need for interoperability, no matter the network, the device, the platform, or the application. Interoperability has always been a critical element and foundation to how we support communities, where it was also a critical pillar and foundation in developing the Verizon frontline. We've been championing interoperability to ensure that first responders have the best quality of service, and the ability to share information like Jerry was talking about between agencies and departments. Again, regardless of the choice of network, device, app or platform. I think we've made a lot of progress in these efforts here at Verizon, and there's still a ton of work to be done industry wide. I'm just proud of the the stance that Verizon has taken in championing interoperability and really leading efforts industry wide to make interoperability a reality.
Sheena Fowler 34:36
Acceleration in regards to years or decade, how fast is this then? How fast have you seen that acceleration to look beyond network. To really look at that interoperability as of key focus?
Cory Davis 35:00
Since we launched 4G LTE, we've seen things ramp up over the last four or five years. We saw a lot more focus around it. But I think we're gonna see it more especially Sheena. With 5G and with first responders using technology more, I'm still talking with agencies across the country that are still moving from pen to paper, to tablets, smartphones. There's still a bunch of rural agencies that haven't taken that digital transformation jump yet. So I think it's happening, but it's going to have to happen a lot more quickly as everybody starts to adapt this digital transformation and starts to use technology in their everyday efforts and missions.
Sheena Fowler 35:44
Wow. So Cory, you mentioned the importance of open source data and connectivity. This brings up a really good point about our digital safety and the integrity of our data. Can you share a little bit about the safety of this?
Cory Davis 36:02
Yeah. So the safety and is super critical, right? We think about what's happening today. Just this week there was a cyber attack in a major oil pipeline that's providing oil and gas energy resources from the south, all the way up to the northeast. And as you can imagine, it's wreaking havoc across the country. There are already states that are putting in national directions of emergencies, so the security is such a key aspect. And it's also a big pillar of 5G. As we see 5G, we see a 5G private core. You see standalone cores as things get virtualized. We see things getting even more secure. So security plays a huge role in everything that we do. And it's also a key pillar when we're thinking about these frontline technologies, as we roll them out.
Sheena Fowler 37:07
And I want to open this up to Jerry - what are your thoughts on this? How do we progress safety and privacy?
Jerry Hauer 37:16
It's a challenge. We are, particularly when it comes to transmitting the healthcare data field to the hospital, from the patient who's at home, to their physician's office, often security is absolutely critical. It's actually law. HIPAA violations are not something we want to get into. So security of the data, not a cybersecurity expert. I leave that you Grant and Cory. I just know, from a medical perspective, it's very important that the data that's being transmitted stays in a closed pipe, and can't be harvested or interrupted by someone other than the physician and the patient.
Sheena Fowler 38:29
Grant, what about you? What's your perspective on this?
Grant Tietje 38:35
It's an interesting problem. Because we're used to in the responder world of what are the threats and hazards in our jurisdiction. When we connect the world, that perspective changes. Who knows who caused the problem with the pipeline, could be something in a country far away. So we're looking at if we can get the technology down to allow us to effectively connect and safely connect. We also have to ask ourselves where is that threat coming from, and have maybe a reexamination of how we respond to incidents. I heard a great lecture from a General at the Pentagon who said "Warfare, staging in our concept of a battlefield, for example of being limited to a geographical space, may no longer be a correct definition, that the battlefield is virtual, and that maybe we see threats to our security in a nation state to nation state". Conflict playing out in our digital world. We also have to fight this problem of - while we can connect, does the consumer believe that it's safe and secure? We've got to be able to demonstrate that we can perform, and every time there's a bad incident like this pipeline, it plays to every capability. People tend to paint with a broad brush, and not trust anybody when it comes to digital data and things like that. So I think this is an evolving conversation that's going to be going on for quite a while. We're still getting our arms around what this new domain means for public safety.
Sheena Fowler 40:17
Well, I think it's interesting you mentioned talking about the physical space. When you're looking at some of these new technologies, what process do you have to look through all these different lenses to make sure it's effective?
Grant Tietje 40:37
Looking back, the technology that we would be presented with in the responder world was fairly understandable. You may not be able to take it apart and repair it, but you understood how it worked and what the purpose of the technology was, and could see how it could apply to support your mission. I think that's changing rapidly. We're hearing from responders that companies are coming to saying, look, I've got this gadget, and it's got artificial intelligence. Well, everybody's still grappling with how to apply artificial intelligence in the real world. So I think we're gonna see response agencies at a disadvantage in evaluating sophisticated technology that is connected at the edge, that's connected to larger systems that provide whole new capabilities. We develop it with DHS, funding a process called the operational field assessment, OFA. It was intended to provide responders as consumers of this technology to help them make the buy decision evaluation. Go from just handing it to somebody saying hey, go check this out, doesn't work, should we buy it? It gives you a methodical process to go through to evaluate complex technologies and come up with conclusions that are defensible. You may want to buy it after that analysis. Can you convince your city council, your mayor to buy it? This provides them with a fast way to do it on their own, or they can use that OFA process to hire a company who maybe has more technological expertise in that area. And that way you're not arguing about how to go about analyzing it, you're talking about what did we find out? We're focusing on what the results are. And that's a free process available on the DHS website.
Sheena Fowler 42:29
That's fantastic. In my line of work, that's what I see as the most frequent issue, is the translation of the technology to different types of people with different levels of expertise. So that's really interesting. Thank you. This has been a really interesting conversation so far. Before we start to get to a close (if you can, believe it or not, we're starting to get there) - let's touch base on what this means for Living Labs and connected communities like Lake Nona. What could a fully customizable approach to public safety look like for responders in the future? Cory, let's start with you.
Cory Davis 43:11
Yeah, thanks, Sheena. You know, communications and situational awareness are critical during emergency response. By harnessing the power of 5G it'll enable first responders to communicate more effectively, like we talked about, not only with their agencies with all of those who are part of the response and recovery efforts, it will also allow these agencies to make quicker and smarter decisions. And then Jerry touched on this a little bit earlier around our Verizon 5G Responder Lab - they're working on things like smart firefighter helmets that can see through zero visibility situation using computer vision, AR, to high sensors that can identify and track assets, whether they're on land, or in sea in a 3D environment, to determining drone data into actionable insights that are linked to map base environments. Another is using machines in robotics to enter a potentially dangerous environment to gather that intel instead of sending a human being. And then I think we talked a lot about XR and AR for training purposes. It's just such an exciting time to live in for all of our communities, and Lake Nona as a place that can really showcase what is possible for the future.
Sheena Fowler 44:30
It's incredible what I've seen so far, and I'm excited to see what Verizon brings to the table. Grant, I'd love to get your perspective.
Grant Tietje 44:41
I think if you're looking at technology where it's this tidal wave of innovation and capabilities that are potentially on the horizon, that the fun idea is that we're going to be able to have responder communities be much more nimble and able to adapt quickly to opportunity. As well as to hazards or threats, it's tended to be a very linear approach in the responder community in my experience. That was because the tools just weren't there. I think we not only will benefit from the opportunity, but we have to seize it if we're going to be able to get the most out of the technology and look at new hazards that may be presented in the future from whatever source. That's a very interesting change of how we look at public safety. We may, I think, the entering an era too where we'll be ready to change our fundamental ideas about what these missions are, and how we define what the roles are for first responders. Now that we're giving them these tools, we may not do the job the same way. We're probably going to be able to house people that normally would have been in jail for a minor offense, it can be truly at home under house arrest, for example, and not the ankle bracelet, but something far more sophisticated, but also well controlled, so that they can serve their debts to the community, but at the same time, not lose their job, and be actually under closer supervision that they would be if they were inside of jail. So I think we've got to be ready for that paradigm shift in the first responder world that those new technologies are going to drive. And that's a very exciting thing to think about.
Sheena Fowler 46:32
Jerry, what about you?
Jerry Hauer 46:36
When I look at Lake Nona, I think about the future. Lake Nona provides a common operating picture. It's an environment where there is connectivity between the various first responding agencies, the medical community, and people in the community. 5G is going to be critical for maintaining an environment like Lake Nona. But having a common operating picture is going to make it easy. As Cory said, it's going to make it easier for first responders to understand what exactly is going on, and how best to respond to any kind of an incident, whether it's an active shooter, a big fire, you name it, having a common operating picture allows better coordination, better response, better use of resources, and better safety for first responders.
Sheena Fowler 47:59
As we talk about this new framework for collaboration with first responders, I wonder how you envision this is attracting new people to the industry? You know, different people that perhaps may not have been interested in being a first responder, but interested in the technology that now have that capability? What do you envision? Jerry, let's start with you.
Jerry Hauer 48:25
That's a great question. I really haven't given a lot of thought to it. But as you ask it, I think there there will be people who are our technology focus, who will be more attracted to getting involved in public safety in one form or another. They may not want to be the firefighter on the front line or the police officer. But they could be involved in the the dispatch center, or the other components of public safety. At the end of the day, some may want to be on the front line and use all this new technology, because it is transforming the way we're doing public safety response.
Sheena Fowler 49:25
Cory, what about you this, this new framework or collaboration?
Cory Davis 49:29
As we're out talking to public safety agencies on a daily basis, I'm seeing this new generation of very techie types of folks getting into the public safety space. Because they're so excited about the future of how technology can help cities and communities to be safer, more sustainable, more secure, and really, they come into these public safety agencies and they really push the envelope, ask a lot of questions, say, "Hey, I know we did it this way. Why don't we try it this way?" and really injecting and introducing new technologies to drive those efficiencies within those agencies. So I'm seeing that today, really excited, and it gets us really excited to talk to these folks when they're excited about the technology, and to see how it can potentially help their agencies be more productive.
Sheena Fowler 50:31
That's incredible. Grant, what about you?
Grant Tietje 50:36
Well, if you're a first responder, newly hired and you have some skills in cyber and other technologies, you're not going to stay on the street very long. You're hot property. Retaining those employees is tough, it's hard to do. Because they are quickly lured away by windows, great skill sets into other agencies or the private sector. We may see also that if we look at the balance of the workforce in a typical first response, we want to push everybody we can that are doing the job in the street, doing the actual work of our mission, that balance may shift. Because we'll rely so much on technology that agencies may have a higher proportion of people who are not doing that kind of work directly. They're so transformative in what they're able to accomplish. It's really a plus up for the capabilities in the street. You can see, for example, an officer on the working call certainly has partners there. But you could see a virtual partner, or partners looking over their shoulder and helping them and those partners really need to be in their department. It could be a contracted service that is helping them get that investigation done right away, because we have information right now that could lead to the arrest within minutes, if we only had people that had time to search through the networks and utilize all the capacity we have within this great communication system and computers that we have at our disposal. Looking further out, you can look at it like a next generation operation center. We're kind of restricted to the brick and mortar model. You get everybody in there that you can and anybody else is coming to help you, you got to find room for them to sit. I'm sure Jerry's experienced that in his career, you want to get a lot of help, but then where do you put them? Right now we're probably looking at a very near term where we've got these virtual operations centers that people can contribute in a very robust and meaningful way to the response in an operation center level, but they're located elsewhere, anywhere on the globe. And we can get in there working immediately and not wait for that mutual aid person to arrive to work in the operation center. That could allow us to get people on problems right away at scale.
Sheena Fowler 52:58
That's transformative right there. Eliminating the barriers. That seems silly, that space issue. How incredible. Okay, friends, we're at the question and answer part of the show. So let's start with you, Cory. What innovative technologies are being developed to solve for new and better video uplink resiliency and availability?
Cory Davis 53:46
When I think about video uplink around 5G technology, that's where we're gonna see it really flourish, right? We're talking today on 4G you can get some pretty good download and uplink speeds averaging I would say, 80 to 100 down. You're getting 20 to 30 to 50 up in some situations, and then you move to this 5G Ultra-Wideband environment, and then you throw in things like neck ultra low latency, now you're talking about 3 to 4 gigabits down, and then you're talking about hundreds of megabytes up. So we see a huge appetite and a demand for video, especially with body cameras out there and the public safety space. 5G is really going to solve for some of the some of the limitations from an uplink perspective that we're really excited to roll out here.
Sheena Fowler 54:47
And that's going to change field communication, really, and adverse conditions, right?
Cory Davis 54:54
Oh, absolutely. It absolutely will.
Sheena Fowler 54:57
Awesome. Okay, Grant - where can we find out more information about Vital Tag?
Grant Tietje 55:08
Feel free to contact me directly. I think you'll be able to provide them with my contact information. We should be rolling out a new page on our website shortly for that. You can also get an overview at Northwest Regional Technology Center. And, again, I'll provide that link to you and you can share it with the group.
Sheena Fowler 55:28
Awesome. And when the Vital Tag operation needs to work with a local gateway, does it need to wait for the responder arrival? Or is it transmitted over the network?
Grant Tietje 55:39
Over the network. And we've developed different ways to do that. And we're looking forward to partnering with other organizations like Verizon to see how we can even make that better. So it's very flexible, because we saw the use cases could be in different environments that may have different capabilities when it comes to getting the message out. Getting the communication.
Wonderful. And Jerry, this one's for you. What do you think the first responders are thinking as all this new technology is being thrown at them? Are they excited? Are they ready?
Jerry Hauer 56:16
I think that most first responders evaluate technology very cautiously. They want to see the benefit. They're excited about new technology, but they want to see that it actually helps them and doesn't impede what they're trying to do. So the technology has to really be a value addition. And that's one of the reasons as I said earlier, the labs are so important. Because the interaction between the manufacturers and the end users ensures that this new technology can go through magazines, go online and get the technology. And some of it you just look at and you just shake your head, and you say, what were they thinking? But some of it you look at and say, boy, that is a homerun. That's something that's really going to catch on. So it really depends on the technology.
Sheena Fowler 57:43
There's a big difference between another manual to read and something that they know is going to help them execute much faster.
Jerry Hauer 57:51
Yeah. I think the first responders are more receptive to technology than they've ever been.
Cory Davis 58:02
Just to add really quick to what Jerry's talking about. Because through the Verizon First Responder Advisory Council, they've advised us on multiple products. Obviously we have a lot of great ideas of what we think is right for first responders, and getting that input directly from folks like Jerry and the team has been so valuable, not only for our product lineup, but also as we continue to develop and roll out our Verizon Frontline Platform.
Sheena Fowler 58:31
Fantastic. Well, thank you, friends. Cory, Grant, Jerry, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate this dialogue on this topic. And thank you to our audience for joining in this conversation that has been recorded. We're going to share it next week, so anyone can share it with their communities. I think there's a lot of critical information that we saw here. So feel free to share away. And again, if you want more upcoming information and all of the events that will be taking place on 5Ginnovationlakenona.com is where you'll find that. Thank you so much. Have a great day. Thank you.