FirstNet Public Safety Network, First-of-Kind Devices Meet Critical First-Responder Needs

June 5, 2019 08:00:52

NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Communication platforms are ubiquitous, yet first responders still have difficulty communicating in emergencies.

To meet the vital communication needs of first responders, Siyata Mobile Inc. (TSX.V: SIM) (OTCQX: SYATF) (SYATF Profile) leveraged its strong commercial experience in mission-critical communications systems and launched its FirstNet Ready Uniden® UV350, the first-to-market, in-vehicle device of its kind. FirstNet is being built in a public-private partnership with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and the First Responder Network Authority, an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. FirstNet is continuously expanding coverage, capacity and capability of the platform while first responders currently on the system receive fast, reliable broadband connectivity that consistently outperforms other networks. Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) recently bought Kodiak Solutions, a Push-To-Talk software that is FirstNet enabled. Also in recent news, Sierra Wireless Inc. (NASDAQ: SWIR) introduced its AirLink MG90 High-Performance Multi-Network Vehicle Router now certified and approved for use on FirstNet, and in April Sonim Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SONM) released the Sonim XP3, a rugged handset on the FirstNet communications platform.

  • Historically, first responders have struggled to communicate between various departments in emergencies.
  • Public-private partnership established to develop and operate a dedicated public safety cellular network.
  • Savvy tech companies deliver crucially important devices that are FirstNet Ready.

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

The Birth of FirstNet

Nowhere were first responder communication challenges more evident than in the aftermath of 9/11, which exposed deadly flaws in rescue communications. Police radios gave clear warnings of the imminent collapse of the second tower, transmitted 21 minutes before the building fell. Yet most firefighters never heard those warnings or other orders to get out, and far too many paid the ultimate price.

The existing radio system frequently failed that morning. And even if the radio network had been reliable, it wasn’t linked to the police system. Throughout the horror, heroic efforts were plagued by failures of communication, command and control. These fatal flaws ultimately led to the formation of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to ensure the construction, deployment and operation of a nationwide broadband network that equips first responders with the communication tools needed to save lives and protect communities.

With more than 3.5 million first responder vehicles estimated in the United States alone, an immense market exists for fast, reliable and effective public safety communication. First responders are hampered by not only the inability to link with other agencies but also by the lack of bandwidth spectrum. Too often agencies are forced to use publicly accessed frequencies, creating cross talk and log jams.

To address this shortcoming, Band 14 spectrum was licensed by FirstNet and dedicated to nationwide public safety. The dedicated broadband network provides a separate communications channel for first responders’ day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, providing security for large events and operating 25% faster than any commercial network. The FirstNet platform has grown rapidly since its inception in 2012, with 7,250 public safety agencies currently signed on and more than 600,000 device connections currently in use.

Saving Lives — Protecting Property

But even with those big numbers, it’s still a far cry from universal adoption.

With a rich background in telecommunications and specialization in Push-to-Talk Over Cellular (PoC) systems for enterprise customers, Siyata Mobile Inc. (TSX.V: SIM) (OTCQX: SYATF) recognized both the challenges and opportunity, employing its vast commercial expertise in Push-to-Talk Over Cellular to develop and deliver crucially important devices. As a result, Siyata just launched the Uniden UV350, the first-and-only device specifically designated for in-vehicle communications that has been tested and certified to operate on FirstNet.

The UV350 is built and designed to minimize the excessive clutter often found in the cabin of fire trucks, ambulances and police squad cars, by combining the functions of multiple devices into one. Using PoC, drivers can communicate crystal-clear sound at the touch of a button, and unlike traditional cellular communication devices, the UV350 is powered by the vehicle battery, ensuring drivers are always connected in emergency situations.

The state-of-the-art UV350 features include 4G/LTE high speed data, a 5.5-inch widescreen LED display for easy monitoring, a dedicated microphone and speaker for clear and loud sound quality, and extended cellular and GPS coverage with an external antenna. Utilizing Push-to-Talk Over Cellular ensures instant communication at the push of a button. Prior to being certified and approved for use on FirstNet, the UV350 was subjected to hundreds of rigorous tests covering multiple aspects, from security and durability to network impacts.

“FirstNet devices and modules go through extensive review, so First Responders can be confident that Siyata’s UV350 meets the highest standards for reliability, security and performance,” said Bob Sloan, chief operating officer, FirstNet program at AT&T. “The more tools public safety has access to on their network, the more we can help them achieve their mission. We are happy to be the first U.S. cellular carrier to launch Uniden’s NextGen Vehicle Communicator — an innovative in-vehicle mounted phablet. We believe it will be an excellent answer for both existing and newly migrating FirstNet subscribers seeking an in-vehicle communication device.”

Siyata Mobile CEO Marc Seelenfreund commented: “Drivers who are operating vehicles, whether it is a first responder vehicle or a commercial truck, need to feel safe while communicating important information. The demand for a multi-functioning, in-vehicle device remains strong, especially from those who are required to operate vehicles in demanding situations. The UV350 allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road, and hands on the wheel.”

Mobilizing its extensive technical expertise in the commercial sector, Siyata created and delivered a much-needed, first-responder product to the underserved public safety market. The public reception of the UV350 has been remarkable thus far and could easily lead to rapid uptake by first responders and significant revenues for the company.

Clearing Clutter for Commercial Use Vehicles

There are nearly 10 million commercial trucks in the United States alone that could benefit by replacing antiquated two-way technology with Push-to-Talk Over Cellular. PoC runs on Cellular LTE networks providing nationwide and even global coverage. Coverage, cost and convenience are compelling competitive drivers of PoC over traditional two-way radio.

Like emergency vehicles, commercial vehicle cabins are distracting, crammed with the clutter of various communication devices from different vendors and burdened with multiple monthly voice and data fees. With navigation systems, corporate phones, fleet-management tools, land-mobile radios, black boxes and more all taking up space, it’s little wonder that distracted driving has become such a highway hazard. Siyata clears the clutter, simplifies communications and enhances safety with its state-of-the-art device.

A global developer and provider of Push-to-Talk Over Cellular systems for enterprise customers, Siyata is a specialist in creating high-quality, technologically advanced mobile communication devices for global corporate workforces, fleets, homes and buildings. The company markets its vast array of cellular boosters, legacy devices and Push-to-Talk products under the Uniden Cellular brand and has a customer base that includes cellular operators, commercial vehicle technology distributors, and fleets of all sizes throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.

Siyata’s Uniden UV350 is the world’s first and only 4G/LTE dedicated in-vehicle smartphone. Enabled with Push-to-Talk Over Cellular, data applications, extended cellular range, noise cancellation and multiple other useful functions, the UV350 is specifically designed for commercial vehicles, ensuring safer and more efficient communications for professional drivers. Already in operation with Bell Canada, the Uniden UV350 has rapidly gained commercial traction and has now received network approval from AT&T and is soon launching with an additional U.S. Tier 1 operator, positioning Siyata to capture significant share in a massive $13 billion North American market that has no direct competitors in the foreseeable future.

Rapid uptake of the FirstNet platform is inevitable as public safety organizations realize not just the efficacy and life-saving importance of the system but also the significant potential cost savings of the program. Technological developments and communications proficiency are on the cusp of resolving the critical communication needs of first responders, and the companies that lead the way appear certain to be rewarded. Siyata is definitely one to watch.

In the Mix

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. It executes in the market under four operating units: WarnerMedia, AT&T Communications, AT&T Latin America and Xandr, which provides marketers with advertising solutions for consumers around premium video content and digital advertising. The FirstNet communications platform is being built in a public-private partnership with AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority.

Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) creates mission-critical communications solutions, including devices, networks, services, software and video, that help public safety and commercial customers build safer cities and thriving communities. The company’s PTT software, WAVE, is designed for use on FirstNet.

Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR) is an IoT pioneer, empowering businesses and industries to transform and thrive in the connected economy. Customers choose Sierra because it offers a device to cloud solution, comprised of embedded and networking solutions seamlessly integrated with secure cloud and connectivity services. The company recently introduced its AirLink MG90 High-Performance Multi-Network Vehicle Router, which is now certified and approved for use on FirstNet.

Sonim Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SONM) is a leading U.S. provider of ultra-rugged mobility solutions designed specifically for task workers physically engaged in their work environments, often in mission-critical roles. The Sonim solution includes ultra-rugged mobile phones, a suite of industrial-grade accessories, and data and workflow applications, which are collectively designed to increase worker productivity, communication and safety. The company released the Sonim XP3 rugged phone on the FirstNet communications platform just last month.

For more information on Siyata Mobile, visit Siyata Mobile Inc. (TSX.V: SIM) (OTCQX: SYATF)

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