The Interoperability Problem
Reliable communications are critical for firefighters, police, paramedics, and military in responding to emergencies. However, existing communications systems are largely not interoperable and are challenged by urban environments and volatile emergency conditions. First responders need reliable and interoperable communications to best serve the public when responding to emergencies.
Two companies currently provide handheld radios capable of mesh networking for first responders–CoCo Communications Corp. and Raytheon’s Microlight product. Early testing indicates these products could provide a substantial improvement in reliable emergency communications.
Proprietary standards and technology limits the extensibility of these solutions. Adopting systems based on open standards could provide substantial benefits to both government users and society at large.