UPDATED, March 7, 2019: Verizon on Thursday announced the first cohort of its Washington, DC-based 5G First Responder Lab, designed to develop public safety solutions using Verizon technologies and 5G. The Cohort 1 participants include Adcor Magnetic Systems, Aerial Applications, Blueforce Development, Kiana Analytics and Qwake Technologies.
The participants were chosen from a pool of more than 50 applicants for "their ability to enhance one or more" of four phases: engaging first responders' abilities to prepare for and prevent emergencies; improving the way first responders react to emergencies; developing resources to help communities recover after emergencies; and developing resilient systems to prevent future loss.
Verizon says applications for the second 5G First Responder Lab cohort are open now through April 5.
- Verizon will open a new lab in Washington, DC to develop 5G applications for first responders in partnership with Responder Corp, the company announced in a press release.
- The 5G First Responder Lab will bring together 15 innovators in three three-month cohorts, giving startups and developers access to Verizon technology and a 5G network to work on app creation, case testing and marketing strategies. Applications for the first cohort are open until Dec. 31.
- "First responders should have the absolute best, most effective technologies available to them as they protect our communities and respond to emergencies large and small," said Toby Redshaw, Verizon’s senior vice president of strategy, innovation and product development. The lab, he said, will help developers create applications "that leverage the unique capabilities of 5G, and to bring those solutions to market more quickly."
As companies look to get 5G networks active across the nation, they’re also looking ahead to the applications beyond faster data speeds. The technology could mean improvements on everything from smart grid connections to autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure. AT&T and Samsung are even testing a "smart factory" that uses 5G and artificial intelligence to upgrade the manufacturing industry.
First responders will see plenty of opportunity from 5G’s improved mobile network, since wireless technology has been a problem for public safety officers. The response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was hindered when departments were on different mobile systems, leading to the push to create a dedicated broadband network for first responders. That network, FirstNet, was launched in collaboration with AT&T earlier this year and has gotten thousands of subscribers from across the nation. Verizon has been working on its own competing network.
5G will offer a new level of connectivity, giving public safety departments access to more data and internet of things applications. As StateTech reports, that means more advanced facial or license plate scanning and better connectivity to headquarters. The availability of more sensors could also mean better use of networks like ShotSpotter, which detects gunshots and provides location information about possible gun violence incidents.