US: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has issued a Request For Information concerning the commercial product feasibility of the guidance for first responder body-worn sensor technology developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) in its Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Handbook. Results of the RFI responses will be analyzed and documented, then used to further advance the NGFR Handbook.
One aspect of public safety is to support first responders by keeping them connected to response commanders and aware of any information about themselves and their environment that helps them to stay safe and do their jobs effectively. The SmartHub design developed in the NGFR Handbook combines both communications and sensors as wearable components that can provide such support in the context of city infrastructure, policies, and practices that enable their functionality.
OGC and DHS seek information on whether the current Handbook provides sufficient guidance and a feasible design to support SmartHub devices as vendor offerings, city procurements, deployed responder resources, and sustainable public safety capabilities.
A critical SmartHub design goal has been interoperability at multiple levels based on support for hardware, software, and information sharing standards. The present design provides for interoperability between:
1. Multiple SmartHub components plugged together and worn by the same responder;
2. Individual SmartHub devices that are connected with other SmartHub devices through a uniform public safety infrastructure; and
3. Distinct cloud computing infrastructure systems provided by individual vendors to support their own SmartHub products.
Information that serves to validate this design approach will answer these questions:
1. Is the present NGFR Handbook sufficient guidance to design and build functional SmartHub products?
2. Are there customers for SmartHub products in the public safety community?
3. Can a SmartHub product be offered commercially with features, quality, and at a price point acceptable to such customers?
Responses to the RFI will also be used to incorporate prototype deployments and use of SmartHub devices within the context of the upcoming OGC SCIRA (Smart City Interoperability Reference Architecture) Pilot activity. The goal of the SCIRA initiative is to develop and validate a design toolkit and related guides for ICT infrastructure and services deployments that improve public safety in small and medium-sized cities. Much of the information feeding such services and requiring infrastructure support comes from networked sensor (IoT) devices such as SmartHubs that have the potential to track many aspects of the urban environment relevant to public safety.