Public Safety DAS Spend Forecasted to Break Billion Dollar Mark

The future of public safety DAS may be looking toward achieving a steady increase on many fronts in the coming years. In a recent news release, ABI Research projected that the move from current narrowband systems to LTE-based public safety will grow at double-digit rates over the next five years. It’s anticipated that this astonishing growth will result in public safety platforms doubling their DAS spending by 2021. In turn, it has been forecasted that the revenue from in-building wireless public safety systems will grow to reach $1.7 billion in 2021.

public safety DAS

According to ABI Research:

“During this transition period, public safety agencies will use LTE in parallel with their legacy narrowband systems,” comments Nick Marshall research direction at ABI Research. “Typically, this will entail agencies relying on TETRA or P25 to supply million critical voice and using LTE to supply enhanced data services. Over the next 5 years, in-building communications systems, such as DAS, will be used to distribute public safety coverage and capacity in buildings.”

The evolution to wideband public safety networks and platforms will be given a major boost by the 3GPP’s upcoming LTE Advanced Pro specification due to be finalized in 2016. Government organizations like the U.S.’s FirstNet and the UK’s Emergency Services Network (ESN) are all poised to start nationwide public safety network buildouts. Other regions and countries, including South Korea and China, all have similar plans to migrate to broadband for public safety.

“Indoor public safety networks are more stringently specified than commercial indoor networks and must respond to the public safety imperatives of high availability and reliability,” concludes ABI’s Marshall. “Public safety communications must also be made available in areas not traditionally covered by commercial cellular communications such as stair wells, equipment rooms and underground locations.”

Public Safety DAS Future Bright – Code is Key

In response to ABI Research’s findings, Safer Buildings Coalition’s Executive Director, Chief Alan Perdue had this to say about the future of Public Safety DAS:

“The importance of in-building communications for the public and public safety has never been more critical than it is in today’s world. Public safety organizations rely on mission critical voice and data communications that allow them to make informed decisions in an effort to provide emergency services to the public in an efficient, effective and responsive manner.”

As one of the Safer Buildings Coalition’s main focuses, Chief Perdue emphasized the importance of stakeholder involvement concerning the in-building fire code development process:

“Through model fire code development by the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association, jurisdictions have available a set of requirements for adoption that provide design specifications and installation/maintenance requirements. These fire code requirements are set forth as mentioned in the article to enhance availability and reliability when our public safety responders need it the most.   We continue to see the value added benefit of in-building communications solutions and know that their continued growth in the built environment will most certainly improve the way public safety responders do their work.”

Though the forecast looks bright, the details on how future fire codes and requirements will look remain to be seen.  One thing is for certain, change is coming.  And, these codes that are currently in development will certainly have an impact on the future of your organization.  With the Safer Buildings Coalition you have an opportunity to have a voice in this code development process.  Now is the time to get involved.

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Insights From LTE – North America 2015

The Safer Buildings Coalition’s Executive Director, Chief Alan Perdue is back from Dallas where he attended and presented at the annual LTE North America summit. For those that don’t know, this event is an industry meeting point where presentations and discussions of the present and future of cellular networks occur.

Here’s what Chief Perdue had to say about the event:

Safer Buildings Coaliton LTE North America 2015

Chief Perdue talks public safety at LTE North America. Photo credit @SOLiDUSA

Chief Alan Perdue:  LTE North America was good, had some really good discussion with industry leaders on public safety, where some think it’s going, where they think it needs to go. Very good panel discussion, well attended and some good dialogue with my cohorts on the panel.

Safer Buildings Coalition:  Anything new that’s come up or anything that caught your attention that made you think, “wow, that’s interesting”?

CP:  I think one of the key pieces in attending some sessions and hearing some discussion was FirstNet presentations and how that will impact the LMR land mobile radio systems going forward.  The timeline for that is varied depending on which industry analyst or presenter you spoke with.  I think another key piece is the TETRA system.  Knowing what’s happening in other countries and what’s happening here and then learning from each other I think is going to be critical to solving inoperability in building connection and communication and how we solve that problem.

SBC:  I understand you where also on a panel with Robert Legrand (The Digital Decision) and Phil Kidner (TETRA Critical Communications Association).  What was your core message?

CP:  SBC’s core message was looking at it from the building owner aspect with multiple organizations working to solve issues whether it be location, signal coverage or public safety looking at responder locations.  Regardless of which problem you’re trying to solve, it’s inherent that we work together so that the building owner is not ripping and replacing technology — but rather enhancing technology to solve additional problems.  Our message was for folks to continue to look in that arena.

SBC:  So what’s next?

CP:  Right now with the holidays things slow down a bit.  We’re working on some internal things to get prepared for 2016. Of course IWCE will be coming up. We’ll also be submitting our ICC code proposals on January 11th and having those completed.  And then after that, attending various committees to discuss our proposals and try to get those adopted.

SBC:  Thanks for the update, Chief Perdue.

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SBC Code Meeting Chicago 2015 Recap

On October 20, 2015 key stakeholders representing all sides of the public safety wireless communication gathered to discuss revisions to the International Code Council’s International Fire Code for the 2018 Cycle. At the table were representatives for AHJ’s, equipment manufacturers, systems integrators, carriers, REIT’s and building developers. All brought a unique perspective to the table, which provide fertile ground for meaningful dialogue. Together, the group examined and discussed several sections of the Code that impact Public Safety Communications.

Here’s a quick video featuring some of the participants weighing in on the meeting:


Some of the hot topics of the meeting included:

510.4.1.1 Minimum signal strength into the building
510.4.1.2 Minimum signal strength out of the building

What should the minimum required signal strength into and out of the building be? And how should that be measured? As it is written, “A minimum inbound signal strength of -95 dBm shall be receivable within the building.” Also, “A minimum signal strength of -95 dBm shall be received by the agency’s radio system when transmitted from within the building.” Some held that using dBm as a quality measure was insufficient because dBm only addresses signal strength, not interference or noise, thus rendering it an incomplete assessment of usability of the signal. Determining a minimum dBm may also be incomplete as it’s effectiveness is subjective to the hearing of the AHJ. DAQ was also discussed as a possible measure. Lastly, what about the distinction between voice and data communications? This section was the focus of much discussion among the different stakeholders around the table.

510.4.2.3 Standby power

In a time of crisis, how much standby power is actually needed for emergency responder radio coverage systems? Do you need at least 24 hours worth? More? Less? And should the source be a battery? How about a generator? This language can have a significant impact on the bottom line for building developers. How can we be sufficiently safe without mandating superfluous expenses? The table came up with an adequate minimum required number of hours along with a more thorough definition of what the standby source shall consist of.

Safer Buildings Coalition Chicago Code Meeting Leaders

Chief Alan Perdue facilitates discussion between a room full of Public Safety Wireless Communication leaders.

Other sections of the existing code that were discussed included those that touched upon permit requirements, amplification systems and components, the acceptance test procedure and several other sections.

There were also several new sections that were created for consideration that included topics such as: system monitoring, data network performance, as-built system documentation, converged systems, and more.

The ideas and concepts that were gathered at this meeting will be included in the Safer Building Coalition’s formal proposal to be submitted for consideration in the 2018 code development process for the ICC. The deadline for that submission is January 2016.

Before SBC’s formal proposal is submitted, however, we will be holding a virtual meeting to recap the full details of what was discussed and decided at the Oct. 21 Chicago Code Meeting. This will be an invitation only event mainly for those that were present at the meeting in Chicago. However, if you would like to be considered to receive an invitation please fill out a request form here: SBC Virtual Code Meeting Invitation Request Form

This will be your final opportunity before this proposal is submitted to voice your concerns and suggestions for the code proposal. As mentioned above, one word or number can make a significant difference in how public safety wireless communication looks in the near future. Be sure to claim your seat at the table. Join the Safer Buildings Coalition and let your voice be heard.

Learn more about joining the SBC by clicking here.  Also be sure follow us on our Facebook page, Twitter (@SaferBuildings), and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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