The Center of Excellence (CoE) requested the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) to facilitate network providers, device manufactures and application vendors to provide first responders with technologies such as a cache of Android Public Safety Broadband provisioned devices running ATAK (Android Tactical Assault Kit) that would assist public safety personnel to use capabilities including, but not limited to, situational awareness including responder locations, chat, data transfer, whiteboarding and more.
Country Jam takes place in Mack, Colorado and features over thirty bands on three stages over the course of four days with over 90,000 attendees. With such a large number of people using broadband devices to receive and stream information, users often encounter reduced or no service. Traditionally, public safety users would have to compete with event attendees for bandwidth. With the emergence of prioritized networks for public safety, the challenge is to ensure that public safety communications are reliable and high quality.
The overall objective of the CBO in this endeavor was to ensure that public safety had high-bandwidth products paired with public safety grade priority access transport networks and would not experience diminished performance during high congestion events. Additionally, we hope to document, understand, and plan for the mitigation of the challenges experienced at future events.
Country Jam was a great opportunity to leverage various public safety LTE capabilities in order to develop a reusable Team Awareness Kit (TAK) server (Local and/or Cloud based) along with end-user devices running TAK in a pre-planned operational setting with priority access to public safety grade priority service. With memories of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in 2017 fresh on the minds of the Country Jam planners, it was imperative that public safety have the capability to provide robust communications (voice and data) to make quicker decisions, decrease response times, and mitigate threats.
We learned many lessons during Country Jam that increased our understanding of communications technology usage during large events and the issues that must be addressed before and during the event, including:
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What we learned at the 2018 Country Jam is invaluable to our understanding of public safety communications using priority voice and data on robust application platforms like Team Awareness Kit (TAK). We were able to take many of the lessons learned at Country Jam and apply them the following week in Telluride, Colorado at the 45th Annual Bluegrass Festival. Look for our next blog, which will discuss lessons from the Bluegrass Festival including the continued usage of the TAK application, usage of ESChat and Visual Labs, and discussion of tests conducted comparing Verizon priority and FirstNet enabled devices on their respective transport networks.
If your organization is interested in leveraging smart technologies, public safety priority grade networks, and how you can use these technologies off node, please contact us.