NIST maps the future of location services in public safety

No matter what the public safety network will look like in 20 years, it’s sure to have grounded in location-based services. That’s the thinking of National Institute of Standards and Technology's Public Safety Communications Research Program, which just released the Location-Based Services R&D Roadmap.

The first installment of a larger vision for advanced public safety communications networks, the roadmap covers the relevant technologies and location-based services that will boost situational awareness for emergency responders and medical services.  It also  serves as a continuous planning guide for public safety communications research.

“Location-based services were chosen as the first roadmap focus area because enhancements are feasible and could have high impact,” NIST said in its announcement.

According to the roadmap, the United States needs to develop standards for data exchange and availability among devices as well as for indoor position data. NIST expects more precise location services and analytics (including elevation data) to be available indoors, underground and in rural areas in five to 10 years.  Within  20 years, improvements in 3D visualization and mapping technologies are expected to make such advanced location data nearly universal.

The report also expects technologies, like wearable devices and public safety apps, to be available for responders in five to 10 years, and predicts a full public safety immersion into the Internet of Things in 10 to 20 years.

NIST identifies the need for integrated services for data within the public safety community like voice over internet protocol and digital video broadcasting,  as well as public safety performance metrics (speed, accuracy, power and availability), testing for integrated devices and portable ad hoc networks to better cover geographical areas.

The roadmap outlines the necessary software, device and network R&D  investments and opportunities for involvement by all levels of government, academia, industry and the public safety community to make it all happen.

Roadmaps for analytics and user interface and experience are next, NIST said.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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