A Global Forum for 5G Technology in Emergency Services

January 20, 2022 by ekurzawa
Filed in: Virtual & Hybrid Event Case Studies Tag: Case Studies

5G First Responders Map 2021
The workshop convened a global audience of 5G experts

In emergency situations, connecting the right people with the right tools and information can make all the difference. With unprecedented capacity, speed, and bandwidth, 5G is a game-changing technology; and that is especially true for tactical and first responder networks. In December 2021, the 5G Workshop on First Responder and Tactical Networks digital event, explored the applicability of 5G technologies; offering solutions, sharing use cases, and investigating research opportunities and challenges. 

The workshop was co-hosted by IEEE Future Directions, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU/APL), and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E) – 5G. Experts in 5G from industry and academia, as well as standards, regulatory, homeland security, public safety, and defense communities, joined the event. The workshop’s high-impact program, compelling speakers, and user-friendly virtual platform attracted over 900 participants from 79 countries around the world, representing a 50% increase in attendance over the previous year. 

Planning and overseeing a full-day program with seven tracks and over 70 speakers and panelists was no easy feat. The cross-organizational committee of organizers called in the support of the IEEE Meetings, Conferences & Events Digital Events Team to ensure that the robust program was seamless and participants were fully engaged. The team produced the workshop, offered platform support, and provided oversight during the live event. 

Opportunities for exchanging ideas and envisioning solutions were plentiful. The dedicated plenary track featured an entire day of keynotes, panel discussions, and invited and accepted talks with broad relevance to the audience. IEEE Future Directions Program Director, Brad Kloza shares, “Although the workshop always included a live stream via IEEE.tv, going fully virtual allowed the organizers to broaden their roster of speakers.”

Russell Becker, DHS S&T, kicked off the day with a keynote on “5G Use Cases in DHS Operational Environments.” Sumit Roy, OUSD R&E, ventured into the future with a talk on “NextG Tactical Networks.” A panel of experts also weighed in on challenges in the field and opportunities for the future of 5G technology. 

Focused tracks on first responders, tactical networks, research, and technology, enabled participants to carve out more personalized experiences. The first responder tracks delved into front-line applications of 5G including emergency location services, fighting forest fires, and supporting power and communications during disasters. Participants interested in tactical networks could explore mobile and open source solutions, and learn how 5G is deployed in rural and non-terrestrial environments. The research track showcased findings on using 5G for life-saving technologies like ECG devices and in public safety communications. The multi-cloud service grid and 5G digital twins were just a few of the innovations covered in the technology track.

At the exhibit hall, participants could discuss exciting initiatives and research activities with leaders from industry, academia, and governmental organizations. Participants stopped by virtual booths to dialogue with representatives from organizations like Qualcomm, Nokia, and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

5G technologies are helping first responders and tactical networks prepare for and nimbly respond to emergency situations. By connecting the brightest minds in 5G, the workshop offered opportunities for new applications and advancements in life-saving technologies. Presentations from the workshop are available on-demand through 14 March 2022. The organizers are planning the fifth workshop in the series for sometime in December 2022. 

IEEE Future Directions is expanding its efforts in this space with a new focus on public safety technology. Kloza shares, Last year the IEEE Future Networks Initiative created a task force dedicated to Public Safety Technology, which at first focused on the communications aspect, but it grew to be more than that. That group released a white paper, hosted a workshop, and at the end of 2021, IEEE Future Directions approved a new full initiative on the topic of Public Safety Technology, which kicks off this year.” 

Learn more