recommended reading

FirstNet's Message To Tech: First Responders Could Be The Next Big Market

cleanfotos/Shutterstock.com

There at least 5.4 million first responders in the United States, and consumer tech companies should think about ways to modify their products for public safety use, one senior official says.

For the average person, thumbprint authentication on a smartphone might be a quick and easy way to avoid passcodes. But for a public safety officer in protective gear, rearranging equipment to expose thumbs might be impossible.

TJ Kennedy, president of FirstNet, the public private partnership building a broadband network exclusively for public safety users, needs private sector's help coming up with new ways to securely authenticate devices, he said at an AFCEA event Wednesday.

That network, not yet deployed, is designed to help first responders get more accurate information about disasters sooner; for instance, future firefighters might download apps on that network that tells them the status of the fire they're driving toward.

"Public safety has unique requirements," Kennedy said—officers on the job might be trying to authenticate into smartphones from their motorcycles, on horseback, or in trucks or helicopters. They also need heads-up displays that allow them to do physical tasks while digesting real-time data.

He asked tech companies to "challenge your R&D teams, challenge your board of directors to solve the problems for public safety. Come up with the tools that allow you to have dual authentication without a 12-digit, uppercase, lowercase, special character password. They exist today, but must of you don't use them."

Authentication systems better fit for first responders might include iris scanners or voice recognition, especially in fields where several people are responding to a call or changing shifts. He suggested tech companies talk directly to the nation's fire departments to make sure "what you're bringing to the table will work for them."

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.