Harnessing the Power of Connectivity for Public Safety

When disaster strikes, first responders require resilient and robust communications. Coordination across agencies and missions is paramount to help affected populations across urban, suburban and rural communities. Enhanced communications and situational awareness enables public safety agencies to simplify operations, converging all efforts to focus on only the most important and critical messages at hand.

The SMART Emergency Response

Public safety agencies must work together to synchronize and execute response and rescue operations. Without resilient and robust communications, efficient and timely movement of critical services and resources may be compromised, resulting in unnecessary distress and endangerment of life.

Through a public-private partnership pioneered by the Department of Justice and the FBI, Ligado has partnered with federal, state and local agencies to create SMART (Satellite Mutual Aid Radio Talkgroups). SMART enables one-to-many, Push­-to­-Talk ‘dispatch style’ communications among homeland security officials, law enforcement, emergency responders and public safety officials. Using SMART, public safety agencies establish interoperable communications to coordinate responses between cooperating agencies.

Ligado’s satellite network today provides pervasive coverage in sparsely populated areas across North America. It is capable of handling many simultaneous PTT calls, ensuring public safety officials can communicate even when call volumes spike during emergencies. The satellite network also offers further protection from the congestion and damage typically suffered by ground networks in winds, fires, floods, and earthquakes.

Strengthening Emergency Response Capabilities

An array of next-generation applications and 5G uses, enabled on Ligado’s advanced mobile network, will simplify and enhance emergency response operations – SMART first responders, both on the ground and in vehicles, can locate other vehicles and assets, identify threats, define an accessible route or plan a meeting point. In the future, situational awareness will expand beyond the vehicle to track an individual responder who leaves a vehicle or post. Drones equipped with sensors can also be used to assess damage or detect hazardous material without requiring direct human participation.

Real-time status and location data can be shared without tying up valuable voice communication channels. With no user intervention required, the system will automatically route SMART voice and data traffic via the most reliable network available, whether satellite or custom-built terrestrial. If other commercial terrestrial networks are damaged, destroyed or congested, Ligado’s satellite and ground-based system allows us to allocate incremental capacity to specific areas where there is a need for short-term, high-capacity communication. These enhanced logistics will allow emergency operations to become more efficient and effective, decreasing response times and saving lives.

In the face of natural disasters, communities come together to serve and protect their neighbors and communities. With Ligado’s ultra-reliable network providing robust, resilient and critical communications, public safety agencies can give affected populations the chance to restore and rebuild communities.