Networks to Support First Responders

By Vint Cerf

One of my primary interests these days is understanding how to make the Internet accessible by, and useful for, those that rely on it for important functions, such as learning, economic opportunity and public safety.

I’m particularly gratified that some of this work happens through the Marconi Society. For the past several years, we have had productive colloquies with key government agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to discuss current issues in networking.

I am especially interested in ways that the Internet and other communication technologies can support the all-important work of first responders, since this is where networks can truly save the lives of both first responders and the people they service. The problems are complex and must be solved in an interoperable way so that first responders can communicate with each other.

The recent announcement by DHS that they are seeking partners for research and development into first responder technologies gives a unique window into the ways that the Marconi Society’s advice can help save lives and aligns well with the research that many of our Fellows and Young Scholars have done.

For example, Young Scholars Stefania Bartoletti and Wenhan Dai were recognized for their extraordinary work on localization to improve communications in high loss environments where GPS is not available so that both first responders and survivors can be found.  And, of course, ongoing work on GPS has dramatically improved locational accuracy.  Yet there is still work to be done.

I invite you to check out the different first responder use cases that DHS is anticipating. I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I did, and perhaps even consider participating with them in the search for solutions.

Read the first responder cases from DHS