Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE’s Urgent Communications from last week:

  1. “Where will FirstNet be next 9/11?” IWCE’s Urgent Communications editor Donny Jackson reflects on the 14th anniversary of 9/11 and how FirstNet’s mission of bringing interoperability to all first-responder entities stems from the lack of such communications capability during those tragic events. With FirstNet officials readying the release of a final RFP by year-end, questions linger on how FirstNet will be able to monetize the spectrum asset to make the economics of the deal work. “This 700 MHz broadband spectrum is too valuable to lie fallow,” Jackson writes. "First responders need this network. The public will be safer, if first responders have this network. In short, this issue is simply too important to let it become a political football for candidates to kick around during an election year.”
  2. “Newscan: FBI, DHA warn of security risks from the Internet of Things” – In this week’s web roundup of relevant critical-infrastructure technology news, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have issued a public-service announcement concerning the security risks posed by the Internet of Things, IoT. The two agencies provide a list of IoT devices that could pose a cybersecurity danger, including fitness device wearables and fuel monitoring systems. This summer, researchers revealed that connected items could endanger people driving cars or wearing pacemakers. The Defense Department recently announced that Internet inventors are working to fix security issues with IoT.
  3.   “Newscan: California suffers two more fiber cuts; AT&T offers $250,000 reward to find perpetrators” – Last week, the FBI announced that two more fiber-optic cable lines in California were severed, bringing the total number of attacks on data lines to 16 since June 2014. Authorities believe the vandals, who operate at night, pose as telecom workers. AT&T plans to offer a $250,000 reward for the capture of those responsible for the cyber attacks.
  4. “Rockwell Collins announces plans to offer nationwide disaster communications via HF radio” – Rockwell Collins announced plans for a nationwide high-frequency radio network, ARINC UrgentLink, which is designed to provide communications between public-safety and critical infrastructure bodies when typical communication infrastructure is inoperable due to natural or man-made disaster.  Rockwell Collins has a pilot HF Radio network running at a large sheriff’s department currently, and the system will be available to other public-safety agencies within a year, said Dave Chapman, Rockwell Collins product manager.
  5. “Rivada Networks claims working prototype of location-based-services solution, seeks mobile OS adoption– Rivada Networks has Apple and Android working prototypes of its enhanced location-based-service (E-LBS) technology, which is designed to improve location-accuracy information for a variety of applications – from commercial uses to 911 calls to firefighter location, according to Rivada Networks CTO Clint Smith. “To me, it’s pretty sharp overall, because we’ve got three things happening with it,” Smith said. “We’ve got the fused-location piece, which is what you normally have coming from your handset—a combination of GPS, cell ID and Wi-Fi ID—and we put that into the Kalman filter. Then, we have a dead-reckoning function, and that helps. And the third piece is the trilateration, where we’re getting all of the other mobiles to communicate with us,” Smith said in an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.