LAS VEGAS--Harris yesterday debuted its H-Class content-delivery platform, which is designed to let public-safety agencies deliver rich media content such as video to first-responder vehicles via datacasting from television broadcast towers.

Demonstrated at IWCE booth 8035, the Harris platform provides a one-way broadband data through the same delivery mechanism that broadcasters use to transmit high-definition television signals. Because the digital protocol is spectrally efficient, a broadcaster can provide public safety with this dedicated broadband pipe and still provide normal TV broadcasts to the public, said John Delay, Harris’ director of strategic management.

Delay said he expects the notion will be particularly appealing to public broadcasters, which have a public-interest mandate and typically are in need of new funding sources.

The datacasting platform will be highly reliable because TV broadcasters demand it--“being down for a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl can costs millions,” Delay said. In addition, unlike many other new technologies, all the equipment needed already is on the market, he said.

“Everything is COTS, and everything has been in the field with existing customers--in other words, broadcasters,” Delay said. “Public safety will not be a guinea pig.”

While only a one-way network, the H-Class platform can help public-safety data network designers by removing much of the high-traffic burden by delivering all downstream data quickly, allowing the entities’ data networks to be utilized solely for delivery data content upstream.

“The thing [public-safety officials] are going to figure out real quick is the power of broadcast,” Delay said. “Instead of 10,000 one-to-one connections, you can have one broadcast to 10,000 vehicles.”

From a public-safety perspective, the H-Class platform will require investing in a content-management platform that is technology agnostic. The only investment specific to datacasting would be a receiver in the vehicle that is expected to cost between $500-$800 for a fleet of 200-400 vehicles.

Because 95% of the U.S. is covered by over-the-air television signals, Delay said the platform is an ideal vehicle for interoperability efforts. The platform is being included in some bids for a nationwide wireless network designed to promote interoperability between all public-safety agencies.

“Really, we’re solving two problems,” Delay said. “First, we’re providing content management and mitigating interoperability problems. Second, we’re widening the pipe.”

Delay will discuss the platform during a session entitled “Widening the Pipe: Developments in Content Delivery for Public Safety” at 3 p.m. today in room N112 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Separately, Harris announced that Contra County, Calif., has upgraded its public-safety network with Harris’ Constellation point-to-point microwave radios and Intraplex SynchroCast multiplexers. The installation effectively quadruples the county’s network capacity from 45 Mb/s to 180 Mb/s, according to Harris.