Public Safety Technology Alliance (PSTA) to shut down
After three years of existence, the non-profit Public Safety Technology Alliance (PSTA) will cease operations within 45 days as officials say they believe that the organization achieved its primary goal to promote public safety’s use of open-standard technologies.
“PSTA achieved its mission,” PSTA board member Jeff Johnson said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “In a time where we were transitioning to an LTE entrant into the public-safety community through FirstNet, it was important that we did what we could to maintain open standards and that we caused the conversation [to be conducted within public safety]. I’m extremely satisfied with what we achieved and what standards we were able to get vetted in a broad group of stakeholders.
“That was a great group of people and a lot of good contributors—the bottom line is that it was good for public safety. But all things have their time, and we’ve moved into an era where the tech community has embraced public safety and our need for open standards. Our work here is done, as they say.”
Victoria Lee, who led the management of PSTA operations, echoed this sentiment, noting that multiple public-safety-focused organizations—for example, TCCA, FirstNet, the Public Safety Technology Broadband Association (PSTBA), the National Alliance of Public Safety GIS and the R2 Network—are advocating that public safety leverage open-standards solutions and APIs.
“Basically, everybody out there is really kind of pushing it,” Lee said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “They get it, and that was really the ultimate goal of PSTA.
“We see it as a good-news story, because it did exactly what it was meant to do for the time it was meant to do it.”
PSTA will close operations “in the next 30 to 45 days,” Lee said. Members began discussing the possibility of closing the organization at the end of last year, as PSTA’s technical subcommittees completed their reports about the following issues:
- Identity/Single Sign On (SSO)
- Mission-Critical PTX (talk/video/data)
- Situational Awareness
- LMR/LTE Interoperability
While these technical reports were completed, Lee said activity within the PSTA has been “fairly dormant” during the past year, in large part because public-safety members’ time was consumed with responsibilities associated with COVID-19 response effort, in addition their normal job duties.
In fact, TJ Kennedy—the former FirstNet Authority president who was with the PSTA when it was launched in 2018—officially is still listed as CEO of the PSTA. Even if the PSTA had continued, “that was going to have to change,” given Kennedy’s current job as CEO and president of Qumu, which provides virtual collaboration platform services to enterprises.
Lee is managing director of The Public Safety Network, a for-profit company that was founded in 2017 by Kennedy and former FirstNet Authority Chief Counsel Jason Karp. Although many key players for The Public Safety Network did work for the PSTA, Lee emphasized that The Public Safety Network is continuing its work.