In September 2021, Texas A&M University was awarded more than $900,000 for the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program: Public Safety Radio Data Grant.

As public safety begins to transition from Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems to packet-based broadband systems such as LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and 5G technology, shared public safety radio datasets are becoming increasingly important. In the effort to support the transition from LMR to LTE, Texas A&M seeks to gather this data from several different public safety organizations to develop traffic models and determine overall system requirements.

Texas A&M University’s project will collect Land Mobile Radio data from a diverse set of public safety organizations (PSO) across the nation to perform research and analysis toward understanding LMR usage implications for transition to LTE. The project team will collect data from ten PSOs throughout the US as well as related geographical information such as weather and event data to facilitate rich data research and analysis and characterize LMR usage and prepare for the transition to LTE.

There are primarily two big categories of analyses that will be carried out in Texas A&M University’s project: (1) Spatial analysis on top of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and (2) Temporal analysis focuses on hourly, daily, and monthly patterns of emergency calls and all factors that are associated with call volumes in certain periods. The project will explore and analyze the hotspot of cellular and landline emergency calls concerning critical (emergency and healthcare) facilities as well as emergency calls from residential landlines. The project will aim to discover the spatial patterns of the calls and build machine learning models to help estimate active regions where special attention is needed to develop long‐term mitigation strategies, enhancing preparedness, response, and recovery. Such spatial analysis, if done in real time, can directly help with the preparedness and response of the emergency. Furthermore, the analyzed information can be utilized to support damage assessment, rebuilding, and even public education.

Dr. Walt Magnussen and Michael Fox contributed an article to Mission Critical 2021 offering up key areas of focus required to advance the state of interoperability in public safety. The article, published in conjunction with IWCE 2021, highlights the importance role of service providers as partners in developing interoperable solutions. The article also introduces the themes of Interoperability Institute workshop and exercise, the date of which has been changed since the article was published. Interoperability Institute was moved from November 2021 to May 2-6, 2022 in order to ensure the health and safety of participants and allow for broad participation. Click here to read the full article.

Texas A&M ITEC's leadership team, including Walt Magnussen, Michael Fox and Joan Quintana, presented at multiple sessions during the annual IWCE conference. In addition, the team participated in the Expo, providing a demonstration of Testing as a Service for Mission Critical Services with partners from University of the Basque Country.

Magnussen and Fox presented "5G Wireless: What is it and what does it mean to public safety." Magnussen and Quintana presented "Public Safety Interoperability: The Importance of Conformance Testing." In addition, Magnussen contributed to the following panel sessions:

Data Interoperability: More Critical Than Ever
Next Generation ECCs: What Will They Do? How Will They Work? How Will They be Funded?
Public Safety Interoperability - The Importance of Conformance Testing
Voice Interoperability: Still a Challenge

Texas A&M Internet 2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC) was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant to develop a secure data and voice network architecture that supports secure landline-to-landline, landline-to-mobile and mobile-to-mobile communications. The grant is part of the newly launched Secure and Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure (SRMNI) project, a joint research and development program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Managed by S&T’s Mobile Security R&D Program, the project addresses CISA’s top priorities: securing the mobile supply chain as well as critical mobile network infrastructure, including the newly launched fifth generation (5G) mobile network.

Dr. Walt Magnussen is the director of Texas A&M ITEC and is the Principal Investigator (PI) for Texas A&M’s secure voice network architecture project. ITEC is leading the effort in partnership with co-PIs Henning Schulzrinne of Columbia University and Eman Hammad of Texas A&M University Commerce.

“Working in collaboration with leading experts like Drs. Schulzrinne and Hammad, we are developing a testbed and demonstrating how existing commercial voice systems from leading service providers and enterprise equipment manufacturers can be used to build a secure and interoperable interagency voice communications service,” Magnussen explains. “By addressing both legacy and emerging technologies such as 5G, we are designing a solution that can be implemented across agencies and, with relatively small investment, fortify unclassified government communications.”

Since its inception in 2004, Texas A&M ITEC has received funding from DHS, Department of Transportation, Department of Justice, National Institute of Standards and Technology, State of Texas and industry. Texas A&M ITEC is one of only four Internet 2 centers in the world, and focuses on Voice Over Internet Protocol deployment initiatives, information assurance, and communications interoperability in public safety, transportation and defense.