Build it, and they will come: The first-ever Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA) FirstNet users' conference and trade show, which was held at the SouthPoint Hotel Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, proved this point on Sept. 19-21, 2022.
Over 200 people attended the PSBTA Vision 2022 conference. They included FirstNet Eligible users (first responders, Dispatch, emergency planning and management personnel, hospitals, public utilities, and transportation), their Technical Support teams, and administrative leadership.
"FirstNet" is the short name for the First Responder Network Authority. It oversees 20 MHz in the 700 MHz mobile broadband services band, which Congress allocated for exclusive use by first responders. Their mission is to provide police, fire, EMS and other public safety with reliable, robust communications nationwide at all times, including the ability to talk with each other during catastrophes such as 9/11. FirstNet is the only dedicated public safety broadband network which is built and operated by AT&T under contract with the FirstNet Authority.
"It's really important to have a conference that is solely focused on public safety communications, given the increasing use of wireless broadband networks by police, fire and EMS," said Martha Ellis, the PSBTA's Executive Director. "At most public safety conferences, communications tends to be an add-on to the broader context of conferences. That's why we organized the PSBTA Vision 2022 conference, to put public safety communications over wireless broadband at the center of the discussions."
The speakers and sessions at the PSBTA Vision 2022 conference were targeted at three FirstNet groups. They were the actual end users of this public safety broadband network - which is why the conference included hands-on training sessions for police, fire and EMS personnel - the wireless app and hardware developers who create FirstNet-centric products and equipment for these end users, and the administrators who make the purchasing decisions.
"We built our agenda about informing and engaging these three groups, and talked about topics that are very specific to FirstNet," Ellis said. "Our goal was to provide clarity in areas that can sometimes be confusing to FirstNet users. We also focused on training to help these groups get the most out of FirstNet and its associated apps and technology."
Based on very positive attendee feedback, the PSBTA Vision 2022 conference was a resounding success. "We wanted to make sure that everybody had an opportunity to talk to each other, and put communications front and center at a public safety conference and trade show," said Ellis. "Based on what attendees are telling us, we managed to do just that!"
In fact, the first PSBTA conference and trade show was so well received, that another is being planned for the same venue in the final week of September 2023 (final dates to be announced).
For more information, contact the PSBTA:
PSBTA Vision Summit 2022.docx
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Original Source: Las Vegas Inaugural FirstNet Users' Conference a Resounding Success