Emerging technologies for emergency response put to the test at Operation Convergent Response

By: Nick Nilan

Featuring live demonstrations of the newest public safety technology innovations, 5G takes center stage at Verizon and Nokia hosted #OCR2019

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Hundreds of first responders, government officials and industry partners gathered in Perry, Georgia last month for Operation Convergent Response (#OCR2019), an immersive learning experience that demonstrated how the latest technologies can be used to help first responders save lives. During the one-of-a-kind three-day event, attendees witnessed first-hand how advancements in technology can be used by first responders and government agencies to keep safe and stay connected when it matters most.

Hosted by Verizon and Nokia, #OCR2019 created an unprecedented opportunity for first responders to see the latest crisis-response technologies in action through realistic crisis scenarios, learn from industry leaders and share best practices. With panel discussions on topics including crisis management, 5G and its impact on public safety, and how cybersecurity risks can threaten public safety, #OCR2019 featured participation from more than 100 technology companies that came together with the shared vision of advancing the state-of-the-art in emergency response.

In the #OCR2019 Solutions Showcase, attendees learned more about the innovations featured in each crisis scenario, including drones, augmented reality (AR) headsets, robotics, autonomous solutions and other technologies, all focused on enhancing emergency communications and response. Many of the products and solutions were running on Verizon’s 5G network and showcased how 5G – with its low latency and high data capacity – will transform emergency response. 

“We’re thrilled so many innovative partners and thought leaders were able to join us onsite this year as we continue to push forward advancements in technology for emergency response,” said Nick Nilan, director of public safety product development, Verizon. “This year’s OCR was bigger and better than ever, with more onsite technology demos, more advanced solutions from our partners and more attendees from the public safety community to explore what it takes to be able to respond to critical situations.”

Interoperability: Advancing the Future of Emergency Response

#OCR2019 featured six realistic, high-intensity crisis scenarios where attendees could see range of technologies working together to aid emergency response efforts. These strategic experiential journeys included a wildfire, cyberattack on critical infrastructure, tunnel emergency, complex terror attack, airport in crisis and a gas pipeline leak and explosion.

The gas pipeline leak and explosion scenario took place at night, with drones utilizing thermal imaging to provide visibility in complete darkness. Also, during the airport in crisis scenario, one of the threats was a potential pandemic outbreak, requiring first responders to use a video-based vital signs monitoring app, harnessing the power of AI for quick, accurate insight into “patient zero’s” health.

The scenarios demonstrated at OCR were based on realistic situations that first responders and communities face, designed to recreate the often chaotic, intense and multi-jurisdiction nature of an emergency. By experiencing these scenarios firsthand, attendees were able to evaluate how technology can be used to solve similar crises and most importantly, how technologies can work together to drive improved outcomes.

Throughout the crisis scenarios, attendees were able to see how technology applications and devices help drive quicker, safer and more secure emergency response when they work together.

Leading 5G Public Safety Innovation

#OCR2019 attendees were also joined onsite by companies from Verizon and Responder Corp’s 5G First Responder Lab, a first-of-its-kind innovation program that identifies promising technology companies from around the globe and gives them access to 5G technology to develop, test and refine their 5G solutions for public safety. 

At #OCR2019, the third cohort of companies to join the Lab this year was announced. The startups in Cohort 3 will focus on developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) for weapon detection, geo-intelligence, autonomous security and smart cities solutions, all powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband. New cohort partners include: Edgybees, SimX, Knightscope, Lumineye, and ZeroEyes.

“This was our first year joining Verizon at OCR and we are extremely impressed by the size and scope of the event,” said Mike Lahiff, chief executive officer at ZeroEyes. “The level of attention and detail built into every live scenario was astounding, and it was great to not only see our technology being used by real first responders during the simulations, but also to see the role it can play as part of a coordinated emergency response. Our partnership with Verizon has been instrumental in helping us realize our vision of improving safety for first responders and the communities they serve.”

Verizon offers the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network.1 It is also leading the way to 5G. 5G promises to transform the mission-critical services that are vital for public safety, enabling the first responders and government agencies on the first line of emergency defense to operate at the speed of the mission.

1 Rankings based on the RootMetrics US National, State, and Metro RootScore Reports: 1H 2019. Tested with best commercially available smartphones on 4 national mobile networks across all available network types. Your experiences may vary. Visit www.rootmetrics.com for more details.

Click here for more information on Operation Convergent Response

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About the author(s):

Nick Nilan is Director of Product Development for Public Sector at Verizon

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