IWCE Virtual Day One - 9-1-1 Location Accuracy Takes Center Stage

Tuesday Features a Packed In-Building Agenda 

IWCE Virtual

Posted on August 24, 2020

By John Foley, Managing Director, Safer Buildings Coalition

IWCE Virtual had a strong start today, featuring a packed schedule of keynote speakers, conference sessions, open sessions, and plenty of networking on their new virtual platform. 

Two highlights of the day were the Keynote by Chief Jeff Johnson, CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association, and an expert panel entitled Location-Based Services - Possibilities, Privacy and More, moderated by Ken Rehbehn of Omdia.

The platform worked very well, and the Safer Buildings Coalition is excited to host three panel discussions and a VIP Roundtable in Tuesday's Session.

Throughout the event, SBC Leadership is available in the Exhibit Hall section of the event, and available to schedule one-on-one 20 minute meetings.

"When, as an incident commander, I hear over the radio Mayday Mayday Mayday, I've fallen through the floor. I have got to know where those crews are, I've got to know where to send the RIC team to get them. Getting that floor right getting the left and right access before they are getting that right is paramount for public safety. "

- Jeff Johnson, CEO, Western Fire Chiefs 

LTE's Role in Public Safety

Jeff Johnson laid out the future of Public Safety Communications in his 30-minute keynote. He pointed out the similarities of 9-1-1 callers needing to call for help from inside buildings, to First Responders needing to remain in contact through each incident.

"What we're seeing with LTE is it's proving itself to work. And if you can weave together Public Safety's need for reliability and coverage, and in-building penetration, and reliability. Then, what technology, it is tends to be moot", said Johnson. "We have to get the call, and then have the ability to communicate on our way to the call so you can quickly see that there's no way to disentangle the conversation about LTE, and LMR. There is no question in my view that LTE is the future. When it happens? Here's when it happens."

"Public Safety will switch to LTE exclusively the day some Lieutenant in a fire station says to his Battalion Chief, when he says “Why do I carry two devices when all I ever use is my LTE device?” That's when it changes. It isn't when you technically match requirements, it isn't anything else. It's when the people that use the tool insist on this tool. Because at the end of the day, we can't fail."

Chief Johnson also gave a shout out to the Safer Buildings Coalition while highlighting the need for 9-1-1 in-building location accuracy.

"I also want to thank the Safer Buildings Coalition for their work on improving in-building communications", said Johnson, "because at the end of the day if your tool works sometimes, you quit using it. If your car only starts every third time you get a different car. So, we can't have our tools stop working as we enter a building, it's just not functional."

"So, in-building coverage is important. And, and we have to continue to improve in building coverage and we have to frankly continue our work on the z axis. The z axis, the vertical axis, knowing what floor police officer paramedic or firefighter are on, that is in fact the holy grail of what we're trying to do here. When, as an incident commander, I hear over the radio Mayday Mayday Mayday, I've fallen through the floor. I have got to know where those crews are, I've got to know where to send the RIC team to get them. Getting that floor right getting the left and right access before they are getting that right is paramount for public safety. It creates for the first time, true situational awareness."

Location-Based Services - Possibilities, Privacy and More

The 3 PM ET slot featured location accuracy experts Kevin Kay, Director of State and Local Programs for NAPSG, Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS, and Susan Metcalfe, Partner, Potomac Law Group. The session was moderated by Ken Rehbehn, Directing Analyst, Critical Communications for Omdia.

The group explored location accuracy from a technical, regulatory, financial and legal persepctive. 

Safer Buildings Coalition IWCE Virtual Line-up for Tuesday, August 25 

Check out what we have in store for IWCE:

Public Safety DAS – Focus on Network Infrastructure
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Hear several OEMs and other experts discuss DAS and BDAs for public safety and the current state of the Emergency Responder and Radio Communications Systems (ERRCS). In-building wireless has become an integral part of critical infrastructure for both first responders and citizens, and the marketplace for in-building coverage has expanded dramatically, with FirstNet, new materials and processes in cabling, and new jurisdictional requirements. Review technologies for smarter buildings such as BDA integration, digital DAS solutions, passive hybrid and fiber architectures, key parameters such as DAQ, SINR and RSRP and future readiness for 5G and FirstNet. In addition, examine interoperability, DAS in the TDMA and simulcast systems, how to coordinate with city systems to mitigate noise.

John Foley
Managing Director
Safer Buildings Coalition

Alan Leffler N5AFL
RF Systems Consultant
EMR Corp.

Michiel Lotter
Nextivity Inc.

Matt Lunny
Sales Engineering Manager
Comba Telecom

Fernando Sommariva
Director of Engineering
Fiplex Communications, Inc.

Measuring Indoor Radio Coverage: Ensuring NFPA Code Compliance and Addressing Interference
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
As more AHJs adopt and increasingly enforce requirements for sufficient performance of their radio networks in building, there is significant focus on "best" testing requirements. Hear how stakeholders can stay abreast of any updates for the requirements (NFPA 1221 and IFC 510) to stay compliant. In addition, as BDAs are being used in situations that they were never designed for them, examine various types of interference attributed to bad BDA (ERRCS) system design. Discuss about both technical reasons and jurisdictional issues, as well as explore the best RF practices for ERRCS, with emphasis on survivability, alarms and electrical code requirements to connect with public safety.

John Foley
Managing Director
Safer Buildings Coalition

David Adams
Director of Business Development

Mike Brownson
Director, IBW Business Development
Westell Technologies

Michelle Geddes
Public Safety Communications Director
City and County of San Francisco, Department of Emergency Management

Roger Paje
Senior Product Manager

Feel Safe Inside: Solving for Wireless Dead Zones in our Schools and Universities
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Tragic active shooter incidents and now the pandemic have brought increased attention to the critical need to improve school safety. From flexible hours to contact tracing, the connectivity needed for both in-person schools and distance learning has changed. Smaller groups, location tracking, video calls, and higher bandwidth affect the teachers, administrations and students. In addition, a key area cited for improvement is in-school wireless communications is the connection between first responders and the schools. This cross-stakeholder panel explores the challenges and approaches necessary to address this crisis facing our country from the perspective of parent, school safety, technologist, government, and public safety officials.  

John Foley
Managing Director
Safer Buildings Coalition

Dennis J. Burns
Business Development Manager
Advanced RF Technologies, Inc. (ADRF)

Justin Daniels
President of the Center for Campus Fire Safety, and Fire Marshall
University of Oklahoma

Paul Timm
Vice President
Facility Engineering Associates

Additionally, SBC Managing Director John Foley will take part in the VIP Roundtable: In-Building Wireless session Tuesday morning at 10am.

For more information about the IWCE Virtual conference, please visit the IWCE website:

We are also manning our virtual booth at the IWCE exhibit floor throughout the event, so please drop in for a chat.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at IWCE Virtual.