FirstNet released a request for information (RFI) on mobile application platforms last week, as the authority continues to develop a nationwide public safety broadband network.

The RFI seeks input from mobile technology providers that have demonstrated experience in creating and supporting public safety products. Responses are due by Jan. 17, 2014.

“Mobile apps running on the FirstNet nationwide broadband network will transform the way public safety completes its mission,” said Bill D’Agostino, general manager of FirstNet, in a statement. “We want to hear from all interested stakeholders on their creative and innovative ideas on how this platform should operate.”

Examples of specific technology FirstNet is interested in learning more about includes:

  • mobile device application solutions – experience in building mobile solutions at a device and platform level;
  • app store – solutions for user-oriented mobile app stores;
  • big data/API and cloud – real-time search, analytics and reporting, and auditing when accessing cloud-based solutions;
  • public safety data – experience working with public safety data from agencies;
  • data security – maintaining application, information and big data securely in terms of encrypting the data, accessing the data, providing an audit trail and reporting;
  • application testing and certification – test suites and processes to verify applications and interfaces;
  • publisher interfaces – experience building interfaces to agency information; and
  • identity management – platforms that allow first responders to be identified and integrate with local identity solutions through a federated system.

This is the 12th RFI issued by FirstNet in 2013. An RFI for devices was released in May, followed by 10 others in July regarding the radio access and core network portions of the nationwide public safety communications system.

In an interview with Government Technology, TJ Kennedy, deputy general manager of FirstNet, said the authority is particularly keen on the types of responses it will get regarding the app store and identity management.

Regarding the app store, Kennedy explained that the authority believes innovation in the mobile application space is going to have a positive impact on police officers, firefighters and paramedics. But he expects a wide variety of submissions about identity management.

“There are a lot of options, but one of the keys, and you can see the way it is written, it is really focused on identity management for first responders,” Kennedy said. “So it has to … work with city, county, state, federal and different levels of public safety and have an identity management solution that would work with that.”

Brian Heaton  |  Senior Writer

Brian Heaton is a senior writer for Government Technology. He primarily covers technology legislation and IT policy issues. Brian started his journalism career in 1999, covering sports and fitness for two trade publications based in Long Island, N.Y. He's also a member of the Professional Bowlers Association, and competes in regional tournaments throughout Northern California and Nevada.