July 11, 2017
This year's 2017 Super Bowl LI held in Houston, Texas, was the first large-scale special event to incorporate the use of broadband mobile apps to support public safety communications. Nearly 1,000 public safety personnel across 10 local, state, and federal agencies were trained on the apps with daily active users ranging from 250 to 400. Messaging, picture/video sharing, and field reporting were the primary uses. Law enforcement users included undercover, security supervisors, Special Events and specialized units such as SWAT, Bomb, K-9, and Special Response Group. Fire/EMS users included medics, hazmat, and Special Events.
"The use of mobile data and applications became a core element of the communications," the Super Bowl LI: FirstNet After Action Report states, "and proved incredibly valuable in augmenting land mobile radio for improved situational awareness and multi-agency information sharing."
"One of the objectives of the deployment of the Harris County LTE system was to develop lessons learned for FirstNet to incorporate into the nationwide rollout for how public safety LTE could be used operationally during large special events. The participating public safety stakeholders did not know exactly how the technology could be used, but believed communications could be improved through public safety LTE and were willing to participate in the planning process to identify communications gaps and find ways to solve them using the Harris County system. Decisions had to be made regarding who owned the data and how long it would be retained, what products to use, who would use them and how."
"The deployment was incredibly successful. In addition to numerous success stories of arrests, re-unified children, medical responses, and property seizures, the use of the Harris County LTE system and mobile apps provided a variety of operational benefits – some planned and others unanticipated." Read the Super Bowl LI: FirstNet After Action Report for extensive discussion of lessons learned and recommendations.