FirstNet apps: How first response gets done
FirstNet’s first job is to provide responders with a dedicated broadband network that gives them priority and preemption options during emergencies. But since its launch in 2017, the FirstNet App Catalog has emerged as a crucial element of the ecosystem. “The real power of a smartphone or a tablet computer comes not in access to the network -- that’s kind of a given -- but it comes in the applications, the apps that are on the device that actually make public-safety agencies more efficient and more effective, protect the public and protect the responder,” said Bill Schrier, senior adviser at the FirstNet Authority, the government entity Congress authorized in 2012 to develop, build and operate the nationwide network. “The apps are the core, I think, of FirstNet in terms of what a boots-on-the-ground police officer or firefighter sees and helps them to do their job.”
Apps go through a rigorous review process to determine their relevancy, security and resiliency before becoming part of the catalog. The security piece is often the toughest to pass on the first try, Schrier said.