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Panasonic, Cradlepoint Address In-car Access to FirstNet

October 11, 2016

Panasonic has partnered with Cradlepoint to deliver dedicated, reliable wireless service to first responders throughout the U.S.

In this partnership, Panasonic will combine its Toughbook laptops with a Cradlepoint cloud-based 4G LTE router that connects the laptop to various cameras, environment sensors, and telemetry hardware in vehicles that, all together, access the burgeoning FirstNet national wireless network – a federal government project that maintains part of the 700 MHz spectrum, called Band 14, for use by first responders across the nation. The combination of these efforts targets public safety officers and utility workers alike, allowing all persons involved in immediate health and critical infrastructure to remain connected to their peers.

Panasonic’s vice president of wireless strategy, Victoria Obenshain, commented on the necessity of first responders to have a working communications network at their disposal.

“In today’s challenging and increasingly mobile-centric work environment, users must have the ability to link all of their devices regardless of where their job takes them. For first responders, lives depend on their ability to access and share information, and communicate in real-time in order to provide critical services quickly, reliably, and efficiently,” Obenshain said. “Panasonic is bringing together all of the computing, in-vehicle connectivity, and support services together to keep today’s data-driven mobile workforce and first responders – and the rugged devices they rely upon to do their job – always connected.”

FirstNet was created as the final recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. It means to bring together organizations at local through federal levels that respond to disasters of all kinds. Regarding 9/11, it addresses acts of war; for many other situations, it can aid an aging national communications infrastructure and help assist with repairs of national disasters. First responders are charged with saving lives and being the first line of assistance in rebuilding communities. Congress has allocated billions of dollars to connect existing infrastructure and private companies that can build and maintain a national wireless network for use by all those important figures.

Panasonic’s and Cradlepoint’s addition to this initiative, though created through their own private partnership, concerns itself with access to FirstNet in first responders’ vehicles. It keeps responders connected in their vehicles no matter if those vehicles are cars from the local police department, fire engines at the county station, or utility workers providing assistance as part of a national or global brand. Cradlepoint noted that this combination of in-car electronics is the first of its kind applied to FirstNet. It may end up a critical point of access for many responders in years to come.

Edited by Alicia Young

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