Release of Public Safety Messaging: A New Frontier for Collaboration and Interoperability Best


Authors: Robert “Dusty” Rhoads & the Texas Broadband Applications and Information Sharing Strategic Advisory Group

Interoperable communications between public safety agencies ensure effective incident response coordination. To encourage this critical information sharing across over-the-top (OTT) messaging applications, the Texas Statewide Communications Interoperability Coordinator and the Texas Public Safety Broadband Program developed the Public Safety Messaging: A New Frontier for Collaboration and Interoperability guidance document.

The paper outlines four primary objectives to encourage OTT adoption and improve messaging:

  1. Provide an overview of the value of messaging applications in public safety communications
  2. Highlight the fragmented nature of the existing messaging landscape and the problems it will present to future interoperability efforts
  3. Present a list of preliminary requirements for effective messaging solutions
  4. Recommend next steps toward the sustainable adoption of secure public safety messaging

Public safety agencies looking to streamline coordination efforts through broadband messaging can use this document to study lessons learned from previous implementations and review recommendations for OTT application requirements for an effective and interoperable communication. The Texas Broadband Applications and Information Sharing Strategic Advisory Group intends to evolve these recommendations to align with best practices as they continue to emerge.

In addition, the 2019 National Emergency Communications Plan—the nation’s comprehensive strategic plan to strengthen and enhance emergency communications capabilities—encourages data interoperability through the development of effective and sustainable information sharing and data exchange standards, policies, and procedures. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is also supporting SAFECOM and NCSWIC efforts to develop an information interoperability framework to improve public safety communications.