On June 19, Utah Communications Authority (UCA) and FirstNet Authority sponsored a FirstNet in Utah Agency Panel Workshop at the Salt Lake City Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Speaking to a full audience, Paul Patrick, FirstNet Board Member and Division Director of Family Health and Preparedness for the Utah Department of Health, welcomed attendees to the workshop. Paul then introduced Tracey Murdock, FirstNet Authority Senior Public Safety Advisor, who shared FirstNet’s new strategic investment roadmap process.

A highlight of the workshop was the agency panel discussion led by Amy Haukeness, FirstNet Authority Mission Critical Senior Products Advisor. A lively discussion ensued as panelists Chief Gary Giles of the Orem Police Department; Chief John Evans, Fire Chief and Emergency Manager for West Valley City; Lieutenant Nick Wilkinson with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division; and David Herrmann, Technology Services Director for the Salt Lake City Fire Department described their agencies’ experiences as first-year FirstNet subscribers.

Following the panel session, the discussion turned to attendees sharing their agencies’ needs and priorities with FirstNet Authority and AT&T via a live online poll and engaging whiteboard discussion. The live poll revealed coverage and capacity as the number one priority, with participants relating, “If you don’t have coverage, nothing else matters.”

In a separate meeting held after the workshop, Shae Cook, AT&T, and Vic Bennett, Sonim, discussed the latest in FirstNet deployables, including 72 FirstNet satellite cell on light trucks (SatCOLTs), which have been deployed nationwide in the last year. They also talked about AT&T’s three new FirstNet cell on wings (COW) tethered drones and Sonim’s Rapid Deployment Kit (RDK). The RDK enables incident responders to set up in minutes a “bubble” of wireless coverage in remote areas.

Meeting notes about the workshop and its findings can be found here.