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Interoperability of real-time public safety data: Challenges and possible future states



Britta M. Voss, Eric W. Anderson


The proliferation of advanced data sharing technologies and the emergence of a national public safety broadband network (NPSBN) are revolutionizing the communications capabilities of first responders in the United States. Fire departments, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical service providers, and other public safety entities are beginning to adopt messaging applications, sensors, networked cameras, and other technologies that provide a wealth of real- time information about people, infrastructure, and the incident environment. However, the rapid expansion of these technologies presents important technical, economic, and governance challenges that need to be addressed for these technologies to provide interoperable communication solutions for all members of the public safety community. This report provides an overview of these challenges, focusing on data exchange standards, data access control approaches, and data sharing policy frameworks. It explores the limitations of efforts to improve the interoperability of data sharing technologies to date and provides recommendations for the public safety community to leverage existing resources and organizations and build new alliances to promote a more interoperable future for data sharing technologies. The report is intended to inform and motivate public safety leaders to create the conditions that will allow first responders to derive maximum operational benefits from the capabilities provided by emerging technologies and the NPSBN, and to encourage technology developers to support more interoperable data sharing technologies for public safety.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8255
Report Number


data sharing, emergency management, governance, information sharing, interoperability, public safety, standards


Voss, B. and Anderson, E. (2019), Interoperability of real-time public safety data: Challenges and possible future states, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created June 19, 2019