May/June 2021 | Vol. 26 No. 3
Today’s digital technologies and systems generate, process, transmit, analyze, and display tremendous amounts of data, turning information into meaningful insights and actions. NEMA Members’ connected products are guiding users’
decision- making, improving efficiency, speed, and accuracy—something especially important for first responders.
When a 911 call comes to a command center, first responders need to quickly assess the situation, get to the location, and adapt to on-site conditions to save lives. They are aided in this by two types of systems manufactured by Members of the
NEMA Transportation and Building Systems Divisions: connected vehicle roadside equipment, and cloud-based fire and life safety systems.
The recently published NEMA TS 10 Standard, Connected Vehicle Infrastructure Roadside Equipment, focuses on specific applications for how vehicles interact with roadside infrastructure. For example, emergency vehicle signal preemption
allows first responder vehicles to request signal preemption through equipped intersections to get to a destination sooner. Preemption is already happening in Alpharetta, Georgia, where officials are installing systems in traffic cabinets
that can sense emergency vehicles and change signals to allow them to pass quickly at 100 of the city’s 129 signalized intersections. The triggering devices are installed on all fire service vehicles and others in Alpharetta’s
Department of Public Safety hierarchy.
During the recent NEMA Fire, Life Safety, and Emerging Technology Forum, Members and guests discussed cloud-based life system data for first responders. Building systems such as fire, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, lighting, and security
all provide data today, albeit siloed within a particular building. A cloud-based system could identify the type of emergency (e.g., fire, carbon monoxide, gas leak, etc.) as well as valuable secondary information related to occupant data
(e.g., how many people are in the building, where they are located, what is their current direction of travel in relation to the event). This system could be tailored to respond based on whether the building is industrial, retail, or apartments
and provide additional verification of the event before personnel are dispatched. Having that information handy would prevent resources being wasted on a false alarm from a common event, such as humidity from a hotel shower tripping an emergency
sensor. Having this data updated in real-time would allow the incident commander to share the data via multiple devices such as tablets and cell phones and give on-site personnel the ability to make instantaneous informed decisions without
going back to the command center.
While there are obstacles to this vision of a connected future, they can be overcome, and our Members will play a vital role in that. The next issue of electroindustry, which will focus on redesigning or repurposing buildings for the
future, will explore those options and discuss how building systems are adapting to the times using data and technology. ei
Kevin J. Cosgriff
NEMA President and CEO