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Verizon announced the focus and members in the fourth cohort of its 5G First Responder Lab on Thursday. This year’s group of innovators will develop 5G solutions to directly support the EMS and patient journey, using Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.

“What we’re focusing on is everything from before something bad happens, to getting better visibility into what’s happening, all the way through the emergency response, and then all the way through to treatment,” said Nick Nilan, director of public sector product management at Verizon. “How do they get from the incident back to the hospital in a connected experience? How do we do that all on 5G?”

SEE: Future of 5G: Projections, rollouts, use cases, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Verizon received 60 submissions and to the program selected the following companies to be part of this latest 5G First Responder Lab cohort: Biotricity, Rave Mobile Safety, DispatchHealth, Vuzix, and Visionable.

Each company specializes in different innovations. Biotricity focuses on real-time remote medical monitoring; Rave Mobile Safety brings a critical communications and data sharing platform; DispatchHealth offers on-call medical care to your door; Vuzix optimizes augmented reality to better inform first responders; and Visionable has a platform for real-time medical collaboration.

Equipped with those specialites, the companies are teaming up over the next six months to develop 5G solutions that ultimately make the job of EMS individuals more efficient, connected, and effective, Nilan said.

“We wanted to really take the time with this one and spend just about six months actually working with these companies, rolling up our sleeves together, and building a solution,” Nilan said. “What we hope to deliver is that end-to-end solution at the end of that cohort–— solution that showcases what 5G can deliver for EMS through that entire journey.”

What is the 5G First Responder Lab?

Nilan has been the executive sponsor of the 5G First Responder Lab since the first cohort in early 2018.

“[5G First Responder Lab] is really an opportunity for us to inspire the market to do more with 5G than just neat consumer applications,” Nilan said. “There’s going to be a lot of applications for consumers on 5G, but we wanted to make sure public safety, first responders, and emergency services had access to the innovation that we’ve seen from technology over the last couple of decades.”

Each cohort focuses on different types of solutions associated with first responders. Examples of past lab projects include drones that help route first responders during natural disasters and CBRNE sensors to better secure cities, according to Nilan.

“The difference in this year’s is it’s focusing on a specific part of the public safety community. One that really has been struggling with a heavy workload, especially during COVID-19,” Nilan said.

“Oftentimes, they have a lack of vital information. They don’t always know all of the details: What they’re driving to, what they’re around when they arrive on scene,” Nilan noted. “We saw this as a real opportunity to focus on a specific part of the public safety community and deliver a better experience, to hopefully, at the end of the day, save lives.”

SEE: Hiring Kit: 5G Wireless System Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

The idea for the fourth cohort actually started in Q4 of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“What we wanted to do coming into this year was really focus that innovation in a specific area. And then when COVID happened … obviously, we saw the impacts there,” Nilan said. “The choice to support the EMS community with a new 5G solution was validated.

“This is a community in need of solutions and technology to help them with their day-to-day mission. We’re very excited about being able to build an end-to-end solution that hopefully addresses that,” Nilan added.

Verizon is currently accepting applications for the fifth cohort of its 5G First Responder Lab, which focuses on fire responders and situational awareness. The fifth cohort participants will be selected at the end of 2020.

For more, check out Verizon’s 5G build acceleration continues on TechRepublic.

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