Public Safety (Fire, police, first responders, etc) are now looking at Software Defined Radio
to generate interoperability among the first responders who have incompatible radios between groups. By bridging the gap through multi-band and multi-service radios. In addition to interoperability, cognitive radio techniques could also help first responder radios adapt to their environment. Consider a Katrina-situation in which the local telecom infrastructure is wiped out requiring radios to adapt to a new infrastructure. To address the issue the National Public Safety Telecomunications Council
was formed to study and advise on the issues.
The key challenges in public safety applications are spectrum usage and multi-band bridging. Public radios do not use the spectrum efficiently and consequently runs out. Also first responder radios operate on different bands which must be bridged as described in this market research executive summary report.