New initiative seeks to improve public safety and emergency response

By Everett Dorma Posted: June 12, 2015 5:00 p.m.

(L to R) Superintendent Alfredo Bangloy, Assistant Criminal Operations Officer at RCMP F Division Headquarters in Regina; Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification;  Dr. Yasser Morgan, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice President (Academic).
(L to R) Superintendent Alfredo Bangloy, Assistant Criminal Operations Officer at RCMP F Division Headquarters in Regina; Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification; Dr. Yasser Morgan, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice President (Academic). (Photo courtesy of Trevor Hopkin - U of R Photography)

Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) University of Regina have announced $2.3 million in funding to establish the Public Safety Interoperability Platform (PSIP) at the U of R's Bridging Research and Interoperability Collaboration (BRIC).

The funding will be used to purchase and install equipment and specialized software to develop the PSIP, which public safety agencies can freely use to improve public safety and emergency response across Canada.

“Although there have been many innovations in public safety in recent years it has not included an efficient and effective interoperable platform that allows devices and applications developed in isolation to communicate with each other,” says Dr. Yasser Morgan, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering and principal researcher with BRIC. “We want to help emergency responders talk to and share critical information with each other allowing them to make informed decisions that complement their existing response processes.”

The PSIP will also provide a test-bed for regional small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) where researchers can develop and try out novel technologies for the public safety wireless broadband market. The test-bed is designed to reduce research time and development costs for these businesses and provide independent certification allowing them to commercialize their technologies nationally and internationally.

“The test-bed will help foster new innovations in technology and processes that will ultimately help save more Canadian lives in times of crisis," says Kevin Wennekes, Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) Chief Business Officer. “CATAAlliance is pleased to have been a founding partner, supporter and advocate voice in the campaign for this national pursuit."

Says Dr. Morgan, “This federal funding allows us to think big, aiming at positioning an architectural framework that will change the public safety sector nationally and internationally. The University of Regina’s new strategic plan’s focus on public safety and the digital future could not have come at a better time to support regional SME’s use of these advanced tools.”

The BRIC initiative is part of the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety.