A prototype system designed to connect land-based communication networks to allow government agencies and emergency personnel to share and distribute real-time data throughout Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island is being deployed. The one-year pilot program is called Rhode Island Port Security Wireless Communications Network (RIPSWCN).

The RIPSWCN partnership is a demonstration project funded by an $856,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. The groups involved include the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. (RIEDC), Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management and Rhode Island Dept. of Administration.

Newport, RI-based Smiths Detection-LiveWave is one of the lead companies putting the system together. “This project is going to extend interoperability to agencies needing to share critical information in real-time, as it helps to expand the communications infrastructure and increases public safety,” said Peter Mottur, the company’s president.

He noted that the project consists of a wireless broadband network to distribute text, voice, data and video to first responders and local law enforcement in real-time. Users will be able to communicate securely via Internet Protocol (IP) on standard PCs, laptops and handheld devices, Mottur said.

The network will also include high-resolution robotic camera systems, wireless networking systems and equipment, and a variety of sensors, including thermal and radar, for vessel identification and tracking, he added.

“Under Smiths, the port security wireless network is going to demonstrate new port security technologies with the potential for nationwide application,” said John Riendeau, defense industry manager for RIEDC. “The key is the network’s unique ability to address emergency response and contingency planning – eventually becoming a national model by which other port security communication approaches are measured.”