Verizon Revs Up Network Slicing with Axon in Public Safety First: Real-Time Data for Law Enforcement

By Greg Tavarez January 08, 2024

Let’s talk about network slicing.

Network slicing creates virtual, isolated networks within a single one, each tailored for specific needs like real-time video, critical control systems or everyday browsing. The purpose of this approach is to ensure smooth performance even during peak times.

Verizon, a frontrunner in 5G innovation, took a step forward in network slicing technology, demonstrating its potential to transform public safety operations. Collaborating with Axon, a provider of public safety tech, Verizon (News - Alert) recently demonstrated a new use case that prioritizes mission-critical data for law enforcement on its commercial 5G network.

Verizon carved out a slice specifically for Axon's body camera and live-streaming software, Axon Fleet 3 and Axon Respond. Axon Fleet 3 is a cloud-connected in-car video system that gives complete visibility into fleet operations. Axon Respond is a real-time situational awareness platform for dispatchers and commanders, giving them a complete picture of evolving situations.

Compared to the regular 5G network, the slice delivered a 53% improvement in time to first frame for video streams, a 5% increase in streaming success rate, and a significant reduction in latency and jitter.

This marks an advancement in public safety technology. For law enforcement officers, the benefits are substantial. Think of a high-speed chase where live video from body cameras and dashcams streams flawlessly, providing real-time updates to dispatch and backup units. Or consider a hostage situation where officers gain immediate access to critical building blueprints and tactical resources, all delivered through a dedicated, high-performance network slice.

“When engaging in a public safety incident, accurate and timely live streaming and location information is mission critical for enhancing law enforcement’s situational awareness and its ability to make decisions based on real-time, accurate information,” said Axon Senior Director of Product Management Black Bullock. “Our work with Verizon’s 5G lower latency network slice improved streaming rate success and accelerated time to first frame for our Axon Fleet 3 Respond services.”

Verizon and Axon plan to expand their collaboration, exploring additional use cases and refining the technology for real-world deployment. This could include prioritizing data for firefighters battling blazes, paramedics providing emergency care, or first responders navigating disaster zones.

With that said, network slicing isn't without its challenges. Concerns remain about potential security vulnerabilities and ensuring equitable access to these dedicated network resources. Additionally, integrating various public safety agencies' systems and protocols into a unified, sliced network requires extensive collaboration and standardization efforts.

Despite these challenges, the potential of network slicing for public safety is undeniable. Verizon's collaboration with Axon marks a step in unlocking a future where real-time data empowers officers and first responders to better protect lives and strength communities.

Edited by Alex Passett
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