August 9, 2019

BY Allan Baum

In 2012, FirstNet was chartered as an independent authority within the US Dept. of Commerce – FirstNet’s mission was to ensure the building, deployment and operation of a nationwide broadband network that would equip first responders to save lives and protect communities. The Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System or LA-RICS was the first public safety LTE project approved by FirstNet.

LA-RICS was designed to operate when other communication networks were unavailable or unreliable. During large-scale public events, natural disasters, or large-scale emergencies, commercial broadband networks can quickly become overloaded and conventional, two-way radio systems are not interoperable between agencies. Because LA-RICS is a dedicated public safety broadband network, it needs to be always on… always available, so first responders can save lives! That means backup power, not just for 1 or 2 sites, but for ~80 LTE and Transport & Microwave Radio tower sites situated across 4,000+ square feet of Los Angeles County- including remote, hard to reach areas like the Blue Rock Site located in the high desert region of the Antelope Valley and the Burnt Peak Site located near the highest peak in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in northwestern LA County.

In 2015, BTECH partnered with Motorola to design, develop and deploy a battery monitoring solution that would validate each and every backup battery located across LA County, that each battery could provide the standby power it was specified to deliver. The battery monitoring solution we deployed across ~80 tower sites would not only meet and exceed LA-RICS’ network availability requirements, but it would enable predictive battery maintenance and it would relay all battery health and performance data to a central NOC from which Motorola and the LA-RICS Authority could verity that all backup power systems were operating as expected.