By James Careless
Last year’s Vision 2022 conference and trade show brought together the FirstNet user community for three days in the Las Vegas sun. It was such a success that the Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA) that hosted the event is doing it all over again this year. As a result, this next edition of the PSBTA Vision FirstNet Users Summit (Vision 2023) is being held at the South Point Spa and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 25-28, 2023. Registration for Vision 2023 can be found here.
“We were pleasantly surprised with the turnout for last year’s event,” said Martha Ellis, PSBTA Executive Director. “It was our first Summit after several attempts to launch during COVID. We knew we’d attracted several high-profile exhibitors, and put together an incredible agenda, which drew in fantastic speakers. The wildcard was who was going to attend. COVID had really disrupted travel for so many agencies, but we believed so strongly in what we were doing, we took the leap of faith. Thankfully, it paid off.”
Ellis’ assessment is endorsed by Al H. Gillespie, retired Fire Chief and PSBTA President. “Last year was our inaugural event and what a success!” he told AllThingsFirstNet.com. “We had members of public safety organizations from around the country sharing ideas and learning about the tools that have been developed, and are developing, for public safety’s own network. In addition, we partnered with the Safer Building Coalition and Nevada Fire Chief as we shared information valuable to a broad group of public safety professionals.”
A Solid Lineup
After such a strong showing and a successful show in 2022, the plan for Vision 2023 is to “have a very robust agenda that is primarily focused on enhancing the user experience with FirstNet,” said Ellis. “We will also share a glimpse into the future, so users can see how FirstNet is going to revolutionize emergency communications for all first responders and the supporting agencies. There will be hands-on training opportunities, in addition to roundtable discussions designed to encourage first responder input into current and future innovations, ultimately optimizing FirstNet.” As well, “this year’s program will continue the partnerships we have developed and build on our foundation as we provide an even stronger users conference,” Gillespie said.
There will be some impressive keynote speakers on the first day, such as FirstNet CEO Joe Wassel, and AT&T FirstNet Program President Jim Bugel. Their intention is to show “public/private partnership and support for public safety (PSBTA) and how we are all stronger together,” said Ellis.
Meanwhile, on the Community of Practice panels this year, there will be “public safety representation, making the focus all about public safety’s experience and future needs,” she said. The panels will also address some notable topics such as NG911 and FirstNet, and how they work together; mission critical solutions for transitioning from LMR to LTE; school safety solutions, and the tribal perspective towards FirstNet and first responder communications. Ellis is also excited to have a “local public safety star, Sheriff Kevin McMahill, who will discuss their agency’s black officer experience project.”
That’s not all. Chief Gillespie said that Vision 2023 will see presentations from top first response leaders such as FirstNet Chair Rich Carrizzo, International Association of Fire Chiefs’ President and CEO John Butler, and many others. “But the core of our conference is, and will remain, the chance to meet with the companies that have developed the tools we have asked for that make FirstNet an unparalleled network, with public safety, by public safety and for public safety.” he told AllThingsFirstNet.com
A Must-Attend Event
The big question for FirstNet users (and their bosses who authorize expenses) is if it’s worth going to the Vision 2023 conference. Ellis replied with an unequivocal yes: It’s worth it.
“The PSBTA Vision FirstNet Users Summit is the only conference solely focused on the ongoing use, optimization, and evolution of our nation’s only fully dedicated broadband network,” she explained.” Attendees not only have unique opportunities to learn about cutting edge technology, they will actually be part of building that technology for the future.”
Chief Gillespie mirrored this answer, adding that membership in the PSBTA has more than doubled since the first show. “We’d like each of you to consider becoming a member, and becoming part of what is the future of communication and information sharing for public safety,” he recommended.
Convincing the Boss
As for selling the brass on sending their FirstNet staff to Vision 2023? Just tell them what the conference is all about. The content and depth of Vision 2023 for FirstNet users sells itself.
“Public safety leadership knows all too well that reliable communication for planned and unplanned events is the lynchpin to successful outcomes,” said Ellis. “The PSBTA Vision FirstNet Users Summit is thus the ideal conference to send agency FirstNet end users to
enhance network use.” “You won’t find a better place to learn about the best tools and information to support the FirstNet users in your organizations who protect the citizens in their communities daily,” Chief Gillespie added.
One last selling point for attending Vision 2023: The price to attend is affordable thanks to an ‘Early Bird Special’ price of only $99 for the full conference. This low price includes two meals: breakfast and lunch. Meanwhile, the block room rate is an economical $65/night per person. “Public safety leadership will never find a more worthwhile use for their conference dollars,” said Ellis.
Once again, you can register for Vision 2023 here. We look forward to seeing you there.