Public Safety Snapshot: One of Today’s Highest Potential Communication Markets

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The communications market has seen a number of significant shifts in recent years given the step-change advances in both the technology and devices we use to connect with one another. A specific area is emerging as one of the biggest untapped sectors in communications today, and entering perhaps its most disruptive phase in our lifetime: public safety.

What we mean when we say public safety is the underlying infrastructure that supports emergency response, and the transformation currently underway to modernize this framework is largely known as next-generation 911 (NG911). In fact, this term was coined to label the combined initiative of the US and Canada to modernize public safety communications across North America. Comtech has already established itself as a well-known competitor in the public safety space here, and in the US alone, the market surrounding NG911 is expected to grow to nearly $1.2 billion in 2026 – increasing at a steady CAGR of 6.1% from 2021 according to Frost & Sullivan analysts.

When we look at this market globally however, we see some distinct differences, but no less opportunity. The international market is perhaps less mature in the sense that there is a historically less formalized commitment to universally address this issue. But international markets are more advanced in that they don’t have the wireline legacy we have in the US, and wireless communications are predominant – which means they are easy and ready to adapt.  With that in mind, our collective market represents an over $2 billion opportunity for Comtech, and is expected to grow anywhere from a 5-10% CAGR as resources are increasingly committed to it.

Why is that? First, consider the extraordinary growth of connected devices: a recent IoT Analytics report calls for the number of connected endpoints to grow at a 16% CAGR to reach 29.7 billion by 2027. Everything from cars, to watches and even home appliances, are Internet-enabled, and these devices can communicate with greater sophistication with us and each other, as well as transmit everything from photos and videos to location.

Here, Comtech not only helps our customers integrate the diversity of technologies and media now available to public safety (meaning, video, sensors, smart devices, etc.) but to make sense of that data – increasingly with AI – to help sort the haystack to find the needle. We’ve all seen stories about someone calling 911 to order a pizza, and Comtech’s mission is to appropriately filter for only relevant 911 calls, and further, only pertinent information to the call taker (away from the mass of data “noise” that is irrelevant).

With today’s technology, with the right communications infrastructure, we can more comprehensively and precisely capture and process information, which is never more critical than when someone is experiencing an emergency and every second counts.

Let’s take an even deeper dive and consider the potential of the markets we serve with our Terrestrial & Wireless business. There are a number of elements that make up the public safety communications ecosystem: carrier services, ESInet and PSAPs.

At Comtech, “carrier services” really means Trusted Carrier Location Services. Our job is to help carriers identify user locations for both general (and, commercial) uses, but in addition, with accuracy in the event of a 911 call. Our customers – providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast – are sensitive to CPNI and their own users’ privacy. But: the moment you dial 911, different laws and requirements come into play, and – understandably – more can and must be done to determine caller location and get this information to a public safety node.

While calls are largely made over wireless connections, carriers are also having to quickly absorb the needs of today’s reliance on VoIP and OTT (over-the-top) video streaming from anywhere and any device, which will extend to emergency services if, for example, a car’s system detects a crash and activates a call from the passenger trying to make contact. Last year alone, we estimate this market represented a roughly $300 million market opportunity for Comtech to support this diversity of access, and will only grow.

Second, we need to consider ESInet, which is the underlying IP network that supports NG911. It’s what allows better data transfer between the sender and recipient, including location tracking and the ability to send images or other large data files, as well as manage text messages in addition to voice calls. For NG911, this allows operators to issue a response with precision if they can locate and diagnose the situation via better insights provided from the person and/or device at the other end of the line. This facet of public safety is expected to experience double-digit growth in coming years as more states (and, all of Canada) seek to contract NG911 coverage – of which, currently about 20% of the population is under no, or only partial, contract according to the FCC and Emergency Agencies at the state and county level. In fact, at the end of 2022, only 11 states were fully, or in the progress of, migrating to NG911. Comtech, however, already has established strong footing, currently holding significant contact share in the US with successful deployments, such as in Arizona, and prominent contract wins – like our recently announced deal extension with the state of Washington.

The last piece of the puzzle is Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) – such as call centers – and the solutions they need to sustain effective call handling and routing. To support the current state of communications, many PSAPs are moving to cloud-based offerings, and as we see the continued emergence of other capabilities like AI, this is another exciting subset of NG911 experiencing what we believe will also contribute to long-term growth over time.

Lastly, while 911 services are typically top-of-mind when we think of public safety, there is an equally pressing need to upgrade 988 services, those that support suicide hotlines and other mental health crises. These calls are traditionally routed from static area codes, a highly ineffective system, and several states have already passed legislation to address 988 implementation policies. We’ll explore this in a future post, but this is an area where Comtech also sees tremendous growth and opportunity in the coming years.

With the existing portfolio of solutions we have in our T&W business, our reputation and our strong customer relationships, we estimate that Comtech’s addressable market today – in both the US, and internationally – represents over $2 billion in value, and every component of that market is benefiting from secular growth drivers we’ve written about above. As we expand our offerings, and develop new customer relationships, that number has significant room to grow.

With all of this in mind, we recognize the incredible opportunities ahead of us. Public safety and service provider communications solutions is already a sector Comtech has established itself in as a trusted partner, and as more NG911 initiatives come online, we are ready to work hard and capture them.

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Другие посты

Промежуточный текст для 9-1-1

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