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Sep 12 2016

Power of innovation to save lives

Twitter: @nokia

Innovation to expand the human possibilities of the connected world is in the heart of everything we do at Nokia.

We invent, design, and deploy connecting technologies that make a real difference to people’s lives: we focus on the human possibilities of technology. When we develop solutions that reinvent how to connect the world, we always focus on the human possibilities of these digital technologies.  We innovate not for technology’s sake – but to solve connectivity problems to make people’s lives better. Solving global connectivity and digital life challenges is how we want to exercise our social responsibility.

New technologies like 5G and IoT are being developed to connect the world for autonomous driving, smart cities, smart homes, digital health, and public safety.  We are innovating actively in all these areas.

Most of us consider communications and the ability to ‘connect’ as an essential element of our lives. This is never truer than in the case of an emergency – when being able to receive and send information has the power to save lives, and helps us connect with those we care for in stressful situations. We have been exploring innovative solutions to improve communications in natural disasters or emergency situations, to help the world stay connected at all times.

Last week, Nokia arranged an exciting event on our Espoo campus in Finland: our Nokia Saving Lives demonstration showed Nokia innovation directly at the service of first responders. The Espoo fire brigade demonstrated a live rescue simulation in a nearby forest, using Nokia technology. It was a powerful and life-like example of how Nokia is advancing technologies that can save lives.

Providing real-time access to vital info

Time is precious in emergency operations, and rescue teams have to get quickly to the right locations to help people. The Nokia Saving Lives solution helps answer this need. For decades, public safety has relied on low-bandwidth technology to communicate in emergency situations, with land mobile radios. The narrowband networks are good for voice communications but limited in data capabilities, leaving rescue teams without real-time access to vital information including videos, detailed area maps, and locations of other teams.

In the simulation, we demonstrated live video streaming and infrared camera feed from a group of flying drones. The drones circled our campus, communicating with LTE public safety devices, to create awareness between the “emergency command center” set up in our campus parking lot, and the fire brigade rescuing one of our colleagues “lost” in the forest. The drones provided real-time video data, visually locating the victim, and allowing the rescuers to find him quickly in a precise location. In a real disaster situation, drones would provide an important visual understanding of a catastrophe site, enabling rescue teams to effectively coordinate and prioritize their work.

We also showed our Ultra Compact Network: a home-grown Nokia innovation, which started as a research project in Nokia Bell Labs, and this year won our internal Innovation Award, becoming part of our product portfolio in May 2016.

The Ultra Compact Network provides a standalone LTE network, which can re-establish connectivity within minutes in situations where existing communications infrastructure is down. It is light-weight and transportable in a backpack, assembled and configured and ready to operate. The LTE connection enables voice communications between rescue workers on site, and also real-time access to crucial information, like the videos and area maps demonstrated in our simulation. With satellite, microwave or cable link, it can connect rescue teams to emergency services, hospitals, and other teams in any location.

Nokia Saving Lives is an example of our open innovation approach: showing the extraordinary things we can achieve when different technologies come together, and when we work openly and innovate together to improve people’s lives.

It’s also an example of Nokia’s commitment to sustainability: the first use of this solution is planned as a non-profit initiative. In collaboration with other industry players and network operators, we can support NGOs and governments in their mission to provide a timely response exactly where it’s needed.

As my colleague Joerg Ambrozy – who heads Nokia’s Public Safety & Government business – says, technology is constantly evolving and we are always looking for ways to make best use of advancements to help emergency services and NGOs in their mission to save lives. We have already been applying Nokia technology for the benefit of global non-profit aid organizations, with an ongoing collaboration with Save the Children in India and a local telecom operator for providing our compact LTE as a disaster recovery solution.

The Nokia Saving Lives demo is clear proof of what we can do already today with LTE for public safety. But we want to continue to do more and push the industry to move forward. When 3GPP-standardized critical communications networks based on LTE become operational around the world, we will be able to take our innovations even further.

We won’t stop there. Every day in Nokia, I see new ideas that have the power to change the world and fulfil our vision of expanding the human possibilities of technology. Right now, we have a team in Nokia Bell Labs working on a mobile radio that could be powered by solar energy. And we are running our fourth Nokia Open Innovation Challenge, to identify innovators and starts-up in the IoT space working to make lives better through technology.

According to World Vision, there were around 150 major natural disasters worldwide in 2015 alone. While we sadly cannot prevent all disasters and emergencies, with technology and innovation, we can improve response time, enable better communications, and save lives. That is the true the power of technology in the connected world.

See our website for more on Nokia Public Safety

Read Joerg Ambrozy’s blog about last week’s exciting live demo of public safety LTE in Finland.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #publicsafety #LTE #innovation

About Marc Rouanne

As Chief Innovation and Operating Officer, Marc has the dual role of steering Nokia’s innovation agenda, while deploying transformative innovation within Nokia to increase the company’s operational efficiency. With over 20 years experience in the telecomms industry, Marc has transformed large businesses to achieve growth and profitability in competitive environments.