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Oct 15 2015

Unlocking the human possibilities of LTE for public safety

This blog is by Joerg Ambrozy at Nokia Networks. Twitter: @nokianetworks

The world around us is changing and the concrete benefits of technology and innovation can be seen everywhere – if you know where to look!

Let me start with a real world example. Last month, one million attendees gathered to see Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, U.S. You can imagine the level of security arrangements needed for such a high-profile attendee at such a massive event. The local authorities had constant live security video streams from the event throughout the Pope’s visit. One of the first responders on site commented that it was the very first time they had ever experienced zero loss of communications data!

How was all this possible? LTE for public safety technology was the key. The high-speed LTE network based on Nokia RAN was essential to promptly assess the situation, plan forward, and make the event safe and successful for all.

PubSafety_Nokia_CritCommsWorld Dubai SOS

Let’s picture another scenario: a missing person search in a remote location where commercial mobile network coverage is very limited. Nokia LTE Network in a Box is perfectly suited for this type of a situation. It helps public safety authorities establish a private mobile broadband network which is fully operational within minutes of arriving at the site and which does not require backhaul connectivity to a commercial network. High-speed LTE connectivity means, for example, that drones equipped with video cameras can help scan a wide area and transmit live videos to the command center. The search team safety can be enhanced with location tracking and real-time applications for situational awareness.

None of this would be possible without mobile broadband connectivity. LTE is the enabler for innovative real-time applications that require a high-speed data connection without interruptions. It also ensures reliable connectivity with Quality of Service differentiation and carrier-grade security. Existing narrow band public safety technology is very well suited for carrying voice, but it does not meet today’s requirements for high-speed data. LTE offers both voice and data services in one single network.

Now is the time for the public safety community to embrace the change and take concrete steps towards unlocking the true potential of LTE. In today’s world, it is important not to remain stuck in the traditional, limited ways of communicating and thinking what is possible. Nokia is creating new opportunities for the public safety community and leading the concrete transformation that is taking place today – enabled by LTE.

Critical Communications World in Dubai

Last week, I was happy to attend Critical Communications World in Dubai with a record number of attendees. I can honestly say that the visitors at our stand were impressed to see our innovative technology. We showcased the power of standardized LTE with demonstrations of our Nokia Network in a Box and integrated Harris BeOn Communications Suite using ruggedized professional handsets as well as regular consumer devices.

 

PubSafety_Nokia_CritCommsWorld Dubai logo
PubSafety_Nokia_CritCommsWorld Dubai small crowd

The discussions we had with the visitors were really interesting. Many were actively seeking information on what will happen to the existing Land Mobile Radio (LMR) functionalities when migrating to LTE and what true added value LTE brings to the picture. The great advantage is that mission-critical LMR applications will run on top of LTE, and additionally, there are completely new, innovative applications that LTE enables.

A very compelling LTE application we showcased at the event was edge video orchestration. It enables several video streams that are sent to multiple receivers, each of whom can select the video he or she wants to see. It is also easy for them to switch between the videos. For first responders, this means true, real-time situational awareness and enhanced effectiveness of group communications in any type of mission. It also helps the command center pinpoint the exact location, assess the severity and projected impact of the incident, and plan the need for resources accordingly. From a technology point of view, this is enabled by mobile edge computing capabilities of the LTE network.

We are now clearly at the turning point for LTE – it is rapidly gaining ground as the technology of choice for cost-effective mission-critical public safety solutions. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that the existing systems will co-exist and cooperate with LTE for awhile still. Let’s be sure to make the most of both technologies.

And how will the future evolve for public safety? Think of smart cities with billions of automated sensors and warning systems that are always on and connected as part of the Internet of Things to further enhance the safety of citizens. I believe that this is only the beginning of the journey for us and our partners. Together, we understand the requirements of public safety and are ready to lead and accelerate the transformation of the industry as we know it.

Visit our website for more on Public Safety at Nokia.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – and join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #LTE #PublicSafety.

About Joerg Ambrozy

Joerg is head of Public Safety & Government at Nokia, and very passionate about how technology can save lives by enabling efficient and innovative mobile broadband solutions for first responders. He enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures with his wife and three kids.