This blog is by Markus Borchert, Senior Vice President Market Europe, Nokia and President of DIGITALEUROPE
Last week we founded the Mission Critical Communications Alliance – you may have read the press release. It’s an ecosystem for mobile operators, public authorities and first response agencies to collaborate and create formal standards in the use of LTE for public safety. It will also provide a platform for new ideas and partnerships. It’s a global initiative, and I think it is very relevant for Europe.
Europe’s public safety infrastructures today rely largely on legacy technologies. The Mission Critical Communication Alliance aims to support transformation towards the use of modern LTE- and eventual 5G-based networks. The broadband capability, interoperability, and economies of scale, which these technologies can deliver are key requirements of governments for mission critical communications.
Other markets like Korea and the US are ahead with this task with advanced trials. In Europe, we have seen first deployments only in the UK and start-up initiatives in few countries like Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.
Why do we need this? For starters, 2015 was the first year in which Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, recorded over 1,000 natural disaster events. While tsunamis and hurricanes usually do not affect Europe, our continent has it’s share of earthquakes as we unfortunately witnessed recently in Italy, as well as floodings and wildfires, not to mention the increased security risks from terrorist threats and other man-made events.
Technology has the power to enable faster, better and safer response in the case of a catastrophic event. I am not only speaking of early-warning systems for earthquakes, although these are good examples of the positive impact of technology. I am talking about supporting critical communication among emergency units: When it is useful to have body cams or drones, which can provide pictures from the scene; when you have the means to manage and coordinate the emergency units visually rather than based only on voice communication; and when you can monitor the vital functions of the first responders. LTE networks can make the important jobs of firefighters, ambulances and the police easier, more effective, and less dangerous.
Nokia is the driving force for standardization of the public safety features of LTE in 3GPP and we have launched innovative solutions like LTE Compact Network, which can be setup quickly to ensure mission critical communication even when there is no LTE coverage. Together with EE in the United Kingdom, we have demonstrated the use of drones in combination with an ultra-compact LTE network to reach difficult-to-access areas.
It’s great to see that some European service providers are among the first members of the alliance. I am confident that other operators, first response agencies and and public authorities from our region will follow and I invite all relevant organizations in Europe to join.
Let’s leverage the human possibilities of technology and make Europe a safer place!
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