Imagine what it might be like if emergency workers who respond to horrific catastrophes like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes all were carrying small video cameras. Further image that they could share in real-time the video and other critical information they capture on the scene with colleagues at the site and with the entire emergency response ecosystem.
The vision of video and rich data being efficiently and effectively share between all critical aspects of public safety emergency response ecosystems — from those onsite to all of their support capabilities and the command and control centers of all agencies for whom the speed of responsiveness is essential is being realized. The advent of 4G LTE mobile broadband is at the core of Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) push to make the vision of public safety communication reality.
As noted by Alcatel-Lucent, most public safety agencies today use digital Professional or Land Mobile Radio (PMR/LMR) networks that are based on the TETRA standard in Europe and most other parts of the world which typically use the 400 MHz band. Project25 is used in the U.S. for essential communication with dedicated radio spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band.
The challenge for traditional systems is that while they provide emergency teams the ability to talk securely in a one-to-one or group situations with ‘push-to-talk’ to prioritize speakers, they cannot accommodate the video and rich data services that now are available to any consumer on a 4G LTE mobile broadband network. This is the situation that Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) is looking to rectify by enabling public safety agencies to have their own dedicated spectrum to avail themselves not just of connectivity and interoperability for basic voice interactions during times of crises, but also to the full panoply of capabilities broadband provides.
In May, Alcatel-Lucent and Cassidian, an EADS (News - Alert) company, unveiled the Evercor solution, which brings 4G LTE (News - Alert) mobile broadband to professional mobile radio users in the 400 MHz frequency band.
“It integrates LTE mobile data with mission critical voice capabilities enabling real-time video, collaboration and data services,” said Philippe Keryer, Executive Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent Networks Group and Jean-Marc Nasr, Senior Vice President of Head of Cassidian Secure Communications Solutions, in an announcement about the solution.
Delivering backhaul networking capabilities that can support the power, bandwidth and speeds needed for effective emergency video and data services has also been at the core of Alcatel-Lucent’s public safety work. The company leverages its Wireless Packet Core portfolio, including its all-Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) communications protocol and its family of IP/MPLS Service Routers such as its 7705 Service Aggregation Router.
Last August, the company demonstrated its ‘Striker 1’ mobile command vehicle, which the company said, “provides LTE mobile broadband support in the public safety band 14 spectrum for mobile devices such as tablets, radios and video cameras.”
Alcatel-Lucent’s work with public safety agencies around the world on incorporating 4G LTE mobile broadband into their response effort is reflected in two recent projects. It assisted the City of Charlotte on giving fingerprint and face recognition to first responders over the 700 MHz frequency. And, it is working with the São Paolo, Brazil military police to leverage high-speed video and data at two of its police operational centers.
We hear a lot about the revolution 4G LTE is bringing to personal and commercial markets. In various major catastrophes around the world in the past few years, significant gaps in connectivity and capabilities have exposed the critical need for dedicated wireless broadband to enable first responders and aid providers to be able to act quickly and coordinate activities decisively in times where every second matters. It is encouraging how LTE is being used in dedicated frequencies and not just traditional but innovative ways to greatly improve public safety ecosystem response capabilities.
Edited by Peter Bernstein