5 things I learned at Critical Communications Europe 2017

Published: 24 Feb 2017
Author: Tiina Saaristo
Topics: Events

Critical Communications Europe was held 7-8 February in Copenhagen. The event promised to explore how the collaborative path looks like for critical communications in Europe.

I was at the event and had the opportunity to attend several conference sessions in addition to doing stand duty at the Critical Communications Finland exhibition area. This kind of work is always educational! I’ve seen many years of critical communications and many events, but even so, these five things were news to me:

1. Interoperability is a hot topic

Collaboration was the underlying theme for the whole event, but it was still surprising how many conference speeches and discussions touched the topic of interoperability.

For example, Marianne Storrosten and Anita Galin from the Norwegian and Swedish public safety networks (Nødnett and Rakel) spoke about the successful project to join these two country-wide networks with Inter-System Interface.

The CC Europe event also witnessed the signing of the Letter of Intent to establish interoperability between the Finnish and Norwegian authority networks.

Cecilie B Løken (Norway) and Jarmo Vinkvist (Finland) at the signing ceremony. 

A special panel discussed the interoperability and standardization of national PMR networks and here’s the best part: we got the whole discussion on video. If you could not attend the event, here’s your chance to learn what the panelists think about the following:

  • Will 4/5G will lead to coherent mission-critical PMR networks for PPDR (Public Protective and Disaster Relief)?
  • How will critical communications networks be kept secure in an ever connected environment?
  • Is 5G really necessary for critical communications or will LTE be the ceiling for end user needs?
  • How will end users take advantage of IoT and who will drive this sub-eco system?

Now watch the video "Interoperability and standardization of national PMR networks" on Vimeo

Want to know how interoperability can be established? This web page has a lot more information on Inter-System Interface, the technical solution for interoperability between TETRA networks.

2. Some impressive numbers

One of the most engaging sessions was with Tero Pesonen and Juho Luoma, who brought authority communications to life in a story about tourists getting lost in the Lappish wilderness. (Of course the story had a happy end.)

Tero Pesonen and Juho Luoma, masters of storytelling.

Intertwined into the story were tidbits of technical and other information. I wrote down these impressive numbers about the Finnish public safety network VIRVE:

  • VIRVE handles 150,000 group calls every day
  • and 7,500,000 SDS messages every day.


Much of the Finnish critical communications ecosystem was represented at the event, on the CC Finland exhibition area. Here's pretty much everyone who did stand duty at this area:

3. Collaboration can take surprising forms

My notes from the conference sessions also included this:

Fire stations in the northern border areas in Finland, Norway, and Sweden have cooperated in another practical way for a long time. Some of them use common equipment, such as fire engines. Very practical! (And this has started long before radio communications interoperability.)

4. Modernization

Many European public safety networks have been up and running long enough for their owners and operators to start thinking about modernization. All the same, it was news to me that Denmark plans to announce a tender this year for a new safety network.

5. And modernization that’s perhaps overdue

"50% of PMR networks are still analogue," said Mladen Vratonjic in one of the conference sessions. I would have guessed that digital PMR is more common than that!

+ A bonus lesson

In addition to these five learnings, I was again reminded that stand duty is hard work, especially for the feet. I was therefore more than eager to sit down and go back to school.

Sami Orakoski is helping me with the exercise.

A radio communications simulator program taught me how to properly use the TH1n TETRA radio. Very interesting and very educational!

This was not exactly hands-on (because it was a simulation), but the exhibition area featured hundreds of things that one could touch and really get the feel of. Just one example - Tactilon Agnet, an app that can bring TETRA group communication into your smartphone:

 

And speaking of apps, Airbus has conducted a survey on mobile applications.

----- And while the 2017 report on the survey was interesting, perhaps you would rather want to download the 2018 report "Users are looking for secure professional apps"

DOWNLOAD REPORT

----- Updated 28 Mar 2018

One more photo. Nature proved with a snow storm that Denmark is a northern country. (This is a view of Bella Center, the conference venue, from above.)

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