Critical communications are evolving towards broadband. Public safety organizations and businesses already use broadband enabled devices for less critical purposes, and now, with the new 5G capabilities, they could also adopt broadband push-to-talk, multimedia messaging and push-to-video features.
But which actions should organizations and businesses take to bring mission-critical broadband communications to life? How to make a success of introducing mission-critical broadband?
One thing is certain: forcing users to switch suddenly to a completely new technology risks disrupting operations severely. Instead, the technology shift should be a seamless evolution, not a disruptive migration. Hybrid solutions are therefore the ideal answer.
This page gives a thorough rundown of hybrid solutions, including an explanation of why these are important and how to adopt hybrid solutions – complete with practical tips. You will also learn about the important building blocks and find out how hybrid solutions work.
The hybrid broadband-narrowband network model has been developed for the purpose of delivering mission-critical reliability and broadband capabilities to public safety and professional organizations in a cost-effective way.
The current PMR/LMR operators and radio users recognize that the adoption of new communication technology needs to take into account of how people work. The adoption should also take advantage of already made investments. Simply replacing the core communication technology with another does not meet those needs.
The technology shift must be a seamless evolution, not a disruptive migration.
The move from traditional PMR to mission-critical broadband needs to include a hybrid phase – where digital or even analogue radio networks and LTE/4G/5G are used together. In an ideal case, there is interoperability between the networks, meaning that a talk group can easily include users from both/several networks. Also ideally, there is an integrated way to manage users even when they may have an account in both/several networks.
In the hybrid network model, organizations can continue using their existing radio communications network and also introduce mobile broadband services. Using a hybrid network means investments can be made gradually as and when needed, offering long-term benefits by bridging existing narrowband networks and future solutions.
The broadband network can be developed in different ways depending on which applications are needed and the level of investment that can be supported.
One way of evolving towards broadband services is to start with a Service Operator that uses the services of one or more Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for broadband coverage. Dedicated broadband capacity can be added as needed to improve coverage, or when applications become more mission-critical.
Learn more from white paper "Why Secure MVNO is your next smart move"
At the heart of public safety operations and critical business functions is the hardened broadband core network that provides the communications and ensures mission-critical levels of availability, priority, and security. In the hybrid world, the core includes both the traditional radio network and the LTE/4G/5G services, working in parallel.
Virtual solutions are an optimal basis for hybrid set-ups. The key building block is Taira from Airbus. It is the heart of your communications system and lets you use broadband as a parallel data service in a secure way.
Taira for broadband gives you the smooth, controlled and economical way to evolve your communication network from narrowband to broadband.
Download this white paper to learn how Taira protects your mission-critical broadband network from cyber threats.
The TB4 hybrid base station bridges the gap between existing narrowband networks and future broadband solutions.
As a rule, base stations running different technologies – 4G/5G and TETRA base stations for example – can share the same site space but nothing else. But TB4 is the two-in-one solution because it supports two technologies, for example TETRA and 4G/5G.
Imagine how enormously time consuming and expensive it would be to manage users, their access rights, talk groups and organizations for everyone individually - and separately for different networks.
Instead, you need Tactilon Management – it is uniquely capable of centralized management in your hybrid narrowband-broadband environment.
A Service Operator is a good choice for public safety and other professional organizations when adopting broadband. The Service operator can use commercial Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs') services or only their radio access and offer these broadband services to its customer organizations.
Or, the Service Operator can use a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler MVNE (such as Airbus) who takes responsibility for billing, network element provisioning, administration, and other broadband related tasks. The MVNE uses MNOs’ services for broadband access.
The time has come to start a smooth evolution to broadband in professional communications, to avoid a radical switch over night. Narrowband and broadband solutions will be used in parallel – the future is not an “or” but an “and”.
Professionals are increasingly using video, images and other data in their duties. This information needs to be integrated in their operational communications as well. The way to achieve this is through a strong push-to-x service like Agnet.
Relevant, timely and easily consumed data and information will complement the critical voice communications for the benefit of professional users.
The blog post “How a hybrid TETRA and broadband network helps you avoid risks” gives you a few more pointers on this topic.
How can we manage smart and hybrid devices as well as the apps that bring them to life? Learn the basics from blog post “Manage your smartphones, hybrid devices and apps – professionally”.
When you are wondering how TETRA fits with smartphones, check the blog post “How to use TETRA and smartphones in a hybrid way”.
There are five essential things to know about battery life before bringing smartphones or hybrid devices into professional use. Learn more from blog post “Battery life: What to look for in your duty smartphone?”
Why should your organization consider NFC, RFID or IoT related topics before introducing hybrid devices or advanced applications? Find the answer in blog post “15 things your boss expects you to know about RFID, NFC and IoT”
Watch this video to learn more about the possibilities of IoT and wearable solutions for professional users:
There has to be a tool for managing organizations, talk groups and access rights in the hybrid environment. In addition, there has to be a link between a radio network subscriber and the equivalent entity in the broadband network.
Think of the thousands of users on a typical network: it would be enormously time consuming and expensive to manage every user individually and separately for different networks. It would probably be impossible!
You need a hybrid subscriber management tool capable of handling users, their access rights, talk groups and organizations - and the tool needs to handle this in several networks is needed. Tactilon Management is such a tool, unique in the mark
Learn more from blog post "What makes a great user management tool for hybrid networks?"
Critical organizations need total security for their professional communications. In addition, it is vital to ensure security in other areas. There are seven strategies of communication security that need to be used so that operations do not become compromised. This blog post explains how to use 7 communication security strategies like the pros.
Today’s mission-critical communication systems deliver excellent voice services. In a hybrid environment, team members can talk on their radio or use a push-to-talk app on their smartphone. In the best case, teams can easily – yet in a controlled way – include both kinds of members: radio users and smart device users.
Data exchange is the special strength of broadband, and if data from the narrowband side can also be integrated smoothly, the solution is even richer. Data brings in a wealth of opportunity: for example, groups can include machines in addition to humans. This way, a piece of equipment could “ask” for maintenance directly.
When a demanding situation requires both eyes and both hands, people can still talk. This is what every professional organization is used to doing. They even use special words and phrases, which makes communication extremely effective. In the best future scenario, voice and data communications work together to deliver real-time situational awareness.
A variety of sensors can be set up to provide early warnings and trigger automatic actions. For example, one wearable sensor could recognize gun shots fired nearby, and another one could trigger an alert when the officer’s gun is drawn from the holster. These, in turn, could be triggers to activate the officer’s video camera and start sending the feed to the control centre.
Situational awareness needs to be built carefully to deliver a streamlined user experience. Data must not overwhelm people or take their concentration from the tasks at hand. Instead, data needs to be processed into formats which fill in and enrich the situational picture. The goal is to have all pieces of the puzzle: technology, voice, data and every app feature – enriched as necessary with AI, VR and AR – work seamlessly together.
Because public safety agencies everywhere face an unprecedented threat landscape that can change rapidly in a matter of days, new solutions are needed to provide those on the front line with much greater situational awareness. Such deep insight can only be created by gathering and understanding data.
What is needed to deliver end-to-end situational awareness? Download white paper “How to improve public safety response with data-led situational awareness” and you will know.
Hybrid solutions would not be worth their salt if they did not deliver two key features.
There has to be interoperability – a possibility for people to easily communicate and cooperate together regardless of their technology, and across organizational boundaries when needed. The services also need to be available in the same way everywhere: the solution needs to be seamless.
What should every professional know about the threats and risks related to smartphones and hybrid devices?
Smartphones expose professional organizations to threats - what to do? This document describes possible approaches to five types of threats.
Tactilon Dabat is a hybrid device – it can use a TETRA network and a broadband network.
Adopt Agnet and the Hybrid Roaming feature and you can communicate as long as there is either TETRA or LTE network service available. Tactilon Dabat will automatically move from using the TETRA network to using an LTE broadband network or vice versa.
In other words, users are not restricted to stay within TETRA coverage.
How could control rooms be better informed, and thus send more accurate help to the scene? How to benefit from AI, multimedia and video sharing in dispatching?
Learn how you can migrate your RCS dispatching solution into broadband communications. Thanks to Agnet, the control room can talk or exchange messages with people who carry a TETRA radio and also a smartphone. Learn more – watch this video!
Watch this video and you'll learn what is hybrid dispatching, and how you can benefit from AI, multimedia and video sharing in dispatching.
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