Developing a robust mission critical ecosystem is no easy task

mission critical
Image credit: Nokia

To Danial Mausoof, Head of Strategic Marketing, Nokia Asia Pacific and Japan, mission critical communications (MCC) are an integral part of smart city platforms. Emergency services – whether they be fire fighters or terrorist response units – need fast, robust and reliable connectivity in order to do their jobs, and save lives.

One problem is that there are different interests at stake, and the question for Mausoof is, “how the communications industry can come together to make mission critical services work, and work in extreme environments?”

While the 3GPP mobile broadband standard (Release 13) is now ready, “there is plenty more to do,” according to Mausoof. “For instance, do the Public Protection and Disaster Relief bands, as defined by 3GPP, cover public safety needs? And, of course, with LTE coverage at 75% in the Asia-Pacific region – as opposed to 95% in Europe – it is not as simple as it seems, and that is where Nokia comes in. With our portfolio now as extensive as it is, we are well placed to help the players build robust, fast mission critical networks, that are also affordable in emerging markets.”

“The other thing to remember,” says Mausoof, “is that each mega-city in the region will have different requirements. Bangkok, Singapore and Manila are all very different.”

One significant challenge is how each country, or city, chooses the best model for itself, and there are several to choose from. “Some countries will develop their own core, as the UK Government decided to do, while others might delegate the choice to individual states bodies. There are also hybrid models, where there could be clear value of converging assets as necessary to address the requirements as needed.”

The five types of deployment scenarios that Mausoof identifies in public safety are hosted public safety; public safety over mobile broadband (MBB); an MVNO public safety model; RAN sharing for public safety and private LTE for public safety. The hybrid models, which are new to mission critical communications are MBB, MVNO and RAN sharing, whereas private LTE has its own dedicated spectrum and the hosted solution does not.

A major problem in many emergency situations is that there may be a need to establish coverage or emergency response in remote areas. To fill this need, Nokia has developed several solutions. “We have designed highly portable LTE solutions, hardened for outdoor usage and extreme conditions. With the Nokia Ultra Compact Network, it is possible to quickly re-establish reliable connectivity with a standalone LTE network within minutes and in a way that it can be used as extended coverage with an existing LTE network.”

While there has been great progress, Mausoof believes there is an urgency to the next steps, particularly in standardization. He is keen to “rope in broader mission critical aspects to ensure that the energy and transport, both rail and marine, start benefitting from the roll out of LTE networks.”

One driver, of course, is commercial viability, and a focus for Mausoof is “to enhance productivity factors, as well as providing fast time to market for new – real-time – applications to benefit the end user. Provide that, and you can ultimately drive new revenue models for service providers and private LTE network providers.”

Pulling all these strands together is critical as per Mausoof, as in September 2016, Nokia formed a Mission Critical Communications Alliance that promises to harness the communications community to deliver a mission critical ecosystem that encourages the development of applications and greater, faster and more reliable connectivity. “Do this,” says Mausoof, “and we will create solutions that will save lives, benefit end users and be a profitable business for service providers.

“That,” he says, “would be a great solution.”

This article was written in partnership with Nokia

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