For the majority of public safety networks on the planet, TETRA has been the premier choice and considering the technologies, it is easy to see why. It is for many, the most robust, resilient and flexible choice, offering higher capacity than its competitors and more recently, enhanced applications to allow emergency responders to do the best job they can in ensuring the public’s wellbeing and safety.
It has been the first choice for the last 15 years and this is set to grow with leading market research firm IHS predicting market growth in all regions of the globe for the coming years. The Germany National TETRA Network Project is the largest of its kind worldwide, and other countries are also looking to upgrade or develop their own TETRA networks. However it seems as though TETRA is not the final solution for mission critical communications. The consumer-led thirst for data and mobile broadband has become contagious, with emergency services personnel now asking why their children can do more on their smart phone than they can do on their professional handset or in their vehicle even with TETRA’s enhanced applications.
LTE has emerged as a long term possible replacement for TETRA in this age of mobile broadband and data. LTE offer unrivalled broadband capabilities for such applications as body warn video streaming, digital imaging, automatic vehicle location, computer-assisted dispatch, mobile and command centre apps, web access, enriched e-mail, mobile video surveillance apps such as facial recognition, enhanced Telemetry/remote diagnostics, GIS and many more. However, Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA pointed out recently that it will take many LTE releases to get us to the point where LTE can match TETRA on key features such as group working, pre-emptive services, network resilience, call set-up times and direct mode.
The result being, we are at a point where we have two technologies, one offering what end users want, and the other offering what end users need. This has altered the discussion, where now instead of looking at LTE as a replacement, we can look at LTE as a complimentary technology, used alongside TETRA to give end users the best of both worlds. Now the challenge appears to be how we can integrate TETRA and LTE to meet the needs and wants of our emergency services, and it seems that if we want to look for guidance and lessons on the possible harmony of TETRA and LTE we should look at the Middle East.
The 3rd annual Critical Communications Middle East will attack this theme head on in early October. The region saw the very first public safety LTE network deployed in Qatar, something that Ged Robinson, Senior Advisor of the Qatar Ministry of Interior will be discussing. We will also hear from the Dubai Police on their own LTE network for enhanced data and how it compliments their TETRA network for mission critical communications. Jarmo Vinkvist CEO of Suomen Virveverkko, national authority TETRA operator in Finland, will outline his 15 year road map for TETRA and LTE and key industry leaders such as Airbus, Motorola, Nokia, Sepura, Teltronic (a Sepura Company) and the regional network operator Nedaa will give their insight and opinions on the development of a hybrid network.
Critical Communications Middle East will go out to answer the industries burning questions and give us a clear understanding on what the future holds for critical communications. It promises to be a must attend event, I just hope you can make it.