Philip Mason and Sam Fenwick cover the key talking points from the BAPCO/Critical Communications Europe event, which addressed a range of topics around public safety and the migration to broadband
As might be expected, much of the emphasis in the BAPCO part of the Coventry 2019 conference programme was on the roll-out of burgeoning – and in some cases, even currently operational – national LTE networks for public safety. One crucial difference this year, however, was a noticeable shift in the tone of the discourse, particularly on the American side, away from ‘will it work?’ to ‘what benefits will the systems bring in the long term?’.
This included a fair chunk of material looking at, still fairly amorphous, concepts such as the ‘connected first-responder’, whose life, it’s anticipated, will become considerably easier thanks to the availability of markedly increased bandwidth, low latency, along with how the widespread leveraging of public safety LTE could hasten closer ties with manufacturers.
Rather than the traditional Emergency Services Network (ESN) update – although we did get one of those, at the start of day two – this year’s programme kicked off with a keynote address from the acting CEO of FirstNet, Ed Parkinson. He began by giving an overview of the adoption of FirstNet across the US, with the network having been up and running for around nine months – albeit minus the Holy Grail of mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) functionality. This includes more than 425,000 public safety users working for more than 5,250 agencies, who signed up compelled by nothing more than the “leveraging of market forces”.
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