North Wales Police opt for Frequentis' 3020 LifeX integration platform
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

​Frequentis will supply its web-browser based 3020 LifeX integration platform for Public Safety control room ICT solutions to North Wales Police, according to John Gurney, Frequentis UK’s managing director, who told journalists the news at a company press conference yesterday (23 June) at the Residence of the Austrian Ambassador in London.

“North Wales Police have signed up for our new platform, 3020 LifeX… It enables the users now to start getting away from siloed purchasing of components and work in a holistic environment. A bit like the development of the mobile phone, you’ve gone from just being able to make a telephone call to being able to interface with diaries, working with maps [etc]. The underlying thing is criticality…. The ethos is all about quality assurance.”

Image top right: a LifeX demonstration

3020 LifeX is IP-based and can be run on the cloud and on smart devices. It has also been designed with Next Generation 999 in mind, so that should a member of the public contact the control room via other means of communication than a phone call (text, video call, etc), the dispatcher will be able to handle this in the same way as voice calls. Frequentis has kept the user interface the same so that users will not require any additional training to operate it once the switchover to ESN has occurred.

According to Frequentis’ website, 3020 LifeX offers a configurable user interface where user interface functions are grouped into modules that can be activated, deactivated, and arranged on the graphical user interface according to the customer’s needs. Additionally, context-sensitive layouts provide the dispatchers with all functions needed, without generating an overload of information. It was used at the 2015 G7 summit in Bavaria where it supported up to 280 working positions for operators throughout the conference.

Further information on this annoucement is expected to be made available next week.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) signed a contract with Frequentis back in December 2015 to ensure that its control rooms will be able to handle ESN calls from the start of the national transition to the ESN network.

While discussing the previous work Frequentis has performed for the Metropolitan Police Gurney said that Frequentis’ decision to design the Automatic Personnel Location System (APLS) to be bearer independent will come into its own with the move to ESN.

He discussed the possibility of a system in which when a police officer pushes an emergency button on a device in the field nearby CCTV cameras would automatically pan and tilt to provide control room staff to quickly follow that officer, noting that the location of both the cameras and officers are already known (due to APLS in the case of the officers).

Reinhard Van Loo, a solution consultant at Frequentis explained that “we are already connected to the [ESN] system, we already have our first proof of concepts working, we are heavily involved with in discussions with the Home Office and Motorola Solutions in clarifying all the details… It’s a challenge but it’s going according to plan. From a control room perspective, “Our customers, especially the Metropolitan Police, will be ready when ESN will be ready…”

He added that Frequentis decided to not make changes to the user interface so no additional training is required by dispatchers to use ESN. “We are in very close cooperation with the customer to make it as smooth as possible. At the moment we are focusing on like-for-like functionality [from TETRA to ESN].”

Van Loo also said that the big benefit of LTE for the user is about bringing organisations’ internal networks and the data they have out into the field on tablets and “bringing out all the functionality that was previously locked into the control room” and this is leading to conversations with customers in Europe about having “virtual control rooms”.

“We often see operators acting as system integrators, when the system should be doing the integration, not the operator.” He added that some customers have to go through nine different windows/systems to receive a call, assess the level of risk and then assign resources accordingly, but all of this is integrated with LifeX.

“This is a revolution for quite a few of our customers. In the past they had separate systems for radio communication,telephony, mapping and CCTV but it’s all integrated here. That’s where we see the market going… We call it [LifeX] an integration platform rather than a communication system. We bring all those things together, not just developed by us, but also with partners. Very important for the user, the dispatcher, we bring it all together.”

Van Loo believes that in a few years’ time, once the designers of the most popular smartphone operating systems such as iOS and Android introduce Next Generation 999 features that allow give their users options in how they communicate the emergency services, demand from control room operators for systems that allow different media to handled in the same way as voice calls will increase dramatically.

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