Jointly charting the future demands for emergency communication
The workshop was held in June as a part of Norway’s contribution to the BroadMap project – a part of the EU research program Horizon2020. 15 European countries participate in the research project which ends in May next year. The Directorate for Emergency communication represents Norway.
The primary purpose of the workshop was to identify and validate PPDR-organisations needs and requirements for next generation mobile broadband in Norway. Representatives from the police, health services, fire and the Armed Forces attended the workshop, along with representatives from the Ministry of Justice, The Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM) and Norwegian Communications Authority (NKOM).
Joint solutions in Europe
− This is an important and positive project to help identify what future solutions for emergency communication should consist of. The user groups are relatively small, so it's nice that this central theme is discussed simultaneously across Europe. All parties are involved and included, and share their ideas and thoughts. If we manage to gather the requirements and needs for future emergency communication across Europe, it becomes easier for each country to make the right decisions. A solution based on the same building blocks will give the European countries safer and less expensive solutions, says Tor Helge Lyngstøl, Director of the Directorate for Emergency Communication (DNK).
In Lyngstøl’s opinion secure voice communication will remain the most important functionality for PPDR in critical situations in the future, but that access to mobile broadband will become mission critical in order to achieve a satisfying flow of information, both daily and during incidents.
− It would be very unfortunate and expensive if each country and each organisation began to develop their own customized technology. Cooperative gains have been a major focus in the Nødnett-project. The solutions for the next generation communications systems must take into account that further strengthened cooperation, nationally and internationally, is needed to deal with the risks we are moving into, stresses Lyngstøl.
Defining needs and requirements for the different services
Geir Myhre, senior engineer at the Norwegian Police ICT Services, was one of the participants in the BroadMap project. He is also a representative of the Public Safety Communication Europe, who leads the BroadMap-project.
− From a police perspective we see that broadband for PPDR is something we will need in the near future, so it is important to get started defining needs and requirements for the different services. Several of the participants at the workshop are very engaged in this - that means a lot of people see the importance of this work and the development the next years, says Myhre.
Requirements and end-user needs are changing
The new generation entering the police will involve changes in the way they communicate in critical situations.
− We see that the requirements and end-user needs are changing at the same time as the "Google generation" joins the ranks. Voice will still be the highest priority, but other functionality will also be important for the emergency agencies to provide good services for the public. The police have some special requirements that we want to become a part of the future standard. The new services must be covered securely, and accessibility and security must be dealt with from scratch, says Myhre.