Alcatel-Lucent has carried out a key demonstration of its Voice-over-IMS and RCS presence technology to the Board of FirstNet (the First Responder Network Authority) in US, an important step in the adoption of industry standards-based Public Safety LTE in broadband voice and data communications for emergency services.
The demonstration, conducted at the Boulder, Colorado laboratories of the US Department of Commerce as part of the federal Public Safety Communications Research program, set out to showcase the application of Voice-over-IMS (Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem). This open standards-based solution can provide VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on the FirstNet network once Band 14 LTE devices with a VoLTE client become available to first responders.
Voice support on the FirstNet network will help reduce costs by providing first responders with the option to use a single device for both data and non-mission critical voice communications. It will also extend interoperability beyond data to voice communications, such as when emergency services personnel start ‘roaming’ on the nationwide FirstNet network during incidents such as disaster recovery operations. Today voice interoperability is a significant barrier to multi-agency collaboration since it is not feasible with current, separate agency-owned LMR (Land Mobile Radio) networks. Future Band 14 device support of additional voice features such as push-to-talk is required for mission-critical applications.
In addition, Alcatel-Lucent also demonstrated the interoperability of its technology within the RCS (Rich Communication Suite) initiative, the effort by the GSMA, the global mobile manufacturers association, to provide open, standards-based solutions from multiple vendors. RCS leverages the interoperability and ubiquity of voice and text-based SMS communications, and enriches it with Internet type features.
In its demonstration to the FirstNet board, Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated its presence capabilities, providing a foundation for how multiple agencies such as police and fire can deploy fully interoperable technologies. RCS provides a standards-based, presence-enabled, voice and messaging solution, allowing a first responder the freedom to roam across the entire FirstNet network without losing connectivity and therefore critical communications.
Wim Brouwer, North America Public Safety CTO of Alcatel-Lucent said: “This first demonstration of IMS and RCS for public safety provides a clear path to an interoperable Voice-over-LTE support on the FirstNet network as VoLTE clients become available on Band 14 devices. The enhanced voice interoperability and option to reduce cost by using one device for data and non mission-critical voice is important to help public safety agencies maximize their benefits of mobile broadband with FirstNet.”
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