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2 Jun 2014

“By successfully demonstrating Alcatel-Lucent’s Public Safety LTE solution with standards based priority and pre-emption functionality, we are taking another tremendous step toward providing essential capabilities required by public safety organizations, along with interoperability with other LTE systems. Alcatel-Lucent has long been addressing the communications needs of first responders, and this testing with NIST of priority and pre-emption functionality will be a critical part of preparing for the FirstNet network.” said Wim Brouwer, CTO of Alcatel-Lucent’s FirstNet team.

The work was done in conjunction with the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, a joint effort of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that coordinates interoperability testing and standards development for the nationwide public safety LTE network being created for the US by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). This demonstration of priority and pre-emption capabilities is a critical part of developing LTE for public safety as it enables smooth, prioritized ultra-broadband connections for first responders at the scene of an emergency.

The technology enables public safety authorities to prioritize access and bandwidth usage based on the role of a first responder as more first responders arrive at the scene. For example, in a fire requiring a response from multiple crews, the incident commander could be assigned a higher priority to ensure unbroken real-time video delivery as more first responders arrive at the scene.  If required, sessions of lower priority users can be pre-empted to assure higher priority users can send or receive the information they need.

Priority access and the ability to leverage access priorities during incidents is specifically identified by FirstNet as a key guiding principle in establishing a nationwide interoperable public safety network.  A standards-based priority capability is present but not operational in U.S. commercial LTE networks. This demonstration achieves an important milestone by confirming the availability of a feature critical to FirstNet’s ability to deploy a national broadband network with the USD $7 billion of funding provided in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

The successful demonstration of these capabilities also hightlights the fact that the need for first responders to have the appropriate levels of bandwidth whenever and wherever it is required can be supported through Public Private Partnerships that enable spectrum sharing, if priority and pre-emption capabilities can be effectively implemented.

22 May 2014

A must do event for Alcatel-Lucent to share its visions and latest innovations, Critical Communications World (CCW) in Singapore this year reaffirms Mobile Broadband LTE as the right technology for mission-critical applications, like HD video, available at first responders’ fingertips.

2013 was the year of LTE trials in many regions, but there is no doubt that now is the time for real LTE deployments following the spectrum allocation.

The first telecom vendor participating at CCW, this year Alcatel-Lucent demonstrates its four domains of strong expertise in:

  • End-to-end LTE solution including interoperability of TETRA and LTE in multiple frequency bands from 400, 700 to 2,6 GHz  with live public safety applications such as automatic license plate recognition, vehicle geolocalization etc.
  • Backhaul transformation to IP/MPLS, which supports any radio access technologies and maximizes TETRA performance
  • Cyber security, to protect critical data and maintain network availability with demonstration of L1 optical encryption and intrusion detection, Distributed Denial of Service
  • Service Operation Manager solution to optimize network performance thanks to a unified and simplified management of multiple technologies, applications and devices

As a longstanding and trusted partner of public safety agencies, energy companies and transportation operators, with a significant market footprint in APAC, we couldn’t miss one of the most important ‘rendez-vous’ for next generation mission critical communications solutions.  This CCW edition is undeniably a great moment for us to engage with the industry while showcasing our IP networking and Ultra-broadband solutions realizing the full value of networks for mission and business critical applications.

22 May 2014

Safe City Test Bed Project

A highly mobile broadband LTE solution developed by Airbus Defence and Space and Alcatel-Lucent performed far beyond expectations during experiments as part of the Safe City Test Bed Project in Singapore. The general aim of the test bed project was to evaluate state-of-the-art technology that can increase situational awareness of several involved agencies by using flexible access to real-time information in the city. The solution consists of the newly developed Airbus Defence and Space LTE products Multi-Standard Base Station (eNB 400) and High Power (HiPo) Modem, as well as the Alcatel-Lucent LTE Micro Core. They were tested and approved in a real situation. Multi-Standard Base Station and High Power (HiPo) Modem are to be launched at CCW 2014 in Singapore. > Read more

New Multi-Standard Base Station for broadband in the 400 MHz frequency range

New important component for the Evercor Integrated LTE 400 PMR offering, the mission-critical broadband solution that complements existing Tetra and Tetrapol radio systems. 

Airbus Defence and Space introduced a new Multi-Standard Base Station (MBS) platform, combining the PMR technology of Airbus Defence and Space with the LTE technology of Alcatel-Lucent. This important network element allows PMR networks to add broadband services to their existing Tetra or Tetrapol systems with no impact on the quality of the voice services. > Read more

High-power modem in the 400 MHz spectrum presented at CCW in Singapore

New broadband component from Airbus Defence and Space perfectly suits military and public safety organisations’ needs. Airbus Defence and Space has launched the HPM400, its new high-power modem that operates in the 400 MHz spectrum, at the Critical Communications World (CCW) fair in Singapore. The device is a new element in the company’s LTE product portfolio, called Evercor. The onboard terminal provides increased in-vehicle data capability together with existing mission-critical services based on both Tetra and Tetrapol standards. > Read more


30 Apr 2014

An airport is a city within a city with millions of transit passengers and where tens of thousands of people work. It also houses hundreds of companies: airlines, assistance or service companies, shops, security companies, government and civil security agencies, air traffic managers etc.

These passengers and companies all need an ultra-broadband mobile communications network. Companies also need their network to be reliable and secure, able to withstand airport critical applications such as real-time video protection, operational multimedia communications and plane-to-ground data transfers.

4G – LTE (4th Generation – Long Term Evolution) technology meets all these requirements. This is a standard “off the shelf” technology which is able to build a high performance mobile network even in challenging environments, such as airports that are unfavorable for radio wave propagation.

The advantages of 4G LTE include:

  • LTE uses new radio modulation and transmission technology to achieve output up to 150 Mbit/s (download). This allows new bandwidth-intensive video services to be deployed, even in a disturbed radio environment.
  • The LTE uses IP (Internet protocol) technology. This protocol can transport all types of applications and services. Operators and businesses can therefore completely streamline their aging communication networks (TETRA, PMR (Professional Mobile Radio), Radio Analog, 2G, 3G…) into a single converged (LTE) network to reduce costs.
  • LTE has lower latency time (e.g. 10 ms) making it compatible with applications requiring fast response times (e.g. “Push-To-Talk – PTT”).
  • Quality of Service (QoS) is managed in a very fine manner, which allows it to coexist in a single network of critical and non-critical applications with different constraints.
  • LTE can be deployed in different frequency bands under license and channel width. This allows it to regulate its usage (unlike WiFi) and to adapt to available frequencies.
  • Finally, the LTE technology is totally secure and resilient, two fundamental features for professional use. LTE includes many standardized authentication encryption functions, making it secure by default. Furthermore, a LTE network has many automatic reconfiguration mechanisms in case of network failure.

LTE is a future proof technology already adopted by mobile operators in the world. It is the basis of the evolution towards Advanced LTE and is the foundation of future 5G (5th Generation) technology. The center of Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE research and development is Villarceaux in Essonne in France.

> For more information on LTE technology

> Read about 4G-LTE experimentation in Paris for the CDG airport and its aircrafts

29 Apr 2014

Hub One, operator and integrator specializing in business solutions, is experimenting with 4G-LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology on the airport platform of Charles De Gaulle (CDG), in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent.

This experiment tests LTE mobile broadband network technology in a real environment for critical and airport applications such as collision avoidance system, data exchange between the aircraft and the ground, video surveillance in baggage handling areas, operational communications with emergency vehicles, multimedia communications between field staff and control centers…etc.

For this experiment, a last generation Alcatel-Lucent LTE network was installed, consisting of a core LTE network called ePC (Evolved Packet Core) and three base stations called eNode B (Evolved Node B) with 3 antennas called RRH (Remote Radio Head).

Using a frequency of 700 MHz, these base stations cover the outside plane area of the airport, the baggage sorting area and the passenger area.

For communications with aircrafts or emergency vehicles on the tarmac, LTE mobile router equipment has also been installed on board.

The tests demonstrate the transfer of HD video streams from a vehicle on the tracks through a mobile camera or smartphone. The solution also enables remote monitoring of the highly secure baggage handling areas and the transfer of large data files to prepare the aircraft before takeoff. These tests are also used to verify the intrinsic performance of Alcatel-Lucent LTE technology in terms of bandwidth and quality management services and their ability to transport several critical and multimedia applications on a single mobile network, in a challenging airport environment for radio waves propagation.

Finally, PMR (Professional Mobile Radio communications) operational and emergency communications on LTE are also being tested, as a substitute for conventional TETRA radio networks used today by public safety or maintenance personnel – a first in Europe.

The Alcatel-Lucent center of expertise that pre-qualified this LTE solution for Hub One is situated in the City of Innovation in Villarceaux in l’Essonne – 91.

> Find more information on LTE technology

10 Apr 2014

Curious about the latest developments in mission critical communications for public safety? This year’s International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) was one of the best places to see and learn about the latest communications technologies.

LTE is being adopted as the next generation wireless technology for First Responder communications globally.  Initially, LTE networks were intended to augment the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks used by First Responders today which were primarily used for mission-critical push-to-talk services. 

The LTE ecosystem has become extremely efficient at developing new technology in response to market demands.  Public Safety LTE networks that are being planned for the United States (FirstNet), the UK, Canada and other parts of the world are market signals with the power to shape both the development of LTE technology and the future of public safety communications.  As a result, new LTE functionality is being developed specifically for public safety.  With this new functionality, it will soon be possible to carry mission-critical public safety voice services over LTE networks. 

During a ‘Lunch and Learn’ session held at IWCE on March 28, 2014, a number of vendors and representatives of First Responder agencies were asked to share their views on how fast mission-critical voice over LTE will be available.  Some of these views – including the views of Alcatel-Lucent – were published in a recent ‘Urgent Communications’ article ‘Mission-critical VoLTE gear could be available in 2018’.

Supporting mission-critical voice services over LTE has a number of advantages over the traditional Land Mobile Radio (LMR) technologies used today – including lower costs, higher capacity, higher voice quality, and open standards supported by a broad ecosystem of device, software and network infrastructure vendors.

The development of LTE features unique to public safety in LTE Release 12 and Release 13 – including those features needed for mission-critical voice services comparable to TETRA and Project 25 – are clear examples of the LTE ecosystem’s response to these new, broadband public safety networks.  These features include device to device communications (Proximity Services), the ability to support realtime communications with large numbers of first responders in a cell simultaneously (Group Communications Service Enablers for LTE) and IP-based mission-critical push-to-talk applications (Mission Critical Push to Talk over LTE). 

How quickly will the shift from traditional Land Mobile Radio technologies such as Project 25 and TETRA to mission-critical voice over LTE happen?  The LTE technology is being prepared.  This is but one factor, however.  The key to rapid development of the technology is a clear signal from the public safety market of their demand to deploy mission-critical voice over LTE.  The UK Home Office has already signaled their plan to replace the UK’s TETRA network with an LTE network.  Will the US’s FirstNet and other networks be far behind?

Kenneth C. Budka,

Chief Technology Officer, Alcatel-Lucent

23 Jan 2014

The French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian, visiting the Alcatel-Lucent booth

“Ahead of cyber attacks that double in number every year, it is necessary to recruit experts, capable of protecting, detecting, responding and repairing” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister for Defence at the International Forum on Cyber Security (FIC 2014) in Lille, France. He has announced a €1 billion program over the coming years to protect France against the emerging threat of cyber attacks and has called for an international response to cybercrime. “Cyber threats affect each and every one of us, and it’s only collectively that we can face this threat.”

Taking up the challenge of combating cyber criminality, Alcatel-Lucent has been committed to respond with innovations for a long time now, constantly investing into highly secure solutions and a specialized CyberSecurity competency center. The FIC event was their opportunity to present some in-depth know-how through demonstrations which attracted the attention of attendees:

-       Highly secure high-speed network based on copper and optical fiber

To detect intrusions and protect copper and optical fibers, Alcatel-Lucent integrates advanced security features into its DWDM optical equipment 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS). Integrity and confidentiality of data is ensured by encryption of high speed lines (10G) based on one of the most advanced standards of the market (AES 256) that does not compromise performance (latency of a few micro-seconds) or complicate the management of the network (activated by a simple click of the mouse). This type of solution is ideal to secure transmission of real-time high-speed data and is therefore optimal to secure “data centers”, “cloud” infrastructures and all critical communication infrastructures of power utilities, railways operators, defense, government and public safety agencies.

-       Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

This demonstration consisted of a simulated cyber attack of a corporate network, detected and counteracted in real-time. To do this, Alcatel-Lucent showcased its SIEM software that collects, aggregates, correlates and logs information coming from various network equipments (routers, switches, servers, firewalls etc.) This solution is associated with a range of services: experts to follow-up security threats, ensuring an advisory role in proactive and reactive cyber defense prevention; the design of security solutions that meet the specific needs of each client; and finally a Security Operation Center (SOC) based in France to offer these services 24/7 with different SLA and over 20 years of experience.

-       Bring Your Own Device securely (BYOD)

In all companies, employees increasingly want to use their personal devices in the office (smartphones, tablets etc.) to access the company’s resources and applications. This obviously creates serious security threats in the corporate network. Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated a solution for controlling access through verifying the integrity of these personal devices and managing access to resources.

This solution brings the corporate world a new level of flexibility and agility for all employees, all the while preserving security in their data and systems.

At FIC, these demonstrations positioned Alcatel-Lucent at the forefront of innovations and confirmed their commitment to addressing cyber-security challenges.

21 Jan 2014

What happens the day after a cyber attack on your telecommunications network or information system?

Unfortunately, this is an essential question that all information systems and network managers are increasingly asking themselves, since cyber attacks are have become a sophisticated and daily occurrence.

But one thing is for sure. One day or another, we will all experience such an attack. The most recent examples of “Flame” and “Stuxnet” serve as reminders.

This permanent threat obliges us to rethink our prevention, surveillance, and response strategies. Today, we must have a systemic approach to telecommunications infrastructure and information systems protection as well as to put in place solutions and services which allow us to anticipate, alert, and control, in real-time, current and future threats.

FIC 2014 gives us the opportunity to share our respective experiences, to discover new solutions and to find new responses to cyber security threats.

At this event opening on the 21st of January 2014, Alcatel-Lucent will disclose new Cybersecurity solutions and products through live and interactive demonstrations. Come to meet us at our booth A6!

13 Dec 2013

When Superstorm Sandy raked the U.S. in October 2012, it not only impacted 24 coastal states from Florida to Maine, but also reached  hundreds of miles inland across the Appalachian Mountains to places such as Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. In total it caused massive destruction and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, with financial losses estimated at US$65 billion. When Hurricane Katrina blew through New Orleans on August 23, 2005, it caused catastrophic flooding, over 1,800 deaths and over US$81 billion in damage.  Hurricane-strength winds and rain battered northern Europe this past October, killing more than a dozen people while cutting power and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and train journeys. Of course there’s more: freak summer floods in Western Canada, tornadoes in Arkansas, and tsunamis in Asia – these events occur everywhere in the world on a regular basis.

All of these natural disasters have required an immediate and massive response of emergency personnel and government agencies on multiple levels. Central to making it all work was information communications technology (ICT), without which any kind of effective response to save lives, property and the economy would literally be impossible. Flexible, intelligent communications is the glue that holds emergency preparedness and response together – as a emergency response professional, it is truly the one thing that you can’t be without when facing a natural disaster.

The new issue of our e-zine LifeTalk looks at this most essential tool from four different expert perspectives.  As is the Emergency Management Director of Harris County, Texas (population 4.2 million) Mark Sloan lends his views on ICT budgeting and preparedness for a region that encompasses greater Houston and its strategically critical petrochemical industry, which also repeatedly faces tropical storms and hurricanes. Marya L. Doerfel, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Communications at Rutgers University, discusses how social media and a general explosion in communications among all stakeholders will change the way disaster response professionals and the citizens they serve respond to natural disasters going forward. Heather Reed-Fenske, Calgary, Alberta’s Manager of Innovation and Collaboration and David Basto, Project Sponsor for Calgary City Net (CCN), provide a fascinating account of how their city’s IT team  quickly responded to catastrophic flooding in June 2013. Steven Jennings, Executive Director, Strategic Industries, Alcatel-Lucent, and former CIO of Harris County Texas, lends his authoritative knowledge of ICT technology, coordination and governmental compliance, adding valuable context to all of our expert perspectives.

Clearly, highly capable resilient ICT is something we can’t do without, making this issue of LifeTalk important and lively reading. As always, we’d love to get your input as well, so please send us your comments!

4 Dec 2013

During the last few months, Cassidian, together with Alcatel-Lucent, successfully conducted extensive Long Term Evolution trials in 4G LTE pilot networks in France, Spain, the Middle East and Mexico.

The partnership of Cassidian and Alcatel-Lucent aims to provide field radio communications systems with mobile broadband data capabilities, whereby Cassidian is using its know-how in the design of PMR solutions and products in the 400 MHz range and control room applications, and Alcatel-Lucent is leveraging its expertise in LTE. All tests clearly showed the benefits of using LTE to improve public services while using existing infrastructure. Read More…

25 Nov 2013

The Las Vegas Metro Police Department, along with the Nevada Department of Transportation and other first responders, and Alcatel-Lucent conducted a six-month trial of a 4G LTE public safety network in a designated section of the city of Las Vegas in the United States, using 700 MHz spectrum.

Michael Barnbeck, Director, Radio Systems Bureau, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said:  “This trial demonstrated how an IP-based 4G LTE network can leverage resources and use officers more efficiently through the use of an interoperable, high-speed mobile broadband network.  Three separate critical first responder agencies have the ability to access their own data and provide real-time sharing between dispatch and first responders at an incident. The trial also highlighted how information sharing in a secure, controlled manner between multiple first responder agencies to more effectively respond to a specific incident is enabled with this LTE network and can involve additional support from private sector entities on an ad hoc basis, such as accessing private video cameras in real time to monitor an incident.”

Read More…

11 Sep 2013

Watch the Live demo!

Prioritization and pre-emption are critical features for public safety operations on LMR/PMR networks.  Because of the nature of incidents and responses by emergency services personnel, such features enable priorities to be set so that critical voice communications by designated personnel, be they incident commanders, dispatchers, chiefs or supervisors, will always get through. The latest series of public safety requirements for broadband applications have reflected the desire by public safety practitioners to extend this concept to video and data sessions. The delivery of these prioritization capabilities are not expected in commercial networks but in FirstNet, the future US national public safety network, not only to meet ‘public safety grade’ operational needs but also to mitigate congestion when in the presence of secondary users.

To address first-responder concerns and/or skepticism about prioritization and pre-emption using a commercial broadband standard (i.e. not defined within a traditional user-based standards body such as TIA-TR8), Alcatel-Lucent set up a live Band 14 LTE network at the August APCO conference in California. A demonstration which emulated a series of concurrent video sessions together with congestion, demonstrated the use of those critical features. The audience was able to visualize on a series of video screens how under a congestion scenario, low priority traffic gets degraded as higher-priority traffic is brought online.

Watch the live demonstration!

The Band 14 LTE demonstration network included a compact Evolved Packet Core (EPC), packet microwave and IP/MPLS backhaul, and a Band 14 eNodeB all from Alcatel-Lucent. The demonstration relied on four Band 14 devices from three vendors.  The compact EPC, which combines this functionality into a single shelf, was designed specifically for public safety applications to provide high availability in smaller deployments where redundant backhaul to a remote core is not feasible, and as part of a portable system for rapid deployment.

14 Jun 2013

YouTube Preview ImageDid you miss the 2013 CCW (Critical Communications World, formerly TETRA World Congress) and its major announcements in Paris last month?

Don’t worry, watch this 6-minute video, where Thierry Sens, Director Marketing of Alcatel-Lucent’s Strategic Industries, will guide you through the new, innovative solutions showcased on the Alcatel-Lucent booth.

Catch up with disclosed equipment for cyber security, network management, mission-critical communication networks (9500 Microwave Packet Radio , 7705 Service Aggregation Router-H…) as well as on LTE with two major highlights:

-       the new LTE Micro-core perfectly adapted for mid-sized or on-wheels LTE networks

-       and the LTE 400 MHz in partnership with Cassidian.

Find out the live demos explaining how to stop cyber criminals on DWDM optical networks, how to cost-effectively manage operations in a heterogeneous network environment, how to benefit from LTE with applications such as push-to-talk, biometric sensors, and allocate the right quality of service depending on each application.

> Watch the video:  Alcatel-Lucent at CCW 2013 – Demo Tour

11 Jun 2013

YouTube Preview ImageThanks to mobile broadband with next generation Public Safety LTE networks such as FirstNet, First Responders will be able to access a multitude of new applications designed specifically for assisting them in mission-critical operations. Alcatel-Lucent combined forces with a dozen ng Connect Program partners to showcase several of these new applications at the recent IWCE 2013 event. The live demonstrations highlighted how mobile broadband solutions enable applications for real-time multimedia collaboration by law enforcement and medical First Responders.

In this video, Fred Scalera, Director of Public Safety from Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the plethora of new applications First Responders will be able to access thanks to LTE and FirstNet.

As Fred Scalera explains, when it comes to LTE and FirstNet, “it’s the power of the network”, and this network is able to support a broad range of new capabilities for First Responders. In law enforcement for example, a LTE network will enable applications for collaborative information sharing along with new capabilities in the field such as facial recognition for enhanced safety. A network connected Multimedia Command Table will allow this information to be easily relayed to responding personnel, as well as other information such as a drawing from the command center of how to safely approach an incident.

For medical responders, mobile broadband with LTE also offers benefits. A LTE network enables live medical monitoring of mass casualties in the field by medical personnel in a hospital. Previously, patients were prioritized by severity, with the most critical victims taking priority in terms of medical monitoring by the limited number of emergency medical personnel on site. The LTE network however, enables remote and local monitoring of not only the most critical patients, but other triage patients too.

David Christophe, Director of Solutions Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent explains in this video how Alcatel-Lucent has “added two significant new capabilities” to its mobile backhaul solution which features IP/MPLS and packet microwave radio. Notably, this includes enhancing the inherent security capabilities in IP/MPLS protocols and routers with new security capabilities that include a firewall to stop unwanted traffic from entering the network and network address translation for privacy.

The Alcatel-Lucent solution also provides Public Safety Agencies the capability to effectively extend the benefits of IP/MPLS further out in backhaul with a new environmentally hardened pole mountable router.  This helps ensure performance for this mission-critical traffic while simplifying operations through a constant set of features and capabilities throughout the network.

These capabilities are particularly important as Agencies extend their backhaul footprint when they eliminate mobile radio coverage gaps and build capacity in preparation for mobile broadband with LTE.

Watch the video with LTE applications in action at IWCE

28 May 2013

Bombs at the Boston Marathon were followed by speedy and massive coordination of law enforcement on all levels to quickly identify, track and neutralize the suspected terrorists who had set them off. This incident provided dramatic reminder of the critical nature of interoperable public safety communications, and the unprecedented power of dynamic rich media such as video.

The takeaway: interoperable broadband communications are essential to our safety, and will become ever more so as we move through the years ahead. Public safety leaders have understood this for a long time, which is why the United States Congress and President in 2012 created FirstNet, an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) charged with creating a national, interoperable public safety wireless broadband network.

There’s little doubt that FirstNet will revolutionize public safety in the U.S., enhancing the effectiveness of first responders by several magnitudes. Active planning for the network has already begun, but moving forward from here – building it out – obviously will be a huge undertaking. It will require financing far in excess of the startup funds appropriated thus far, necessitating creative new business models and partnerships. It also will usher in a new paradigm for how first responders use the technology – largely dispensing with proprietary, highly-customized communications silos in favor of a shared model.

The promise of FirstNet is both powerful and inevitable. The challenges are great. So, what are the answers; the best paths forward from here?

The new issue of our e-zine LifeTalk addresses these issues with perspectives from four national leaders in the FirstNet initiative:

- Chief Harlin McEwen, Chairman of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, takes the social view, discussing how FirstNet is poised to dramatically change the way that first responders and the citizens they serve will think about public safety.

- Brett Kilbourne, Deputy General Counsel at the Utilities Telecom Council, provides his informed perspective on FirstNet’s economics and how public utilities can be the key to successful financing its build-out and operation.

- Charles Robinson, Director of Shared Services for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina and Chair of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Board for First Responder Interoperability for FirstNet, talks about his city’s broadband initiative, provides his views on the optimal FirstNet partnerships and offers advice on how other regions can best prepare now for the new network.

- Dr. Kenneth Budka, CTO, Strategic Industries, Alcatel-Lucent and Vice-Chair of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Board for First Responder Interoperability for FirstNet, discusses some of the game-changing applications we can expect, how FirstNet’s technology platform will impact concepts of control and customization, and recommends next steps in preparing for the new reality.

The essential revolution in public safety communications is happening now, making this issue of LifeTalk important reading. We’d love to get your input as well, so please send us your comments!

By Michael Roney, Editor, LifeTalk

13 Mar 2013

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.”

Access the Press Release

4 Mar 2013

Watch the Broadband US TV webcast – a special program on FirstNet ‘one year later’ – hosted by Jim Baller and Marty Stern, with the following guests:

Laura Pettus,
Program Manager, NTIA Public Safety Interoperable Communications Grant Program

Dr. Andrew Afflerbach,
CEO/Director of Engineering – CTC Technology & Energy

Jeff Cohen,
Chief Counsel, Law and Policy, APCO International

Martha Duggan,
Senior Principal, Regulatory Affairs, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Link Hoewing,
VP, Internet and Technology Policy, Verizon (inv).

Michael Hardiman
Director, Mission Critical Broadband Solutions

Michael Hardiman, Alcatel-Lucent

It’s been a year since Congress created FirstNet, a federal authority within NTIA tasked with building a $7 billion nationwide wireless public safety broadband network. The 15-member FirstNet governing board has been appointed, and work is just underway to plan, design, develop, and ultimately construct the FirstNet network, with the hugely complex task of leveraging resources and facilities from state and local governments, wireless carriers, utilities, and others.  NTIA has just announced a $121.5 million grant program, available to states and territories, working with local and tribal governments, to staff and implement state and local FirstNet planning and coordination activities, with applications due March 19.   And while conceptual plans for network deployment and application development have been unveiled, according to board members, most of the key issues – deployment strategy, potential network partners, procurement approach, etc. – have yet to be determined.

28 Feb 2013

LifeTalk #4: Operations support systems (OSS) – Network performance up; cost downLTE mobile broadband; video surveillance cameras and analytics for enhanced situational awareness; automated response systems; legacy TETRA networks; collaboration with multiple agencies and users; increased security and response expectations; tightened budgets.  It all has to be reconciled, balanced, coordinated and carefully monitored with maximum, always-on visibility and control on any number of devices regardless of whether you’re in the control room or in the field. Furthermore, you need to do all of this day after day, and often under the pressure of unexpected, critical events where lives are in the balance.

To call this challenging is an understatement, yet these are the realities – imperatives, really – faced by public safety agencies today. These dynamic factors, combined with ever more complex infrastructures based on multiple technologies, multi-vendor equipment and constantly evolving applications, every day are raising the bar for communications requirements and success.

Fortunately, there is a proven way to manage all of this at the utmost level of reliability expected by our governments and citizens alike. Advanced umbrella management solutions, called Operations Support Systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS), provide public safety operators with end-to-end network service and process support that reduce operational expenses and optimize the assets at hand. They enhance performance management and improve the tactical effectiveness of the organization with a service-focused management layer with links multiple networks, protocols and applications.

In the latest issue of our e-zine LifeTalk we examine the effectiveness and impact of these umbrella management solutions from four perspectives. Sheridan Nye, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Verticals at Informa Telecoms & Media, provides an economic view on how advanced technologies, budget constraints and broader inter-agency cooperation are impacting operational and financial models for public safety agencies. Phil Kidner, Chief Executive Officer, TETRA and Critical Communications Association (TCCA), provides a social viewpoint on how OSS solutions are fostering significant changes in the very structures and working relationships of the public safety ecosystem, including the citizens themselves. An agency perspective is supplied by Bruno Antoine, IT & Infrastructure Program Manager at ASTRID, Belgium, where an OSS-based provisioning and billing system is adding a new level of efficient automation to operations. Finally, Mike Jaeger, who manages Alcatel-Lucent’s OSS public sector portfolio, pulls it all together with 10 essential tips on howto increase operational efficiency using umbrella management technologies.

Overall, this issue provides a valuable and entertaining read, so I hope you’ll take a look. I wish you a very productive and safe 2013!

By Michael Roney, Editor, LifeTalk

28 Jan 2013

What happens the day after a cyber attack on your telecommunication network or information system?

This stimulating question is unfortunately an essential one that all system information and network managers need to ask themselves today since cyber attacks are now an increasingly sophisticated and daily event.

But one thing is for sure. One day or another, we will all experience such an attack. The most recent examples of “Flame” and “Stuxnet” serve as reminders.

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9 Jan 2013

Interoperability is the key to effective communications and continues to be an issue during multi-agency incident response.  This includes connectivity of first responders with the command center, with each having their own agency communication assets.

Well, the move towards IP-based communications, such as first responder mobile broadband, with Public Safety LTE changes this. Public safety personnel who attended the All Hazards/All Stakeholders Summit in New Orleans on December 12, 2012 experienced the solution using a live demonstration provided by Alcatel-Lucent and ng Connect Program partner Mutualink, Inc.

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