Skip to Content

Towards a future-proof mission critical communication system for public safety

Mission critical communications systems save lives. They’re used by public safety bodies (police, fire services, ambulance crews, and more) in operations that require all possible technical and operational support.

Typically built using narrowband voice-based technologies today, these systems must evolve to meet more advanced usage requirements using mobile broadband solutions.

Enhancing operational efficiency with new technology

The necessary shift in technology and user behavior that this evolution implies is a major challenge for public safety decision makers. There are radical choices and significant investments to make that nonetheless present a window of opportunity to organize and implement a more up-to-date, performant, reliable, efficient, and future-proof mission critical communication approach.

In this report we provide an overview of the current mission critical communications landscape and offer clear recommendations to support authorities in their transformation journey towards mobile broadband solutions.

Why are current systems becoming obsolete?

Global crises, such as terrorist attacks, have shown how quickly current communications networks become saturated. Natural disasters, too, damage communications infrastructures and, with the frequency and magnitude of such crises increasing, emergency services often struggle with a lack of reliable communication.

The availability of new technology, such as drones, robots, AIVs, video-images, AR/VR, AI and IoT devices, along with new network technology generations (i.e., LTE/5G etc.), has the potential to drastically enhance the situational awareness and overall efficiency of operations.

Modernizing mission critical communications systems

During a crisis event, communications between different stakeholders are essential, from the general public to the Call & Dispatch centers and all the relevant public safety entities. However, the technologies underpinning current systems cannot support new data-driven needs on top of the traditional voice and messaging communications.

Our report Towards a future-proof mission critical communication system for public safety argues that the challenge for governments will be to find the right balance between network, services, and regulations, as well as investment requirements. The appropriate organizational, operational, and technical models of the future need to be defined.

In assessing the key opportunities, our view is that:

  • Mobile broadband solutions create new possibilities that will fundamentally change the way that the public protection and disaster relief sector operates
  • New business models will lead to an optimized cost structure
  • Transformation will improve operational efficiency, productivity, and overall safety
  • The transition to new mission critical communication systems must always put user needs and the mission of public safety and security at its heart
  • A central and dedicated public safety agency will guarantee system integrity

The combination of a high-performing network and data analysis via edge computing will allow for a more efficient management of interventions through the creation of situational awareness that is richer in context and insights.

We offer an eleven-point action plan designed to ensure public safety organizations are ready to enable the mission critical broadband support of voice, data, and video applications at all stages of the public safety value chain.

Report authors

Pierre Fortier
Vice President – 5G Global Lead, Capgemini Invent
Frédéric Vander Sande
Vice President – Telecom, Media & Technology Benelux, Capgemini Invent
Stefaan Vyverman
Senior Manager – Benelux 5G Lead, Capgemini Invent
Patrice Crutel
Director – Technology & Platform Strategy, Capgemini Invent 
Olivier Gossart
Consultant – Strategy, Innovation & Design, Capgemini Invent