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Critical Communications World 2024: Enhancing public safety through innovation and smart technology

Capgemini
Jun 20, 2024

The annual Critical Communications World (CCW) three-day conference was proof – if proof was needed – of the importance of staying ahead of trends and emerging tech as the world of critical communications grows ever more complex.

Held in Dubai this year, CCW 2024 showcased significant advancements in public safety and mission-critical technologies, from drones and TETRA to satellite connectivity and evolving MCX networks. The event featured substantial contributions from industry leaders, technology providers, and key stakeholders worldwide, with our own experts actively involved in key panel discussions and speaker slots.

Reflecting on CCW themes

So, what themes particularly resonated with our team? First, the undoubted importance of robust, secure, and efficient communication systems for public safety user organizations. Second, the transformative potential of emerging technologies in enhancing emergency response capabilities and protecting public safety personnel. And third the role that new tech plays in speeding up response times and supporting rapid decision making.

The event also highlighted how innovations in broadband and satellite communications, as well as integrated systems, are setting new standards in public safety and mission-critical communications. These advancements ensure that first responders and public safety agencies can operate with the highest levels of efficiency and security.

Leading the tech charge with innovation

From wearables, power & energy sources, and encrypted comms and quantum computing, to AI, AR, IoT, robotics and drones, the proliferation of new tech showcased at the event marks a new era in critical communications. From our perspective, among the most exciting of these in terms of the contribution they are making (and will make) were innovations in battery technology, energy harvesting, and sustainable power solutions. These have the potential to ensure that crucial critical comms equipment and devices remain operational during extended missions without the need for frequent recharging.

The demand for speed in public safety operations is being met by several technology advancements, including:

  • AI and AR: AI enhances decision making through data analysis and predictive analytics, while ARprovides real-time information overlays, improving situational awareness and response times during emergencies.
  • IoT: Real-time data from various sensors and connected IoT devices enhances situational awareness and enables proactive measures in emergency response and disaster management. As an example, modular, integrated sensors are equipping vests to enable automatic alerts (biometric-based alarms, gas detection, heat-stress measurement, impact detection, localization, etc.).
  • Robotics and drones: The revolutionizing role of robotics and drones in search-and-rescue operations, surveillance, and incident response cannot be underestimated. As well as providing critical support in hazardous environments and reducing risks to human responders, these technologies improve operational efficiency and response times.

Creating revenue streams

At CCW, we also looked at analysis identifying that video surveillance cameras, drones, and safe city sensors offer significant revenue streams with the lowest technical barriers. In contrast, AR applications and connected vehicles hold high revenue potential but must meet advanced technological requirements.

Tackling the cyber threat

Security remained a pivotal theme at CCW, with discussions on safeguarding mission-critical networks against cyber threats. Technologies enabling the seamless transition from traditional TETRA networks to advanced 4G and 5G systems were explored, emphasizing secure and resilient communication frameworks.

Advanced cybersecurity measures and privacy-preserving technologies are being implemented to protect against cyber threats and unauthorized access. Encrypted communications are part of this, while advances in quantum computing offer the potential for even more secure encryption methods, ensuring that critical information remains protected.

The transformative power of satellite

5G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) solutions are vital for ensuring continuous connectivity for 5G-enabled devices via satellite, especially in areas where terrestrial networks are unavailable. There are transformative benefits, ensuring robust, reliable, and ubiquitous connectivity, while supporting remote and disaster-prone areas.

Using new tech in next-generation command centers

Presentations and demonstrations showcased the evolution of command centers. These highlighted advanced dispatching solutions that leverage video, location services, messaging, voice translation, and talk groups to streamline operations effectively.

Reinventing aircraft turnaround

The air transportation industry’s challenges in managing growth while ensuring environmental sustainability were addressed at CCW. For example, innovative solutions are optimizing ground operations, crucial for efficient airline operations.

What next for public safety networks?

The future capabilities of 6G networks were another topic of discussion. The profound implications for emergency response and disaster management of ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), enhanced data capacity and throughput (up to 100 Gbps), massive machine-type communication (mMTC), AI and machine learning integration, ubiquitous coverage with satellite, enhanced security and privacy, and AR/VR enhancements made for a fascinating subject.

Agencies and governments exchange views

The authority/agency area at CCW was busy with many of the governmental participants meeting and discussing mission-critical transformation programs. The length and animated nature of the discussions showed the deep interest from authorities in the transformation to mission-critical broadband.

Transforming with next-gen technology

Our role as a trusted transformation partner is to help public safety and defense organizations harness new technologies, such as those showcased at CCW, to improve their performance. For example, we exhibited the next generation of connected vest developed by one of our partners in cooperation with the National Gendarmerie of France (military police), which we are currently integrating with control rooms and/or MCX applications.

In addition, our experts were engaged in five speaking slots and panel discussions, providing an opportunity to demonstrate our involvement in the ongoing transformation programs of public safety communication services. Topics included: the achievements, challenges, success factors, and future steps of the France RRF program; IoT for critical communications; multi-layered satellite constellations; and the importance of network strength to ensure the security of critical communication services.

In conclusion, CCW 2024 served as a catalyst for continued innovation and collaboration in the critical communications industry, driving progress towards safer and more resilient user organizations.

Experts

Fotis Karonis

EVP, Global Head of 5G & Edge, Capgemini Group
“Advanced connectivity, 5G, and Edge computing technologies are strong enablers and accelerators for this move towards a digital economy and innovative use cases. They allow industrial clients to redesign systems and processes and make them more efficient, agile, and intelligent.”

Pierre Fortier

VP, Future of Technology, Capgemini Invent
“5G holds tremendous value for virtually every vertical industry, and its application will prompt significant changes to the customer experience, operating model, end-to-end processes, core capabilities, and solutions across sectors. These changes will require Telcos to reinvent their business in order to support new ways of working.”

Nazirali Rajvani

Senior Director, 5G & Edge Group Portfolio, Capgemini Group
With more than twenty years’ experience working with mobile operators, I see public safety network evolution and mission critical services as a natural progression of 3GPP standards for 4G, 5G and beyond. Having experienced first-hand the challenges users face as the Technical Director for EE on ESN in the U.K., I help users and agencies to deliver future proof, reliable and secure multimode communications that help to protect and save lives.

Patrice Crutel

Technology & Platform strategy Director at Capgemini Invent
Patrice is an expert in the Strategy of Evolution towards 4G/5G, IOT, PMR, Multimedia

Mayank Shah

Global Industry Manager
I lead the strategic development and execution of comprehensive marketing initiatives for the public sector. I collaborate with global teams to curate and develop offers, plan and manage marketing campaigns, produce thought leadership reports, run events and launch digital marketing strategies.