Coping with the surge in data usage, many times on public networks, determining what content is actually mission critical and strategies for lobbying governments for critical spectrum were the key themes at the TETRA World Congress last month.
Jean-Marc Nasr, head of secure communication solutions at Cassidian, said in his presentation titled "Data Revolution Drives Network Evolution" that megatrends, such as globalization, urbanization and demographic changes, are increasing the importance of public safety and our dependency on critical communications infrastructure.
Nasr says the data revolution will be as big as the GSM evolution and will have a huge impact on public safety communications in the near future. "The citizen is now part of the loop. With their mobile devices, they become more than emergency callers. They can send first responders multimedia info, including voice, text, photos and videos."
With all IP-based networks, he said bandwidth is cheaper, but this is resulting in data and information overload. The multimedia aspect of network traffic means that cyber attacks will impact critical infrastructure and critical communications.
Tom Quirke, Motorola Solutions' VP and GM for its global TETRA organization, pointed out in his talk that the top data apps being used in the PMR (professional mobile radio) sector are database lookup, imaging, video, report writing, mapping and email/internet browsing.
Jolly Wong, chief telecom engineer with Hong Kong Police Force's information system unit, said the killer apps for police are video and positional data.
Quirke said that TEDS, the TETRA high-speed data service, can handle 70-80% of the data requirements but not the high-resolution content.
TEDS is currently the best option for mission critical data, but has limited bandwidth (handling data rates of up to 500 kbps). Insiders say the industry will have to test TEDS and "see how far it will bring us".