Connectivity is crucial in most aspects of modern life, but nowhere is this more true than with critical services and incident response. In the event of an emergency, communications are vital. They notify people of danger, coordinate response units and, ultimately, contribute to a safer place for us all.
These emergency communications rely on a strong network. The connectivity behind their communications needs to be reliable, resilient, and secure. It needs to withstand both the volume in demand, as well as offer built-in redundancy to deal with possible outages or network deterioration. And as technology advances to add new solutions like video, drones, and IoT data relays to response teams’ capabilities, the network that supports these communications also needs to modernize.
This exact scenario is something the French government are already addressing. Through a consortium led by Airbus and Capgemini, they are building the “Réseau Radio du Futur” (RRF) network – the “radio network of the future”. The RRF will essentially operate as a dedicated private network for around 300,000 users in the country’s security and emergency rescue forces. It will provide secure, ultra-reliable 4G and 5G connectivity, modernizing the tools available to teams dealing with increasingly complex interventions. BICS is participating in the project with its roaming network capabilities, ensuring secure connectivity across networks and enabling instant backup in the event of an outage.
This project is part of a larger picture. The “Broadway” project is an EU-funded initiative to develop and build the next generation of critical service comms to improve public safety across Europe. It includes over 100 organizations (including BICS) from 14 countries. In September, one of the leaders of the program, Airbus, announced the successful completion of a field test involving emergency services from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands working together to catch a drug dealer in a cross-border pursuit. Seamless international communications were key to responding to this scenario, and the successful trial was a landmark achievement for pan-EU public protection.
The intertwining role of communications and technology will always be crucial in enabling security and emergency services. Technologies such as 5G and IoT have the potential to unlock more targeted, faster, and more advanced solutions to critical events. It is vital that multi-partner international initiatives such as the RRF and Broadway projects continue to drive innovation and investment this space.