Coventry Synergy: CC Europe & BAPCO Conference Combine for Max Impact

Part 1 in a series of reflections in the lead-up to
Critical Communications Europe and BAPCO Annual Conference & Exhibition 2019

On March 12, 2019, TCCA's Critical Communications Europe (CC Europe) opens its doors for two busy days of conference sessions and a packed exhibition floor. Focusing on the critical communications ecosystem of government network operators, infrastructure equipment suppliers, device makers, application specialists and consultants, the event is first of the 2019 Critical Communications Series. For 2019, the flagship Critical Communications World event moves to Kuala Lumpur for the series' biennial Asia rotation.

With the flagship event in Asia and timed for late June, TCCA joined forces with the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (BAPCO) to produce a joint event on March 12 and 13 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. The blended conference and exhibition benefits from significant synergies that arise from the cooperation of two important critical communications organizations.

As the UK's most influential critical communications organization, BAPCO traditionally hosts an annual conference & exhibition to help the nation's public safety stakeholders understand technology transformation. Conference sessions provide industry presentations from a wide range of suppliers as well as valuable peer-to-peer information sharing. By co-locating the 2019 European regional TCCA conference and exhibition and offering a dual-track session agenda, the BAPCO leadership is providing a useful opportunity for representatives from law enforcement agencies, fire brigades, ambulance trusts and the private sector to hear viewpoints from around Europe.

The combination of events essentially doubles the amount of information available to attendees. The broader European viewpoint is essential to BAPCO members because several nations are moving quickly to leverage mission-critical mobile broadband services, devices and applications. Injecting knowledge from these experiences into UK policy discussions will help sharpen decision making as the UK brings its Emergency Services Network (ESN) critical communications system on-line.

Conversely, pan-European participants attending Critical Communications Europe benefit from the opportunity to hear from a wide range of UK speakers who are engaged in ESN deployment or who plan to use its capabilities. In sharp contrast to other European nations, the UK is striving to rapidly replace its TETRA-based Airwave network with LTE-based mission-critical push-to-talk handsets. And while the UK's goal of sharply driving down costs is laudable, the effort is fraught with challenge. Not surprisingly, other nations across Europe watch with keen interest. By understanding what does and does not work in the UK, officials across Europe can increase the probability of success when implementing mobile broadband critical communications capabilities in their nations. The CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 conference is the best venue for discovering early indications of traction or trouble.

As an organization, BAPCO continues to evolve in response to the growing importance of broadband critical communications systems. Its leadership understands that expanding public safety communications with broadband data capabilities -- going beyond the original voice-centric communications environment -- brings public safety agencies powerful new tools, such as cloud-based applications, video functionality and access to emerging Internet of Life-Saving Things (IoLST) devices. Realizing that public safety operations include many other people and enterprises than traditional Blue Light agencies, BAPCO has taken steps to broaden its membership by drawing in representatives from highway agencies, the utilities, search & rescue, and other vital mission-based groups. In the coming months, BAPCO's project plan includes programs that address a standard for Multi-Agency Incident Transfer (MAIT), examination of emerging 999 applications in the hands of citizens, NG999 evolution, and a Small Business Group (SBG) to foster innovation.

In the coming weeks, we will examine the joint CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 agenda slated for Coventry. For its part, the TCCA and BAPCO teams have crafted a compelling set of sessions spanning the central topics of the day, including updates on the United Kingdom's Emergency Services Network, a dive into the Internet of Life-Saving Things, an examination of control room transformation, discussion of TETRA deployments and more. The meaty two-day program creates an ideal environment for knowledge transfer but also serves as a vital cross-fertilization opportunity that brings together the leading critical communications subject matter experts and practitioners of our time.

We look forward to seeing you in Coventry!