Why Critical Communications MENA is Important

Part 1 in a series of reflections in the lead-up to Critical Communications MENA 2018

With an ever-expanding toolkit of communications options, governments around the world are stepping up efforts to deliver mobile broadband capabilities supporting public safety operations. Likewise, the TCCA is accelerating its efforts to foster development of a robust critical ecosystem that blends the reliability and practicality of TETRA-based voice communications with the information handling power of mobile broadband. During the course of the year, the TCCA hosts a series of informative ecosystem events that bring together government agencies, vendors and other industry experts. In May, the TCCA hosted a successful Critical Communications World conference in Berlin. Next up: the annual Critical Communications Middle East and North Africa (MENA) conference in September. This note is the first of a series of posts reflecting on the importance of Critical Communications MENA and highlighting central themes visitors can expect when they arrive at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre in Dubai this September.

The 2018 edition of TCCA's Critical Communications MENA provides a valuable forum for a rapidly advancing region of the world. At a time when the pace of critical communications innovation is quickening, the region is home to several nations pushing technology boundaries to the limit. Host city Dubai, as an example, operates a dedicated LTE-based critical communications network to augment TETRA voice communications. Likewise, Qatar and Saudi Arabia operate some of the earliest mission-critical LTE networks found around the globe. Critical Communications MENA 2018 attendees benefit from by drawing on the experiences of pioneering regional government officials and network operators. High profile regional events -- Expo 2020 Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar -- ratchet up the pressure on public safety operations and the essential communications support these operations demand.

Critical Communications MENA offers a comprehensive program designed to deliver the information government and enterprise users need for success. Several of the core topics addressed include:

PPDR LTE technology. Public protection and disaster relief LTE networks will be fundamental for advanced mission-critical communications platforms of the future. Critical Communications MENA provides a variety of sessions looking at how the ecosystem is coming together to make these platforms a reality. Fresh on the heels of the June MCPTT Plugtest and continuing progress with the Mission Critical Open Platform (MCOP), TCCA will provide timely updates on the technology status. Presentations on LTE network evolution, network operator experiences and a look to the future with 5G will round out this set of deep dives.

Hybrid TETRA/LTE device capabilities.  Several device suppliers, including Airbus SLC and Hytera, offer devices with dual communications stacks. Critical Communications MENA provides several sessions focused on these device capabilities with views coming from both suppliers and government agencies that make them part of the operational picture.

Critical communications applications. Rapidly advancing data networking capabilities coupled with cloud technology are starting to bring powerful new tools into the hands of emergency services workers. Critical Communications MENA includes an entire Masterclass focused on application innovation, complete with a look at how Dubai's Nedaa is bringing applications to its demanding customer base.

Artificial intelligence and big data. Sharp increases in network speed and throughput -- both fixed and mobile -- enable new approaches to monitoring and analyzing the city. Advances in AI and big data will influence applications coming to critical communications users. Speakers will give attendees a peek at the potential and limitations of these nascent technologies.

Smart city Internet of Things. The United Arab Emirates is a hotbed of smart city innovation. Dubai, as an example, embraces smart city technology as a fundamental pillar of its Expo 2020 Dubai success. With its urban center built on modern fiber-based infrastructure, Dubai holds a unique advantage when it comes to smart city deployments. As with AI and big data, smart city technology contributes to the potential application suite available to emergency services workers. To look at these possibilities, Critical Communications MENA provides a Masterclass focused on smart cities as well as a case study of an approach in Guangzhou. 

In coming weeks, we will take a deeper look at the Critical Communications MENA program. But for now, check out the preliminary list of Masterclasses and sessions on the web. The event promises a productive educational program coupled with extensive personal networking opportunities in a vibrant part of the world. See you in September!