CCMENA 2018: Top Five Expectations for the Dubai Conference

Part 5 in a series of reflections in the lead-up to
Critical Communications Middle East and North Africa 2018

With the opening ceremonies for Critical Communications Middle East and North Africa 2018 (CCMENA) less than a week away, it is good to step back and examine reasons public safety communications professionals should take time from busy schedules to spend valuable time in Dubai. The annual Critical Communications World Series calendar supplies ample opportunities to dive into the technology and products improving public safety operations around the globe. The MENA event is noteworthy because of its central location in a vibrant region of the world that is rushing to modernize mission-critical communications infrastructure. So, on that note, here are my top five reasons why CCMENA is a must-attend event.

Innovative -- and real -- Dubai public safety technology deployments. An outstanding element of CCMENA is the support extended by Nedaa, Dubai's public safety network operator. From the agency's extensive exhibition stand to informative program appearances by Nedaa's experts, the agency's backing is a major factor of why CCMENA is a valuable opportunity for visitors exploring the future of critical communications. Nedaa pioneered TETRA digital trunked radio systems in the region while also leading the way with a unique mission-critical LTE network restricted to government agencies. Coming to Dubai provides attendees with an indispensable vantage point to explore the promise and challenge of LTE-based mission-critical communications.

Compelling hybrid LTE/TETRA devices married to applications. The value of mission-critical LTE is the utility offered by its broad bandwidth and IP-centric architecture. In contrast to narrowband TETRA, LTE handles a flexible range of radio carrier sizes that flow large volumes of traffic to and from a state-of-the-art IP network. High traffic speed and low data latency translates into satisfying end-user experiences enjoyed by consumers. At CCMENA, vendors will highlight the latest crop of hybrid LTE/TETRA devices helping bring this experience to public safety professionals without losing key TETRA features such as Direct Mode. But more than just devices, the exhibition provides an opportunity to see application approaches that leverage cloud services and rapid transmission of images and video.

Dubai offers a useful Mission-Critical Push-to-Talk maturity checkpoint. The Critical Communications MENA conference is the first major TCCA event following the June 2018 ETSI Plugtest in Texas. Attendees will be rewarded with presentations from the TCCA leadership team on progress shown at the closed Arlington, Texas event. While the Plugtest is publicity carefully restrained by non-disclosure agreements, reviews of the progress will help attendees gauge the reality of the MC-PTT promise.

A helpful portal into the potential of AI and data analytics. When it comes to complexity and confusion, few topics match AI and data analytics. That said, the promise of these technologies to transform public safety operations is significant. Addressing this potential, the Critical Communications MENA provides a set of sessions aimed at demystifying these important mechanisms. With a panel on "The future architecture for AI Public Safety," CCMENA helps attendees digest recent moves that make AI a vital force-multiplier. Data analytics, like AI, is a significant tool for agencies that need to better understand the dynamics of change in a city's fabric. Examples of useful sessions include a Motorola Solutions presentation on how a mission-critical platform for analytics can drive agency workflows as well as a Nokia session examining how telecom analytics can offer lessons to agencies planning for a data-enabled future.

Growing clarity on Smart City Internet of Things technology. Host city Dubai set a course for smart city innovation leadership as part of its Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the "happiest city on earth." Smart Dubai incorporates a range of strategic initiatives addressing Smart Economy, Smart Living, Smart Governance, Smart Environment, Smart People and Smart Mobility. The efforts provide a living laboratory for the latest creative approaches towards instrumenting and controlling a city's fabric. And Critical Communications MENA delivers a unique vantage point to examine the progress made so far.

Of course, while the TCCA and Mark Allen Group worked hard to make the Critical Communications MENA exhibition and program successful, the city of Dubai is a fantastic place. With this year's event held at the Madinat Jumeirah, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy the delights Dubai has to offer. It will not be long before the opening ceremony begins, but if you have not made plans to go, there is still time!