CCEurope 2019: Top Five Expectations for Coventry

Part 5 in a series of reflections in the lead-up to
Critical Communications Europe and BAPCO Annual Conference & Exhibition 2019

On March 12, doors will open to the combined TCCA Critical Communications Europe (CC Europe) and BAPCO exhibition and conference in Coventry, England. As the primary public safety communications event in Europe during 2019, CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 will draw attendees from the UK, across Europe, and beyond. The dual conference brings together top officials from leading public safety network operators, solution suppliers, and frontline emergency services officials. While motivations to attend the two-day event will vary, depending on your perspective, here are my top five reasons to travel to Coventry:

  • Getting an update on the big European public safety mobile broadband network deployments: While the US has made great strides with its broad roll-out of the FirstNet network, Europe is quickly catching up with advancements in the UK and Finland. Top leadership from the United States FirstNet Authority, the UK's Home Office (Emergency Services Network) and Finland's Erillisverkot Group (VIRVE 2.0) will deliver keynotes that promise to shed light on the status of these high-profile deployments. For the UK, the opportunity is particularly important following a lengthy review of program objectives and schedule. Bryan Clarke, ESN's Programme Director, will deliver a keynote address that should shed considerable light on just when ESN end users can expect to gain service.

  • Diving deep into the Internet of Life-Saving Things (IoLST) opportunity: In contrast to the thin transmission pipes offered by voice-centric networks such as TETRA, mission-critical LTE technology creates a transformational opportunity to introduce new tools that enhance situational awareness, boost emergency responder efficiency and improve citizen interactions. Freed from the constraints of narrowband radio channels, public safety networks such as the UK's ESN can enable video, incorporate sensors, and support remote device control. With a variety of CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 sessions on tap featuring IoLST thought leaders from around the world, the conference and exhibition provide a valuable opportunity to assess the state-of-the-art.

  • Learning how cloud, data analytics, and AI drive value: Thanks to increased computational power, cloud architectures, and high-speed connectivity -- both wired and wireless -- the public safety toolkit expands with potent capabilities to process large datasets for insight. The result has broad ramifications for law enforcement, fire service, and emergency medical service operations. Data analytics and AI provide powerful new ways to predict problems in advance and develop strategies for long-term success. Just as valuable, application of data analytics can expand the use of evidence-based policing, fireground operations and public health practice. CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 provide speakers that bring deep experience in these promising, but challenging, new areas.

  • Probing the future of mission-critical LTE and 5G communications standards: Standards are not static. As experience grows with real-life mission-critical LTE deployments and as new knowledge emerges from research labs, 3GPP continues to evolve the fundamental mobile broadband standards. Likewise, as 3GPP standards offer value to an expanding range of industrial applications, new industry-specific extensions become necessary. A highlight of CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 will be a keynote speech from Adrian Scrase, ETSI CTO and Head of 3GPPs’ Mobile Competence Centre. For public agency planners and solution suppliers, Adrian's informed view provides a valuable portal into the art-of-the-possible.

  • Exploring the power of new control room architectures: Just as advancements in computer processing power, cloud architectures, and connectivity have set the stage for powerful data analytics, so does this progress provide a foundation for reinventing the control room. In particular, virtualization of the control room can yield flexible capacity with increased resilience. At CC Europe/BAPCO 2019, speakers from solution providers will examine how these approaches work. Once again, Critical Communications Finland will bring a broad cross-section of Finland innovators and emergency services officials. With the nation's cutting-edge nationwide Emergency Response Centre Information System (ERCIA) now operating across multiple sites, Finland is providing a pioneering example of how cloud control room architectures can improve public safety service delivery. Look for the system's innovators and end users in the Critical Communications Finland pavilion.

CC Europe/BAPCO 2019 is one of the top public safety communications events of the year. The scope of topics addressed across the joint conferences and on the exhibition floor is extensive. Beyond scope, the depth of expertise available means that attendees will benefit from rare opportunities to go beyond headlines and hype.

I look forward to a busy and engaging two days in Coventry with colleagues and friends -- both old and new. I hope to see you there!