Project enhances interoperability

Tuesday, 28 August, 2012

A European project is seeking to improve and modernise the communications used by emergency services.

The GERYON project, led by a research team in the Department of Communications Engineering of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), sets out to eliminate the incompatibilities that exist among certain systems in order to facilitate interconnection among ambulances, firefighters and police. It is also set to combine the best of each system - the security of the classical emergency transmitters with the multimedia capability offered by the broadband of the 4G networks.

The project, which has been up and running since December 2011, is scheduled to take 30 months, has funding of AU$3 million from the European Commission and a total budget of AU$4.2 million.

Apart from the UPV/EHU, another six European organisations, including the Basque organisations Itelazpi and Grupo CYS, are participating in the project, led by Dr Fidel Liberal, the general coordinator and a researcher of the NQaS (Networking Quality and Security) group located at the Faculty of Engineering in Bilbao.

As Liberal explains, the contribution that NQaS is making to the project focuses on “developing mechanisms to enable the latest mobile networks to provide communications that are just as robust and secure as the emergency networks and, likewise, that will allow high-quality multimedia photos, videos and data to be transmitted”.

“TETRA is designed to be robust, secure; but on the other hand, its capacity to send and receive photos, video and information is very limited,” says Liberal. The idea behind GERYON is, in fact, to develop all this over TETRA and improve it: “We are not planning to substitute this technology, but to complement it so as to get the best of both worlds.”

The project is not expected to be completed until mid-2014. So far, the researchers have concentrated mainly on gathering information from the emergency services to see what their priorities are. “On the basis of these needs and an exhaustive analysis of the LTE, IMS and TETRA capabilities, the phase dealing with the general design of the system has been virtually completed. It will consist of using IMS as the basis to deploy these services and interconnect the various networks,” says Liberal.

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