The Global Certification Forum and mission-critical standards and interoperability group TCCA are jointly launching a task force focused on certification for 3GPP-based mission-critical services, including push-to-talk, video and data.
The focus on cellular services delivered via mobile broadband networks is a shift for TCCA, which has historically focused on the narrowband TETRA space. TCCA is 3GPP Market Representation Partner and member of the Mission Critical Open Platform (MCOP) consortium as well.
The joint task force will “move certification forward” for MCPTT, MC data and MC video implementations and its “initial actions” are expected to be completed in the first half of this year, according to GCF and TCCA. They added that the certification process “will be an evolution of both TCCA’s … TETRA Interoperability and Certification Process (IOP) which was developed to enable a truly open multi-vendor market for TETRA equipment and systems, and GCF’s certification for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G devices.”
The two organizations said that they have been collaborating for around three years on the use of GCF-certified products in mission-critical LTE deployments. GCF has also added a new member category of “Mission critical operator” ahead of its anticipated certification work, so that players in the MC space can contribute to the certification process as it is worked out.
GCF and TCCA said that unless there is an agreed-upon interoperability testing and certification systems in place, every MC service provider “will have to test all relevant elements and their interactions thoroughly, resulting in the same tests being done for the same elements at multiple locations. This means extra costs to suppliers, operators and users. Beyond that, the vendors may end up implementing different variants of the same products with the corresponding need to maintain them.”
“Today’s news confirms the importance of mission critical devices, networks and services as part of GCF’s overall certification program,” said Lars Nielsen, CEO at GCF. “A device that meets all certification requirements for the technology bands and features it supports, gives confidence that everything possible has been done by the manufacturer to guarantee delivery of the highest quality of service for users. This is of paramount importance within the realms of public safety and we look forward to rolling out the testing and certification specifics with TCCA during the coming year.”
“GCF’s experience and knowledge of the mobile industry, and TCCA’s long-established expertise in critical communications bring complementary strengths together. We look forward to working with GCF to lead the development and implementation of testing and certification processes for the benefit of the mission critical broadband user community worldwide,” said TCCA Chief Executive Tony Gray in a statement.
Gray is slated to speak at the upcoming IWCE 2020 conference in a session on testing and certification for mission-critical products and solutions.
In related news, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute released two major specifications related to emergency calling, out of its Emergency Communication Special Committee.
Those new standards are for next-generation 112 emergency services in Europe, adding multimedia capabilities such as texting, video and other data to emergency calls and response; and Advanced Mobile Location, which leverages a phone’s Wi-Fi, cellular and GNSS information to provide better location information to emergency responders for mobile callers. More than 70% of emergency calls in Europe come from mobile phones, ETSI noted. AML can provide caller location within an area as precise as five meters outdoors and averages of circular areas with a 25-meter radius for indoor locations, ETSI said, noting that that is a “is a significant improvement on existing cell coverage provided by mobile networks,” citing figures from the United Kingdom where mobile callers are located within an area with a 1.75-kilometer radius for emergency response.
AML is already implemented in 22 countries worldwide, according to ETSI.
“If AML was deployed everywhere in Europe, it would save up to 7,500 lives and 95 billion euros in 10 years. AML is already implemented in all Android and IOS cell phones,” said Cristina Lumbreras, ETSI’s EMTEL chair.
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