'Siemens Communications, Media and Technology focuses on the applications these days,’ says Mohammad Vizaei, Head of Business Line Secured Networks and Applications at Siemens CMT. ‘We concentrate on PMR, GSM-R and TETRA.’
The company provides TETRA mobile communications and workflow management solutions to airports, oil and gas companies and mission critical end users, along with end-to-end performance monitoring, troubleshooting, system wide voice and ETCS (European Train Control System) data recording for railways.
‘A key area is the provision of command and control applications and business process management systems,’ says Vizaei. Siemens provides control centres with services that include recording, telemetry, geofencing, dispatching, AVL and work flow management.
Key products include: a TETRA dispatcher for managing operational fleets; a TETRA recorder providing secure and reliable management of voice and data communications; and the TETRA Broadband Extension, which provides a framework for integrating broadband data transmissions and narrowband TETRA networks.
Much of the fuss over how to bring broadband services into the mission and business critical environment has centred on video, but Vizaei takes a slightly heretical view on this.
‘I don’t think video is the killer application for public safety organisations,’ he says. ‘I believe broadband will come to the public safety community, as they do need a lot of data, but video isn’t the key for them. So, our approach to broadband is a bit different.’
Vizaei thinks other forms of data will be more important such as remote terminal units (RTUs) talking with control area network connectors almost in real time. ‘There are very similar M2M applications in the PMR industry that need broadband, as they cannot access TETRA networks,’ he says.
So, for Siemens CMT the most important thing is to identify the real broadband use cases. Other forms of data, as opposed to video, may well be more useful and therefore this may alter the drivers for how broadband can best be integrated with legacy voice systems.
Siemens is also positioning itself as the provider to go to for integrating a wide range of legacy systems on VHF, UHF and analogue. ‘At least 70% of the tenders we are seeing involve the integration of legacy systems. Airports and transportation clients often have a lot of different end users all using different vendor equipment,’ says Vizaei.
The Siemens Broadband Extension platform carries voice over TETRA, for example, but allows data to be carried over broadband (including streaming video and database access if required). The system automatically translates and transfers group definitions in the TETRA network to the broadband network, so operators and dispatchers can use the equipment and methodology they are familiar with.
Vizaei says Siemens provides tailored solutions for industry, especially oil and gas, power and energy and transportation. It likes to be the prime contractor for command and control integration projects working with best of breed suppliers for other equipment.
‘Our strength is having access to sales channels that others may not have access to,’ says Vizaei. He admits Siemens has been a bit quiet about publicising its solutions, but says the company is now starting to promote what it can do. ‘The plan is to connect to as much as possible – even old Marconi systems,’ he says.