Thales has signed an agreement with HP to collaborate on the delivery of next generation critical communications systems to help emergency services respond more effectively to rising public expectations for safety.
Thales and HP will combine their expertise to offer secure, integrated voice and data services based on LTE technology as well as joined-up R&D and service delivery capabilities to meet the emergency services’ critical communications requirements.
The combined communication system enables emergency services to make better-informed decisions in terms of public safety, first responder safety and mobile access to critical data, whilst at the same time meeting the stricter budgetary considerations faced by modern security services.
The two companies will work together to combine technology, capability, innovation and products to deliver a highly scalable and adaptable package of capabilities and services that can be configured to meet the specific needs of individual emergency services around the world.
Thales delivers the critical communications technology on their application of LTE public safety communications and their expertise in fully integrating commercial mobile networks. HP will bring its proven expertise in the delivery of mission-critical, secure end-to-end, cloud-based IT services to government institutions. The collaboration will seek to develop an innovative service in terms of efficiency and functionality for the benefit of emergency services.
The combined offering, titled ‘COMIT’ demonstrates a commitment to bring the best in communications and information technology services to end customers, as well as ensuring an integrated way of working across separate emergency services.
Jean-Michel Lagarde, chairman and CEO of Thales Communications & Security (pictured left), told Wireless: ‘The agreement between HP and Thales will provide a new generation of critical communications technology by combining our different capabilities and expertise – IT and IP services from HP and 4G infrastructure and security from Thales.’
Simon Hanson, account executive and HP Enterprise Services (pictured right), said: ‘The COMIT agreement brings together the best of two companies. We marry up very well together and we will deliver critical communication infrastructure and services to a global base.’
He added that COMIT simply stands for communications and IT and that it is both a product and a service. ‘It can be delivered in different ways, as there are several ways of implementing the system depending on each country and each customer’s requirements. The agreement is effective now and we hope to announce the first customers soon.’
Enlarging further on the reason for the agreement, Lagarde said: ‘We have already worked together for many years, but there are big changes happening now in the PMR (professional mobile radio) business. The traditional PMR service was for voice and a small amount of data, but now there is a need for broadband data services, such as streaming video. The reason for the agreement is so we can deliver these broadband data services.’
Lagarde pointed out that Thales foresaw this change coming some years ago and was first to market with a mission critical broadband solution in the shape of its Nexium product – a fully IP-based, fully distributed mission critical broadband network architecture.
‘Customers have been requesting mission critical broadband systems and services, but they want it on an open architecture. They do not want to get trapped by proprietary vendor lock in. They want to be able to mix the best technologies from different vendors.’
He continued: ‘They also want to be able to reduce their costs and having an open architecture helps that. Public safety organisations can also reduce costs by sharing the infrastructure with other sectors, or by using 4G networks provided by mobile network operators under MVNO agreements.
‘This is why we need this agreement,’ Lagarde said. ‘Why HP? Because it is the leader in IP services and cloud solutions. HP already delivers secure cloud IP infrastructure and services to many governments who also want new communications technology for their public safety organisations.
‘Why are we launching this now? You only have to look around CCW to see the big changes happening. Customers understand the need to move from narrowband TETRA, Tetrapol and P25 technology over to LTE. The USA has launched its FirstNet broadband network and several countries in the Middle East also have broadband networks for mission critical use.
‘So, our agreement with HP is global, long term and this is the right time to do it as the critical communications customer base is ready to add these new broadband capabilities, such as video, or even replace their old PMR systems entirely.’
Lagarde noted that a big issue is the availability of frequencies and the different choice of frequency in various countries, which is hindering harmonisation of mission critical LTE bands. ‘We can use different bands, but in many countries 700MHz is best for both range and capabilities.’