Vodafone and Nokia develop 4G incident detection prototype

Smart technology could improve public safety

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) and Nokia have partnered to deliver a proof of concept (PoC) to demonstrate how Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) powered by 4G networks can improve public safety.

The MEC platform is a virtualised network infrastructure that enables enterprises to host software applications to take advantage of low-latency and mission-critical mobile broadband networks.

One of the potential applications of the MEC platform is public safety where video analytics can be used to securely process data feeds from sensors, such as CCTV cameras, connected over a 4G network in real-time.  

It can be used to track people in defined perimeter zones in outdoor locations and around public buildings such as museums using loitering detection; distinguish the movement of people and vehicles using object detection; and count the number of people entering or crossing a border. 

VHA General Manager Technology Strategy Easwaren Siva said the company is excited to be part of the PoC, particularly the public safety component, which enables users to identify threats and respond with appropriate action as quickly as possible. 

“Being part of this Proof of Concept further demonstrates our desire to collaborate and develop the best ideas into solutions that leverage commercial 4G networks to provide improved public safety,” Mr Siva said. 

“What we are seeing is the coming together of various technical innovations such as Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), deployment of mass sensors from the Internet of Things (IoT), low latency 4G and 5G networks via Near Edge Computing, and video analytics to deliver very applicable public safety solutions. 

“This smart technology has been designed to take the manual work out of security monitoring and could be used, for instance, by airports, shopping centres, or at large sporting events.” 

Head of Oceania at Nokia Ray Owen said eliminating existing latency between sensors and centralised applications is critical to improving public safety communications. 

“The Nokia Mobile Edge Computing platform rapidly processes content at the network edge, closer to users to ensure an ultra-low latency experience,” he said. 

“For these demonstrations, the data feeds from the camera remained local thanks to the MEC platform while benefiting from the robust, secure capabilities of 4G, which is critical public safety communications.” 

VHA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to join Nokia’s Mission Critical Communications Alliance, a global body made up of mobile operators, national and local-level public authorities, and first response agencies that aim to formalise standards of 4G LTE-based technology for public safety use. 

Mr Siva said the reliance on mobile networks will become more critical as sensors are increasingly being used for road traffic and public transportation systems, and improving public safety. 

“As cities become smarter, the amount of data generated by connected sensors will grow and there will be calls for more efficient data processing strategies,” he said. 

VHA and Nokia plan to trial the technology during 2017.