Critical Communications Russia 2019 – an international conference with a focus on Russia
The 7th Federal Conference “Critical Communications Russia: Innovative Digital Technologies for National, Social and Business Security” took place on April 18th, 2019 in the Hilton Garden Inn Moscow Krasnoselskaya Hotel and gathered 180 professionals of critical communications industry, including public regulators of innovative development, IT and telecommunications, civil defense and emergency response, ambulance services, 24-hour dispatch services, situation centers, developers and integrators of digital solutions, communication service providers and operators of alert networks, along with industry experts and business and industry media.
Critical Communications Russia 2019 was endorsed by the Federal Agency of Communications (Rossvyaz), The Critical Communications Association (TCCA), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Association), the IoT Market Players’ Association, International Academy of Communications, the CIO Club of the Central Federal District.
Russian Broadcasting and Alert Networks (RSVO) was Partner of the Conference, and MS-Spetstelecom was Innovative Partner. Ericsson was Bronze Sponsor of the conference. Information Space Center ‘Severnaya Korona’ and PROTEI were Session Sponsors. Coffee breaks were sponsored by Saratov Electrical Appliances Plant named after Sergo Ordzhonikidze. The event was also supported by Viavi Solutions and Digital Country Net. General Exponents featured at Critical Communications Russia 2019 were Anritsu Corporation and Mentura Group Oy.
Held for the 7th time in a row, in 2019 the conference has significantly broadened the discussion of professional mobile radio communications (PMR or trunking) to include diagnostics and security of critical communications systems, practices of smart video surveillance, ‘Safe City’ Hardware and Software Complex (and System-112 as its constituent element), application of GLONASS satellite navigation system for the purposes of fire-protection services, and application of digital technologies and communication services for mass events (including the UEFA Euro 2020) and major enterprises (such as, Russian Railways, Sberbank of Russia, Sheremetyevo international airport, PJSC Transneft). The common thread of Critical Communications Russia 2019 was innovative digital technologies for the critical communications and digital transformation of the industry.
A keynote address to the conference audience was delivered by senior officer of ICT Department of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations Alexander Moskvin, who emphasized the importance of the subject manner.
Plenary session speakers included: TCCA Chairman of the Executive Board Mladen Vratonjić, Chief Visionary Officer and Co-Founder of Mentura Group Sami Honkaniemi, Leonardo’s DMR Designer and Technical Working Group Laboratory Coordinator of the DMR Association Alessandro Guido, Business Development Director of Ericsson Russia Alexander Romanov, Board Chairman of MS-Spetstelecom Yury Gorshkov, Director of Mars Design Bureau Anatoliy Sartakov, Head of Analytical Systems Development at RSVO Sergey Sergeev.
Mladen Vratonjić told the audience that last year, the association he chairs changed its name – from TETRA and Critical Communications Association to The Critical Communications Association. He explained that the word TETRA was removed from the association’s name because the future of critical communications lies with broadband systems, and TCCA expects full decommissioning of narrowband PMR networks (including TETRA) by 2030. He lamented that European regulators chose not to allocate spectrum resource for critical communications networks, while mobile operators, which have a better purchasing capacity, win most auctions. Mladen Vratonjić emphasized that 3GPP has been including PMR functionality into LTE and 5G beginning Release 13, but they will not be implemented in full until 5G networks become an ubiquitous reality, which won’t happen any time before 2025.
Sami Honkaniemi from Mentura Group disagreed with Vratonjić about the outlook for TETRA in the 10-year perspective. “Voice remains a very important application in critical communications,” he emphasized. “Certainly, customers want to add broadband, especially to enable video streaming. But narrow- and broadband networks may develop in parallel, even without convergence.”
Ericsson’s Alexander Romanov is convinced that PMR and critical communications’ functions can be undertaken by LTE, and in the future – 5G networks, and that includes Private LTE networks, run by different corporations. Yury Gorshkov from MS-Spetstelecom spoke about his company’s experience with rolling out converged PMR networks for the purposes of combined application of narrow- and broadband services. His company, which used to work on TETRA only, has become an MVNO based on Tele2’s LTE-450 network. MS-Spetstelecom has created a proprietary platform for critical communications – Everlink – and promotes both mobile and converged services: LTE/DMR, LTE/TETRA.
The session after the plenary was dedicated to digital comprehensive control, management and security systems serving the interests of the government, society and business. Speakers included: Head of Automatic Message Switching of Sheremetyevo international airport Igor Tsikorin, Director of Viavi Solution’s representation office in Russia & CIS Denis Sladkih, Head of Municipal Video Surveillance the Moscow City’s IT Department Dmitriy Golovin, CEO of Information Space Center ‘Severnaya Korona’ Andrey Gritsenko, Project Manager from the Saratov Electrical Appliances Plant named after Sergo Ordzhonikidze Ilya Ivanov, Marketing and Systems Research Director of PROTEY Vladimir Freynkman, Director General of the National Research Institute for Technology and Communications (NIITS) Alexander Minov.
Thus, Vladimir Freynkman touched upon mobile operators for governmental and corporate needs: according to him, such companies will be appearing in large numbers due to the singularity of the task and deficit of spectrum resource. For that purpose, he proposed a domestic network core solution (developed by PROTEI) for LTE and 5G networks serving critical communications.
Alexander Minov from NIITS reminded that 3GPP had introduced a standard on 4G/5G-based BB-PPDR (Broadband Public Protection and Disaster Relief) system in the 450 MHz and 700 MHz bands.
The session, dedicated to integrated critical communications solutions serving public interests, featured presentations from Michael Hallowes – Managing Director, Zefonar Advisory, Former Emergency Services Commissioner for Victoria (in 2011-2014) and National Director of Australia's Emergency Alert Program (in 2014-2015), Gennadiy Puchkov – Senior Researcher FSI "Scientific Production Association "Special-Purpose Machinery and Communications" of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ali Abdullin – Head of Communications equipment and Systems center FSI "Scientific Production Association "Special-Purpose Machinery and Communications" of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Andrey Kiyan – Director General of Infotest-R, Konstantin Vlasov – Head of the Department for the Development of Decision Support Activities (Situation Center), All-Russian Research Institute for Fire Protection; Anton Asanin – Head of the Subdepartment of ICT and Communications Systems, Russian Emergency Ministry; and Director General of Digital Country Net Evgeniy Opeskin.
Michael Hallowes told the audience about the national public warning system Reverse 112, rolled out in Australia. Its core is geolocation-based SMS-messaging, which allows to promptly alert people, located within the affected territory. According to the new EU Directive (Article 110, European Electronic Communications Code 2018), by June 2022, Member States must implement a public warning system that enables “competent authorities” to transmit alerts about “imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters” via the public mobile networks to “all mobile phone users who are located in the geographic areas affected”. Michael Hallowes said that feasibility of such public alert system would be discussed in Brussels on May 16, 2019, and urged Russia to join the 28 EU member-states in this initiative.
Critical Communications Russia 2019 completed with an extensive session, dedicated to digital technologies and smart solutions for professional communications. It featured presentations from Andrey Strakholis – Doctor of Engineering, Associate Professor at the Academy of Public Fire Services of the Russian Emergency Ministry, Sergey Kireev – Executive Director of Collection Management of Cash Circulation Management Center, Sberbank of Russia, Pavel Pogrebinskiy – Deputy Director General - Director of Information Technology, Organizing Committee of the UEFA Euro 2020 in Russia, Dmitriy Novikov – Deputy Head of Communication Networks Development and Support, Central Communication Stations - a subsidiary of Russian Railways, and CEO of ATS Smolniy Felix Kasatkin.
Thus, Sergey Kireev reminded that operating and technological processes in Sberbank are controlled via terrestrial mobile radio systems rolled out in every region of Russia using DMR equipment. They encompass over 12,000 radio stations. However, when it comes to service outlets located in big shopping centers, CIT guards may face difficulties contacting the dispatch center because of bad radio signal reception between reinforced concrete structures and, also, in places, where there is no access to the technological mobile radio network. To address this problem, Sberbank’s Collection Management Department has introduced data collection terminals and Mobile Agent TRBOnet app, which allows to turn any smartphone into a mobile agent. “Implementation of “mobile agents” has already allowed us to get rid of mobile radio stations on routes, attended by just one CIT guard,” said Sergey Kireev. “In the future, if ‘mobile agents” prove successful, we may fully decommission mobile radio stations.”
Traditionally for COMNEWS events, many participants of Critical Communications Russia 2019 found new potential customers and partners through fruitful networking. Next year, at the 8th conference Critical Communications Russia, scheduled for April 2020, organizers aim to further discuss the topics, touched upon at this year’s event, and continue consolidating a professional discussion platform for government officials, responsible for complex security and its elements, experts on the subject from big corporations representing all sectors of the economy, and vendors of innovative digital solutions.