The unmissable updates from the BAPCO Annual Conference

We take a look back over the tech-packed two days of the BAPCO Annual Conference 2019 – seeking out the trends, the latest tech and what themes are emerging from the public safety sector that may impact the control room.


First up, we learned more about reverse 999 from Michael Hallowes of Zefonar Advisory Limited who took an in-depth look into the UK’s operational requirements and how the system will integrate with existing control room and incident management procedures.

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In the UK, a Mobile Emergency Alerting Project will move into the mainstream operational capabilities for the UK emergency services next year. The project is focusing on the capability, in an emergency for the authorities to locate everyone with a mobile phone within proximity to danger, alert them remotely to risk and provide them with the information needed to stay safe.

Key things to take away from the session:

  • A telephone alert is the preferred method by which the community wants to be alerted to an emergency.

  • It is the official warning most likely to motivate households to evacuate or take other positive action required by the emergency services.

  • 80% of people who have received a telephone alert now expect to receive one for any future event.

  • For those who rely on a single source for information in an emergency, 32% depend on their telephone for a warning, and

  • 82% of people surveyed stated that their “safety beats privacy” when it comes to telephone alerts


Day one also saw Paul Ward of Etelm delivery a session on how to overcome the challenges of TETRA and LTE interconnection

This session kicked off highlighting the challenges to network users and operators from a technical, operational and financial point.

This session discussed the challenges that need to be overcome when looking at ways to connect TETRA and LTE users, including performance, features, interoperability, management, maintainability, security and costs of operation. Some of these challenges are creating barriers for users to deploy LTE.

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Describing the advantages of using both LTE and TETRA, Paul said: “TETRA is widely deployed and has been a proven technology for 20 plus years for use cases such as cities, industrial campuses, and critical, tactical sites. It works in lower bands so has good coverage and lower costs. However, LTE allows much more bandwidth and opens a new world for applications, especially now new LTE mission critical standards are being established by 3GPP.”

Ward summarised the benefits of allowing TETRA and LTE to interwork in a unifed way, including how it provides financial benefits of one single network, an optimised solution for technical performances, an answer to operational challenges, and is operationally fit for hybrid solutions. He then described the results achieved following deployments of ETELM’s 4GLinked solution, which was designed to integrate TETRA and LTE in a single core, single database solution.

Concluding his presentation, Ward summarised how mission critical users can realise an enormous amount of benefits should they adopt an integrated solution as opposed to an interconnected solution. Benefits included “centralised management, improved PTT set-up times, reduced recurring costs, interoperability and compliance, improved network performance compared to multiple networks, unlimited inter-technology communications, extended life of legacy user equipment and network security.”


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And let’s not forget, our very own Mike Isherwood took to the stage not once but twice, to deliver a session around managing demand and how we make the most of the opportunities it presents.

Managing control room demand is one of the biggest operational challenges faced by the emergency services. But what that pattern of demand looks like will be different for every service – Mike covered the challenges and opportunities.

Mike’s nine area’s of focus, included:

  1. Design processes for the modern day public

  2. Improve first point of contact resolution

  3. Manage public expectations

  4. Provide online automated channels to shift demand

  5. Consider the use of an IVR and Chat bots where appropriate

  6. Encourage the use online help

  7. Use integrated software with open API’s

  8. Record, analyse and share all possible data

  9. Proactively manage staff turnover through initiatives such as the Mind Bluelight program, employee recognition schemes and awards

If you missed the sessions and would like a copy of the presentation with the topics covered, please drop us a note. 


We also heard from Geoff Waterhouse from NSW Ambulance, Australia. He shared some insights into current and future trends in emergency medical communications

In the past, the role of paramedics was primarily to transport people to hospital, with limited time or technology to do much more. However, demand for hospital resource continues to increase: 

  • Hospitals are stretched because more people go to hospitals now, rather than to their doctor

  • More options for public communications mean that instead of a traditional emergency telephone call, people ring up anywhere for anything on their cell phone if they need help

Most services remain committed to taking the patient to the hospital. But a new emergency medical model is evolving, which takes the hospital to the patient. Consequently, emergency medical organisations must now build up technology and capability in their fleets, so that paramedics can do more for patients.

The Connected Clinician model that NSW Ambulance is working toward allows to connect multiple activities more securely. With everything operating across one mobility platform, it introduces a whole suite of new applications for paramedics. 
Geoff is convinced that unifying Critical Communications will be a game changer for his organisation and others like it.


To finish…

We’re passionate about supporting control rooms and wanted to share this spine-tingling video of the reality of working in a one.

This was shown at the BAPCO Conference 2019 and we think it truly captures the essence and heart of the profession and everyone who works in the critical control sector.

Meet us at the BAPCO Annual Conference 2020

We’re exhibiting again at the conference, which will take place in Coventry 10-11 March 2020. If you’d like to get in touch with us before then, just drop us a note at hello@apdcomms.com or call us on 01482 808300.