[Interview] How Samsung’s LTE Innovations Are Enhancing Public Safety Communications

on May 29, 2017
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As a leading Public Safety LTE (PS-LTE) solution provider, Samsung Electronics has, in the past few years, concentrated on innovating to provide reliable wireless communications in response to the growing global demand for public safety networks.


This past March, for example, the company successfully showcased a multilateral call enabled by mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT), a key feature of PS-LTE. In April, Samsung’s LTE-Railway (LTE-R) solution was successfully launched on a South Korean metro line. This is considered to be the first instance that Korea has utilized the technology during train operation.


Jaeseo Kim of Global Sales & Marketing Team at Samsung’s Networks Business, sat down with Samsung Newsroom to discuss some of the measures the company is taking to help public safety services operate effectively in times of crisis.




Q. In a nutshell, what is PS-LTE?


Daily digital tasks like streaming video and browsing the web on a smartphone are all possible thanks to the technological evolution of 4G LTE. While this high-speed wireless communication technology has brought many positive changes into our everyday lives, it has also benefited the public safety sector.


PS-LTE solutions make use of the advantages of LTE to enable public safety officers to easily share emergency-related information in the form of real-time video and high quality images, which is something that is not possible with other safety networks.


In other words, PS-LTE will serve as a foundation that will allow all relevant personnel to respond to disaster situations effectively by utilizing the same spectrum (700 MHz, in Korea’s case) and technology.


Q. What sets PS-LTE apart from existing public safety technologies?


The strength of a public safety network lies in its ability to provide a seamless and reliable communication service between diverse organizations and individuals.


Currently, most disaster response institutions make use of their own networks, which utilize different frequencies and technologies and make inter-organizational communication almost impossible. When responding to a fire emergency, for example, a firefighter would have to carry multiple transceivers in order to communicate with both the fire and police control centers, as the two agencies use different technologies.


PS-LTE based on 3GPP global standards, however, offers a single unified network allowing for synchronized communication and thus faster response times, and enables individual networks for each organization through virtualization technology.


Yet one of the biggest advantages of PS-LTE networks is data connectivity. While incumbent public safety networks generally only support very low data rates and voice-oriented usage, PS-LTE can transfer high volumes of data instantly. This means that high quality images and video can be transmitted, enabling the use of various applications such as live streaming during emergency situations or the use of mapping software for locating or directing mission-critical assets or concerns.



Q. In February of 2017, Samsung successfully conducted – for the first time in the world – a live multilateral video call using MCPTT technology. What is MCPTT and why is it important?


Mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) is an international standard set by 3GPP that allows public safety agencies to leverage LTE technological advancements for mission-critical communications. It enables thousands of devices to be connected at once to transfer video, images and voice simultaneously using multicast technology.


The main benefits of MCPTT technology can be summed up in three points. First off, the response time is 300 milliseconds, which is faster than LTE (600 milliseconds). Second, key figures such as the president, the authority in charge of an entire scene, as well as those responsible for reporting situations will be given priority in terms of communication. Finally, the technology will allow for a level of seamless connectivity that is unaffected by the environment. These benefits explain why MCPTT is regarded as the key technology in PS-LTE networks.


The success of the video call proved that MCPTT is a feasible technology and is also capable of providing seamless, high-resolution video calls between control centers and responders in emergency situations. The technology will help responders obtain a more accurate view of the scene than what is possible with only voice services, and will be applied to actual public safety networks beginning in early 2018.


MCPTT-based services will ensure reliable communication for multiple users through other PS-LTE key features such as GCSE (Group Call Service Enablers), LTE broadcast (eMBMS), VoLTE and D2D (Device-to-device) communication.


Samsung demonstrates a multilateral video call conducted between a central control station and public safety agencies using MCPTT technology



Q. In what other areas can PS-LTE technology be applied?


The possibilities are endless! One example is the LTE-Railroad (LTE-R) service, a high-speed, LTE-based railroad and subway wireless network that enables smooth mission-critical communications between train personnel and control centers using real-time multimedia group calls and texts on top of existing voice calls.


Since introducing the world’s first end-to-end PS-LTE portfolio based on 3GPP standards in February of 2016, we have begun to replace existing analogue wireless technology to ensure that all features concerning voice (individual, group, emergency, priority calls, and broadcast), video (video meetings and CCTV passenger monitoring), and data (control signal and large data file transfer) services can be integrated.


Samsung served as a leading participant in all five of South Korea’s LTE-R projects. Among them, the nation’s first LTE-R service, which was deployed in Line 1 of the Busan Metro in April, has enabled us to prove the reliability of our PS-LTE technology. It is also being deployed for high-speed trains that connect the cities of Wonju and Gangneung.


The trains operating on Korea’s Wonju-Gangneung line represent the world’s first case of LTE-R being applied to a high-speed train that travels as fast as 300km/h. The project marks the beginning of the commercialization of the Korea Rail Network Authority’s (KRNA) nationwide high-speed train business, which will take place in early 2018. Furthermore, Samsung aims to continue collaborating with the organization to create more innovative technologies.




Q. What would be the prospective vision for Samsung in this public safety industry?


The demand for effective, inter-organizational public safety communications has increased dramatically. It’s estimated that the worldwide PS-LTE market is expected to grow over 12 billion dollars in 2020. So, to ensure that these needs are met, Samsung is taking a leadership role as the world’s first end-to-end provider based on 3GPP standards with a virtualized core.


PS-LTE and LTE-R are just beginning to see wider use, and currently serve purely as means to handle emergency or disaster situations. Samsung, however, is setting its sights higher. Our next step will be to provide an intelligent PS-LTE solution that combines the latest developments in artificial intelligence, PS-IoT and video analytics with a unified PS-LTE network.


Our goal is for Samsung’s intelligent PS-LTE technology to eventually enable ‘intelligent disaster prevention,’ which will be possible when the technology develops to a level where it can detect elements of danger. This will be realized through the automated monitoring and analysis of natural disasters that threaten public safety, such as tsunamis, floods, forest fires and earthquakes.

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