Technical Committee (TC) Emergency Telecommunications (EMTEL) Activity Report 2023

Chair: Cristina Lumbreras, EENA

Responsible for identifying the operational and technical requirements of those involved in the provision of emergency communications, to capture and consolidate requirements from relevant stakeholders and for liaison with other organizations involved in this field.

Our Emergency Communications Technical Committee (TC EMTEL) is focused on the access to emergency services through different media, data transmission to public safety answering points, networks and IoT (Internet of Things) devices in the provision of emergency situations and in the context of the European Public Warning System. The scope of its work includes emergency communications between individuals and authorities/organisations; between authorities/organisations; and between individuals.

Much of the committee’s activity is centred on IP-based emergency communications services, involving communications between IoT devices in emergency situations. This work includes the architecture (known as Next Generation 112 by the community), core elements and technical interfaces for network-independent access to emergency services.

To date, most emergency services have only been able to receive voice telephone calls. Published in March 2023, a revised version of Technical Specification TS 103 479 V1.2.1 defines next generation core services (NGCS) that will enable users to utilize multimedia communications (voice, photos, video, text) to contact a relevant emergency call centre. The revision includes a technical basis for national packet switched infrastructures, giving access to emergency services communications for all citizens. This includes the requirement to support Total Conversation (i.e. voice, video and text combined in a single conversation) and real-time text which can, for instance, assist hearing-impaired people.

In November the committee published a new Technical Specification TS 103 945 V1.1.1 ‘PEMEA Audio Video Extension’, specifying requirements, protocol elements and procedures for a multi-party audio-video capability for PEMEA (Pan-European Mobile Emergency Application).

Issued in March, TS 103 625 V1.3.1 revises our Technical Specification that describes the content and transport methods used for AML (Advanced Mobile Location) messages with handset-derived location information and associated data. It also considers the future evolution of transport methods as public safety answering points (PSAPs), networks and terminals become increasingly IP based.

Published in April, TR 102 445 V1.2.1 updates our Technical Report offering an overview of emergency communications network resilience and preparedness. The revision applies the defined concepts of resilience and preparedness to more recent communication network technologies used by emergency services.

In June we published a revision of TS 102 900 V1.4.1 that specifies system requirements for a European Public Warning Service using the Cell Broadcast Service as a means of message distribution and delivery. This revision adds support for Device-Based Geo-Fencing to EU-Alert, and includes silent alert and the alert with the default device ringtone and vibration.

During the year progress continued on a number of further Work Items, notably:

  • A new Technical Specification (to be published as TS 103 480) on interoperability testing of core elements for network independent access to emergency services.
  • A revision of existing Technical Specification TS 101 470 on Total Conversation Access to Emergency Services.
  • A new Technical Specification (to be published as TS 103 873) on ESInet peering requirements - summarizing requirements for interconnecting mobile operators (IMS) or VoIP service providers with an ESInet.
  • A new Technical Specification (to be published as TS 103 919) on the accessibility and interoperability of emergency communications and for the answering of emergency communications by the public safety answering point (PSAPs) (including to the single European Emergency number 112). It will be the basis for developing the Harmonised Standard (to be published as EN 303 919) in answer to the EC Standardisation Request on Accessibility/M587.
  • We are also revising Technical Report TR 104 020 on Terms and Definitions for Emergency Communications Emergency Communications Terminology. This reflects recent legislative changes (e.g. Directive (EU) 2018/1972 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/444), causing a need to align definitions in ETSI deliverables.

The fifth NG112 Emergency Communications remote Plugtests™ event was held from 23 January - 3 February 2023 with the support of EMTEL, in cooperation with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA). The aim of the event was to trial components of the 112 communication chain based on Next Generation networks, with an overall success rate of 100% of executed tests achieved during the sessions. Topics included Location Based Emergency Call Routing, Policy Based Emergency Call Routing, Next Generation Media Types and interconnecting different ESInet deployments. An online workshop held after the event focused on test results of ETSI NG eCall 2022 and NG112 Plugtests 2023 events. A PEMEA Plugtests event is scheduled in February 2024.

Throughout 2023 the committee has maintained its liaison with organizations outside ETSI, such the Electronic Communications Committee of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT ECC). It also follows the activities of organizations including the US National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), the Telecommunications Standardisation sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and various fora and consortia, including the Internet Engineering Task Force working group on Emergency Context Resolution with Internet Technologies (IETF-ECRIT).

See the full list of current TC EMTEL Work Items here.