ETSI enables intercontinental testing for next-generation emergency communications

Sophia Antipolis, 23 March 2021

ETSI has successfully completed its international emergency communications interoperability testing event. 285 test pairings, with 87% demonstrating interoperability, were run from 22 February to 5 March 2021, both in Europe and across the Atlantic to assess the compatibility of products for mission-critical public safety services. This remote event was a cooperation between ETSI, EENA, the European Emergency Number Association and for the first time NENA, the 9-1-1 Association.

Vendors of emergency communication equipment connected to test Next Generation 112 and NG9-1-1 technologies, responding to the increasing requirements and demands of content-rich, IP-based emergency calling. Stakeholders included NGCS vendors, Forest Guide developers, user agents, mobile operators and call handling vendors. Government bodies, policy makers and local authorities also joined in to discuss implementation in their countries. Participants tested components of the emergency communication chain such as location and location-based call routing, audio, video, real-time text, policy based routing and core services based on ETSI TS 103 479, developed by the ETSI EMTEL Special Committee.

“ETSI and EENA are delighted to have collaborated on this milestone intercontinental testing event. Crossing borders and oceans, the event helped to ensure efficient, interoperable emergency communications for all citizens. We believe that the testing will make a significant contribution to public safety in Europe and the USA, driving forward the implementation of lifesaving Next Generation communications in our continents,” said Cristina Lumbreras, Technical Director, EENA and Chair of ETSI EMTEL committee. “NG112 is already transforming emergency response, improving accessibility to emergency services and allowing interconnections between Public Safety Answering Points. However, for Next Generation communications to function effectively, standardization and interoperability are crucial," she added.

For the first time, testing sessions were carried out across the Atlantic in conjunction with NENA's ICE 9 event, the first test of emergency call routing across international borders using voice, video, and text to simulate international roaming scenarios. ICE 9 participants validated compliance with current NG9-1-1 and NG112 standards, namely ETSI TS 103 479, gaining knowledge that only collaborative, multi-party testing can provide.

“These first-ever international NG9-1-1 and NG112 tests allow us to evaluate our consensus-based standards internationally,” highlighted NENA President Gary Bell, ENP. “This enables public safety to not only interoperate internationally, but also to expand the field of technical solutions available to organisations in the United States and Europe.”

To enable this fully remote Plugtests, HIVE nomad solutions have been deployed in the US for a transatlantic link. HIVE is the Hub for Interoperability and Validation at ETSI providing remote access to all participants. Based on Firewall/router equipment, HIVE is totally independent, aside from ETSI infrastructure, and managed by its own rules and constraints.

About ETSI
ETSI provides members with an open and inclusive environment to support the development, ratification and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT systems and services across all sectors of industry and society.  We are a not-for-profit body with more than 900 member organizations worldwide, drawn from 65 countries and five continents. Members comprise a diversified pool of large and small private companies, research entities, academia, government and public organizations. ETSI is officially recognized by the EU as a European Standards Organization (ESO). For more information please visit us at https://www.etsi.org/.

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Claire Boyer
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