Welcome to the Third Edition of the NEXES Newsletter!

The three-year NEXES Research and Innovation Action on the development of next generation emergency services is half-way through and, in this issue, we will be looking back over the busy last six months of 2016.

This period could perhaps be called the 3 I’s – implementation, integration and interaction. As you will see, this current issue features various articles underlying the activities undertaken by the NEXES Team that fall within those categories.

NEXES has successfully attained the objectives for Milestone 3 – Start of Integration Activities for NEXES Iteration One: the NEXES core system and the NEXES App API are now implemented, the first iteration of the NEXES Testbed is completed and the NEXES Exercise Plan for NEXES Iteration One is defined and agreed upon by all NEXES partners.

NEXES captured the need for changes and adaptations in the public communications infrastructure to support the advanced capabilities provided by next generation emergency services. Aside from the implementation of a powerful IMS-based service and of an advanced location facility, NEXES considered the importance of delivering new emergency services fully interoperable with existing legacy systems, hence the design and implementation of the NEXES Gateways.
Further, a focused effort was dedicated to the design of emergency Apps capable of embodying the European standardisation and harmonisation effort. The NEXES API is the basis required by any developer wanting to explore the world of next generation emergency Apps.

The NEXES Testbed opens now the opportunity to begin the testing and validation of all NEXES components, as the NEXES Consortium prepares for several demonstrations that will definitely establish NEXES’s added value for citizens and emergency services in Europe and beyond.

As the interaction amongst NEXES partners increases, also the activity to engage key stakeholders in NEXES’s impact generation grows bolder. With the valuable assistance of an experienced and broad-ranging End-Users Advisory Board, NEXES has leveraged its ambitious campaigns of demonstration to raise enthusiasm and momentum towards the paced adoption of next generation emergency services.

In this third edition of the NEXES Newsletter, we present you a selection of articles and news that highlight the accomplishments of the NEXES Consortium. With a special focus on core functions and emergency Apps, NEXES continues its path onward to becoming the first reference implementation of a next generation emergency service.

We kindly invite you to find out more about NEXES at http://nexes.eu.

Marco Manso
NEXES Coordinator

 

The NEXES App API

In the effort to design, implement and promote NEXES as the reference implementation of next generation emergency services for Europe and beyond, it has been deemed instrumental to create the NEXES Application Programming Interface (API) for the development of NEXES-based emergency applications (Apps) capable of connecting to and exchanging relevant information with next generation emergency services.

Applying the applicable NEXES system requirements for emergency Apps and the NEXES Pan-European Specification for Emergency Apps (PESEA), designed to provide a complete emergency calling application ecosystem, the NEXES partners defined and implemented the NEXES App API enabling a variety of emergency calling methods as well as the ability to provide ancillary data to support citizens in distress and emergency services.

The work leveraged thus on open source components, standards and protocols and focused on key functionalities that ought to be offered by emergency Apps ambitioning to serve next generation emergency services. Amongst those functions are: the connection to the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) server, the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) protocols for call initiation, the video codecs and the interface for device data exchange, including Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based location information.

Specifically, the NEXES App API implemented two types of components. One component is dedicated to the calling mechanism and ensures the emergency App provides not only conventional (native) voice calling services but also Total Conversation capabilities, using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) technologies. The second component concerns data exchange and allows the emergency App to store, handle and share with emergency services additional information, namely location data, contact details and medical facts, to support a more personalised and effective emergency response.

The open NEXES App API consequently delivers reliable source code and binaries to enable functionalities that support the placing of emergency calls in an all-IP environment. Aside from assisting the ongoing development of the NEXES App for citizens, the NEXES App API intends to facilitate the design and implementation effort associated with the creation of next generation emergency Apps.

Together with the open source code, software and documentation, the NEXES partners make available a location server and the NEXES Mini Demo App to clearly demonstrate the advanced functions of the NEXES App API and, ultimately, of the NEXES App.

Moreover, the NEXES partners will continue to apply a broad dissemination and communication effort involving the NEXES App API, hoping to successfully engage a large App developers community into awareness on the importance of providing society with next generation emergency Apps. Ultimately, NEXES aims to build a rich NEXES-based emergency App ecosystem, capable of echoing NEXES’s positive impact and delivering more and better functionalities for citizens and emergency services.

At the NEXES Core

The NEXES Research and Innovation Action aims to empower the integration of Internet-enabled technologies into emergency services in Europe and beyond.
What is the transformation required by public communications networks to support next generation emergency calls? How to ensure novel location and the exchange of critical information capabilities? In what way will interoperability with legacy emergency systems be guaranteed?

For the past year, NEXES partners have been dedicated to designing and implementing the core of next generation emergency services.

Abiding to an extensive set of system requirements that observe the users’ needs and expectations and comply with applicable regulations, recognised standards and best practices, the NEXES partners have been working hard to determine the adaptation works to be performed on public communications networks, to define an architecture for network and service convergence, to implement the critical and structural location function and to address the need for seamless interoperability.

Public communications networks are the basic infrastructure enabling the connection between citizens in distress and emergency responders. As mobile and fixed/landline communications networks evolve to empower next generation 112 emergency services, including the placing of emergency calls over IP networks, in support of total conversation capabilities and the use of 112 emergency applications as an over-the-top service, extensive adaptations to the access and the core network elements are required.

NEXES partners successfully designed and implemented a novel functional network architecture, representing the call flow of end-to-end next generation emergency calls, that is capable of handling IP-enabled emergency calls with a suitable end-to-end quality of service.

Specifically, mobile and fixed/landline communications networks were analysed and adapted from legacy circuit-switched towards packet-switched implementations, enabling emergency calls that use Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE), Voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) and Over-The-Top (OTT) technologies. The development of an access network for the VoLTE and VoWiFi technologies and the integration of an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) platform were key in establishing the new architecture for network and service convergence to handle next generation emergency calls, including those resorting to an OTT emergency application. Further, the migration activities ensured adequate support to the use of total conversation capabilities, the provision of accurate location information and the exchange of data concerning the user calling emergency services. Also relevant aspects concerning the routing to the most appropriate emergency service, prioritisation of emergency calls over regular calls and quality of service were duly addressed.

Overall, NEXES’s focus on universality (oriented to any public communications network), accessibility (support of total conversation capabilities) interoperability (coexistence of legacy systems and the new IP-based architecture) and innovation (OTT emergency applications over VoLTE and VoWiFi networks) highlights the opportunity and way forward to transform public communications networks to support next generation emergency services at a pan-European level.

Location in emergency calls is a critical function that serves two primary objectives: to determine the right emergency service to send the call to and to enabling the emergency responders on the field to find the citizen in need.
Next generation emergency services aim to benefit from advanced location capabilities that enable the attainment of those objectives with increased precision and accuracy and in less time.

NEXES partners are therefore concentrated in providing reliable and secure location functions, considering new devices and network access. Based on the state-of-the-art and architecturally appropriate specifications and standards, NEXES succeeds in providing advanced location capabilities by enabling access to location information from a wide range of new and evolving access technologies including 4G/LTE networks, WiFi Access Points, private enterprise networks and Global Navigation Satellite System positioning. Device-based location solutions can deliver highly accurate location information and WiFi location systems can provide accurate indoor positioning, having a very positive impact for callers requesting assistance and for emergency responders on-route.

Implementing a Location Information Server (LIS) functional in all-IP environments, associated with the access or an emergency application framework derived from the Pan-European Specifications for Emergency Applications (PESEA), is NEXES answer to provide better location information to emergency services, leading to improved call routing and the efficient dispatch of emergency responders. NEXES also provides a hybrid solution where an application location server, the GeoHub, may gather location information from a device application or subsystem and determine a route to an emergency gateway for pre-arranged areas. The NEXES solutions cover application-only architectures, OTT VoIP architectures, Total Conversation architectures, hybrid application voice-provider architectures and carrier IMS architectures. Related risks, issues and opportunities concerning anonymity, security and the identification of potential hoax or false calls are also addressed.

As a result, NEXES provides an extensive set of mechanisms and protocols for the acquisition, conveyance to, and updating of highly-accurate location information for emergency services that far exceed what is available in Europe today.

Indeed, the NEXES partners are quite aware that mainstream emergency services across Europe rely on fixed/landline and wireless circuit switched (legacy) originating networks and legacy emergency systems. As a consequence, NEXES has attentively considered the need to ensure interoperability, responsible for enabling legacy calls to reach next generation emergency services and next generation emergency calls to reach legacy emergency services.

The NEXES Gateways provide the necessary interworking functions for both signalling and media communication between the legacy and next generation systems to be implemented in any 3GPP network. Based on the recommendations by the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), NEXES Gateways are the Legacy Network Gateway (LNG), used to allow the interconnection of legacy access call origination with next generation emergency services, and the Legacy PSAP Gateway (LPG), used to allow interconnection of legacy emergency services with IP-based networks handling next generation emergency calls.

The NEXES-implemented LNG and LPG gateways are deployed and tested for integration with a fully IP and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based IMS network, as defined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and with a legacy network with SS7 signalling protocol, defined in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In particular, NEXES implemented the SS7-to-SIP interworking function and the conversion of Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) voice coding to the IMS Real-Time Protocol (RTP) data and audio codecs to enable the connection with legacy networks. Also NEXES created the interconnection between the IMS-based mobile/fixed network with the legacy TDM emergency call taking and handling systems with no Internet-enabled technologies. Hence, NEXES assures emergency communications between legacy systems and next generation IP-based systems.

NEXES Gateways are thus mandatory for a smooth migration of emergency systems from legacy environments towards an all IP-environment. It is expected for their use to be merely temporary, as NEXES partners continue to work in the design and implementation of next generation emergency services and these become the new paradigm worldwide.

NEXES: A Part of the Solutions for Smart Cities

Orange Romania Sets NEXES’s Vanguard at Romanian Flagship Conference

Building upon the relevant experience of 2015 Smart Cities Romania Conference, Orange Romania (ORO) expanded its sponsorship and presence at this year’s edition of the Romanian flagship conference and presented the latest NEXES developments as it unveils the challenges of next generation emergency services for progressive city needs. On November 8th and 9th 2016, ORO participated thus at the 2016 Smart Cities Romania Conference dedicated to the “Infrastructure Challenges For Government And Municipalities” (http://www.romaniasmartcities.ro/en/).

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-3-44-43-pm

ORO presented its state-of-the-art solutions to the global community of city leaders, other technology and solution providers, investors and innovators who are working together on the next generation of Smart City solutions. Within the theme of the Conference, ORO ministered a presentation titled the “Security Awareness and Next Generation Emergency Services” that highlighted how NEXES will use novel technologies to better connect the community, improving citizen services and finding more intelligent ways to manage resources in the emergency field.

Focusing on the actual emergency services across Europe, ORO presented specific scenarios where the NEXES advanced capabilities make a real difference in the quality of life of citizens and the outcome of emergency situations. The NEXES achievements with respect to the development and integration of IP-enabled communications, the implementation of innovative emergency Apps and the creation of the NEXES Testing Regime and Validation Framework were described as a result of thorough new end-users requirements and the compliance to pan-European standards and the EU regulatory framework. Overall, it was very clear the real impact NEXES will produce in the life of citizens and the emergency services’ daily operations.

The two-day conference gathered more than one hundred participants from the academia, SMEs, industry and professionals as well as decision-makers, regional authorities and city representatives and was an excellent opportunity to promote NEXES advances and engage key stakeholders in the evolution path towards next generation emergency services.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-3-45-23-pm

NEXES Hits A New Milestone: It’s Integration Time!

The NEXES Testbed Promises Exciting New Discoveries for Next Generation Emergency Services

The NEXES Consortium announces today that the Third Milestone of the NEXES Research and Innovation Action has been successfully reached. NEXES is starting the integration activities that will enable the testing and validation of the new functions and capabilities brought by the NEXES components, through a long and ambitious campaigns of demonstration, comprising a broad spectrum of exercises, pilots and showcases.

At the Milestone 3 Meeting held in November 7th 2016, the NEXES partners unanimously agreed that the present status of the NEXES RIA provides all the required ingredients to move forward with the NEXES integration activities, thus sealing the attainment of Milestone 3. In this context, the NEXES Consortium has completed the design and implementation of the NEXES Core System and of the NEXES App Application Programming Interface (API), which stand as cornerstones of NEXES as a new paradigm of emergency services unveils. Whilst NEXES partners completed the adaptations required by public communications networks to support advanced total conversation, location and information exchange capabilities, also the NEXES Gateways ensured that interoperability with legacy systems is not overlooked, thus facilitating a paced adoption of the next generation functionalities. Furthermore, the NEXES App API is key for the development of the NEXES App for citizens and for First Responders, enabling a wide variety of emergency calling methods, as well as the ability to provide a host of ancillary data to support citizens in distress and emergency services. Applying the applicable NEXES system requirements for emergency Apps and the NEXES Pan-European Specification for Emergency Apps (PESEA), the NEXES App API is also instrumental for the NEXES partners’ intent of building a rich NEXES-based emergency App ecosystem, capable of delivering more and better functionalities for citizens and emergency services and of promoting a wider NEXES impact.

“NEXES has been able to maintain a high-level of innovation and sophistication as we drive on to disrupt the market of emergency services”, said Marco Manso, Director of Innovation of RINICOM and NEXES Coordinator. “With the consolidation of results at the infrastructure, system and applications levels, NEXES is now perfectly balanced to start a new phase of experimentation that will build NEXES Iteration One, that is the first implementation ever of an end-to-end next generation emergency service. All NEXES partners are enthusiastic to embark in this new adventure and shed a new light on the transition to emergency services capable of providing true solutions for citizens in distress.”

NEXES Reinforces Omnitor’s Offer in Pitch Event

Förskrivarkonferens 2016 Announced the Latest Products for the Deaf Community

Förskrivarkonferens 2016 is a known pitch event for suppliers of communication aids to the deaf and hard of hearing community. This year’s event was held on Stockholm on October 17th and 18th and it gathered government representatives, elements from the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) and the Swedish Agency for Participation (MFD) and the responsible entities prescribing communication aids from all Swedish County Councils and Regions.

Förskrivarkonferens is a well-known pitch event in the community, recognised for presenting and displaying the latest available products, services and projects that convey communication aids for the deaf and hard of hearing. NEXES partner Omnitor is a leading supplier of communication devices that enable Total Conversation (voice, real-time text, image and video) and make a true difference on the daily life of those challenged by disability or impairment.

To reinforce its unique portfolio, Omnitor referred to the advances being explored within the NEXES Action with respect to the building of next generation emergency services by bringing new Total Conversation technologies to the communication dynamics between citizens and emergency services. Further, Omnitor described how NEXES has been implementing and validating enhanced capabilities to propose emergency services that are truly democratic, universal and inclusive, contributing to uphold equal access to all citizens, namely impacting the safety and security of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Within NEXES’s communication and dissemination effort, Omnitor’s participation in this pitch event highlights how the participation in beyond-state-of-the-art European research and innovation initiatives, such as NEXES, acts as a powerful endorsement and credibility boost for novel products and services as they enter the market and are known to potential customers and key stakeholders.

NEXES Joins Celebration of the World’s Deaf Day 2016

EUD Presents NEXES Accessibility Innovations to A Belgian Audience

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-3-23-54-pm

“Security and safety concerns of the deaf and hard-of-hearing” has been the theme of this year’s celebration of the World’s Deaf Day organised by the Belgian Deaf Association (Fédération Francophone des Sourds de Belgique or FFSB) on September 24th 2016 at the Libramont Exhibition & Congress in Belgium.

The World’s Deaf Day or Journée Mondiale des Sourds is one of FFSB’s biggest events, representing an awareness day to the Deaf Cause, signalling the many daily challenges the deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens still endure. The event brought together key stakeholders working with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Belgium and focused on the field of emergency services, delivering a comprehensive overview of the current deployments in this area and of ongoing research and development initiatives, such as NEXES.

Representing the NEXES Consortium, EUD participated in a round table dedicated to the emergency services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and described the novel NEXES propositions for a democratic, universal and inclusive emergency service, characterised by total conversation, enhanced location and improved interoperability capabilities. NEXES’s advances aim to rapidly bring new Internet-based technologies close to practical applications in the emergency services field, making a truly valuable contribution to the improvement of the quality of life for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.frankie

Part of NEXES’s communication and dissemination effort, EUD’s participation in this year’s FFSB event served to reinforce the NEXES’s accessibility message and connect with the global deaf and hard-of-hearing community, sharing how next generation emergency services will impact on the safety and security concerns of that community. It was also an opportunity to build new collaborations that can transfer the success of the NEXES Action to society.

audience

Omnitor Hosts a NEXES Event with the Swedish Emergency Services

The Exercise Focused on NEXES’s Accessibility Solutions to Existing Shortcomings

unspecifiedOmnitor, the NEXES expert partner in Total Conversation and Standardisation for Emergency Services, organised a workshop and an exercise show-casing NEXES’s Accessibility Features to the Swedish Emergency Services on September 20th 2016, in Stockholm, Sweden.

The NEXES Swedish Event aimed to achieve a deeper understanding of the routines and capabilities of the present 112 service, as well as its limitations, while gathering valuable feedback and know-how from Swedish emergency professionals, including representatives from the Swedish PSAP operator (SOS Alarm), the Agency for Participation (MFD) and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), that exhibited extensive experience with the 112 service operations. The show-case of NEXES solutions exhibited how NEXES proposes to improve the communication and information exchange between citizens and emergency services and amongst emergency services’ agencies.

unspecified-3

Using three fictional scenarios addressing sign language, public alerts and location issues, Omnitor was able not only to identify existing procedures in the Swedish emergency services and its shortcomings, but also to present the solutions envisaged in NEXES in what respect to Total Conversation, multi-language services, enhanced location details, automatic exchange of health and medical information, distribution of targeted public alerts, pre-defined messages and interoperability between emergency services across Europe.

The exercise was considered a great success by all involved participants and contributed to promote the awareness and understanding of relevant Swedish stakeholders with respect to the NEXES’s innovations and its contributions to the pan-European standardisation effort. NEXES and the Swedish stakeholders will continue to work together in the proposed NEXES System and App functionalities so that NEXES can make a real difference to the Swedish society.

unspecified-2

NEXES Participates In the 2016 Nordic Police Research Conference

Poster Presentation on NEXES Results: Developing Next Generation Emergency Services

The 2016 Nordic Police Research Conference brought together almost 100 participants on the 8th and 9th September 2016 in Oslo, Norway. The central theme of the conference was (Police) Reforms and changes in the police.

The doors of the 2016 Nordic Police Research Conference opened to welcome police researchers and practitioners from police institutions, training schools and colleges to explore, discuss and engage with the latest innovative scientific research in the realm of police research. The Police University College (POLAMK) created a poster presentation titled “Developing Next Generation Emergency Services”, calling attention to the need of integrating new Interned-enabled technologies in the communication and information exchange dynamics of emergency response. Important and unique features of NEXES are its Total Conversation capabilities to promote a more inclusive emergency service to citizens experiencing disability, impairment or special needs, and its capacity to acquire and handle automated emergency calls, while automatically sharing information on location, environmental conditions and health parameters.

14212069_10154533717938501_431102400856343310_n

POLAMK’s participation in the Nordic Police Research Conference was key to empower NEXES’s broad recognition within the police researchers’ and practitioners’ community. Many representatives of the community were indeed surprised by the diversity of NEXES’s propositions, most of them relevant to the police work. The Police Research Conference provided a platform to generate awareness and promote NEXES’s ambitious effort, forming a link with the scientific research and innovation domain.

NEXES Attended the TEMU Conference

NEXES RIA Invited to the Next Generation Emergency Services Workshop

Rinicom, Deveryware and Teamnet International presented the NEXES RIA at The screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-5-59-07-pmInternational Conference on Telecommunications and Multimedia (TEMU), held on 27th July 2016 in Heraklion (Crete), Greece. Conducted under the Technical Co-Sponsorship of IEEE/ComSoc, the TEMU Conference provides a forum for discussion on recent advances in wired and wireless communication systems, audiovisual applications and content creation/delivery technologies, Internet services and interactive applications.

As part of TEMU, a dedicated workshop on “Next Generation Emergency Services” (NGES) was held to provide a forum to researchers and industry partners to keep track of the work progress within the NGES field, expected to provide personalised and customisable services over an all-IP infrastructure. Particular issues addressed include security and privacy, the integration of social media and automated next generation emergency calls as extensions of eCall.

temu1

NEXES highlighted how its NGES solution encloses true innovation that will improve the customer satisfaction rate on emergency services and helps to improve current emergency services’ capabilities by promoting enhanced location and the recent standardisation effort involving data exchange in emergency calls, promoted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s Emergency Communications group (EMTEL-00034). It was also presented the next generation call handling concepts and the new NEXES Testbed facility that will allow the testing and validation of different NGES implementations.

The 2016 TEMU Conference and its Next Generation Emergency Services Workshop was an excellent dissemination and cross-fertilisation opportunity, enabling dialogue between NEXES and other projects within the NGES field, including the EMYNOS Action, the EPISECC project and the Austrian Red Cross’s experience on the transformation of Dispatch Centres into advanced operational and technical structures.

temu3