Making connections at the GAGV

The Government Authorities Global Village is an increasingly integral part of Critical Communications World.

For the third year in a row, the Critical Communications World exhibition will have at its centre the Government Authorities Global Village (GAGV).

Intended to enable networking and best practice sharing between government organisations from across the world, the village is described by organisers of the event as “a dedicated space for representatives of national critical communications projects to come together to discuss ideas, challenges and best practice”.

The spokesperson continued: “The Government Authorities Global Village brings governments and operators together, enabling them to meet with each other, fostering a spirit of collaboration across international borders.

“It facilitates knowledge sharing and benchmarking, while at the same time enabling organisations to shout about the great work that they have carried out so far.”

As might be expected, many of last year’s attendees included countries regarded as ‘trailblazers’ when it comes to the rollout of mission-critical broadband to their respective countries’ emergency services. This included the United States with its FirstNet project, the UK with its innovative Emergency Services Network, and the Republic of Korea (SafeNet).

While all at different stages, each of these projects is in a continual – fascinating – state of evolution, which visitors were able to gain a profound understanding of in Vienna.

SafeNet and FirstNet in particular, for instance, are quite far forward when it comes to provision of the new technology to users. The UK’s ESN, meanwhile, is in the process of overcoming various obstacles in the run-up to its eventual switch-off of the UK’s legacy emergency services TETRA system. As mentioned, the opportunities for learning from these projects was immense.

Alongside these trailblazers, last year’s GAGV also featured several countries who have started to pursue an interest in mission-critical broadband relatively recently. We are delighted to say that some of these have already confirmed that they will be joining us again this year.

Many of these are also at different stages of their respective projects, with the likes of France having only just awarded the contract to supply core network services, while Finnish operator Erillisverkot is far enough forward to be exploring the use of satellite technology to provide resilience and redundancy.

Staying on the subject of the Northern European countries, CCW 2023 co-host nation Finland will also be joined by Denmark, Norway and Sweden at this year’s GAGV. All of these countries face similar challenges (and worries, not least the looming presence of Russia to the north and east), and all will be coming together in Helsinki to celebrate the spirit of ‘Success in Cooperation’.

Finally, the GAGV will also welcome countries that have perhaps received less publicity than the above, certainly in the European press.

One of the most interesting of these is Canada, which, led by an Ontario-based user group, is in the process of one of the most interesting mission-critical comms rollouts taking place across the globe. Established in 2019, the idea behind the project, according to the Canadian Public Safety Broadband Network Innovation Alliance’s executive director, is to: “Establish public/private partnerships across all levels of government, critical infrastructure providers, innovation hubs, and private organisations, both in and out of the tech space.”

Also present will be Australia, which also boasts one of the most forward-looking user groups in the world, as exemplified by the New South Wales Telco Association. As visitors to Critical Communications World in Vienna last year will remember, one of the highlight presentations was delivered by NSW Telco’s MD, Kylie de Courteney, who discussed not only public safety comms strategy in that part of the world, but also presented nothing less than a vision for the whole sector.

Discussing the importance of the GAGV and its place in the CCW ecosystem, TCCA CEO Kevin Graham said: “As was the case last year, the GAGV will be a crucial part of the 2023 iteration of Critical Communications World. We know from talking to attendees that a lot of new and strong relationships were forged last time, and we don’t expect Helsinki to be any different.

“It is a truly pivotal time for the industry, particularly in relation to ongoing discussions relating to the rollout of mission-critical broadband. The GAGV is there to circulate best practice around the world, thereby helping to drive the discussion – and the sector – into the future. Fostering such collaboration and co-operation is crucial in sustaining innovation and aggregating scale globally to meet critical industry needs.”

At time of writing, attendee organisations include Canada, Denmark, France, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Australia and Finland. Dedicated GAGV programme sessions will take place in the main conference theatres across the course of the event.

Critical Communications World 2023 takes place on May 23-25 in Helsinki.