Airbus Defence and Space and Samsung have formed a partnership to develop a terminal and collaboration platform that will support narrowband and broadband systems. The platform is intended to facilitate the future use of multimedia communications by German public safety users.

The two companies state that the Hybrid Tactical Management solution will be able to integrate rapidly-evolving applications, smartphone technologies and TETRA networks, while giving user organisations complete control over who can use which applications.

“Today´s BOS public safety digital radio network in Germany is shared by a large number of user organisations with diversified needs and processes. It requires a transparent Hybrid Tactical Management and user equipment fitting in the structure of the German public safety system,” says Markus Kolland, CEO of Airbus Secure Land Communications GmbH in Germany. “Together with Samsung, Airbus aims to move into a new era of mission-critical communications in Germany and Europe.”

“In the coming years, Samsung expects a strong demand for professional communication systems which integrate various and customised features,” says Tuncay Sandikci, director enterprise business of Samsung Electronics in Germany. “By doing so, we will use Samsung Knox for the cooperation. It is our platform for security which has been specifically designed for the professional use of mobile devices. With this product in hand, other devices can be centrally administered, updated and controlled.”

Speaking with Critical Communications Today on the sidelines of PMRExpo, Michael Wolf, head of sales DACH, Airbus Secure Land Communications said that part of the rationale behind the partnership was the realisation that the two companies aren’t competitors given Airbus’s focus on “highly reliable voice communications” and that while Samsung is providing handsets to the UK’s Emergency Services Network project, these are LTE only.

Another factor is Airbus’s expectation that there will be a long period of coexistence between narrowband and broadband technologies for critical communications. Wolf added that the “success” of Airbus’ Tactilon Dabat was the “key driver” for the company to go further in this direction and he also highlighted customers’ desire for flexibility on the smartphone/LTE side given the difference in generation cycles between it and narrowband technologies.

Some additional context was provided by BDBOS’s Barbara Held. Speaking at PMRExpo, she said that while no decisions have been made, the current vision in Germany is for there to be a national hybrid solution comprising of a TETRA base module (a black box with harmonised interfaces), together with a hardened commercial smartphone that will act as the control panel for the TETRA base module and support future applications. She added that the future network model being proposed is a hybrid network, using the current BOS TETRA network, a basic dedicated network using 450MHz spectrum and RAN sharing with commercial operators in the 700MHz band, together with additional services via roaming provided by commercial operators.

Author: Sam Fenwick