I had the privilege of attending two inspiring global events last month. First up was the 8th annual ICT4D conference in Nairobi, Kenya, which showcased breakthrough field solutions in NGO operations. A few days later the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey brought together motivated individuals from both the private and public sectors who are committed to enabling countries and communities on the issues of crisis response and resilience.
Both events reinforced how vital it is for humanitarian operations to have access to reliable, secure voice and data communications and the challenges this presents due to the environments and conditions in which they must operate. From mapping conflict areas and providing early warning systems for peacekeeping forces, to administering electoral processes, managing humanitarian admission programmes or co-ordinating international relief operations, aid workers depend on a broad range of devices and applications to access and transfer critical information, seamlessly and quickly.
The need for consistency and centralised control
A lack of existing communications infrastructure, coupled with the scale and complexity of humanitarian operations, requires an innovative approach to integrate disparate IT and communication systems around the world and provide consistent coverage across varied terrain. The range of expertise this demands spans everything from civil engineering and site development to data centre design, disaster recovery, deployment of robust local and wide area networks, lifecycle management and managed services.
It requires a centralised point of control, with the agility to design, deploy, manage and support mission-critical communications on a global basis and the flexibility to customise solutions according to particular needs, while also realising value by deploying the latest technologies. This is crucial to ensuring continuous, fail-sale operations.
So, how can this be achieved?
High availability, optimal performance
Let’s start with mission-critical wireless broadband networks. They have to deliver reliable performance, maintain high availability under harsh weather conditions, function in inhospitable terrains, accommodate diverse urban/rural geographies and be able to withstand natural disasters and catastrophes.
The back-haul system must guarantee bandwidth and prioritise critical data over non-critical data, allowing for traffic to be separated across multiple sites. It must also enable real-time monitoring of network performance and the ability to detect and correct faults before they impede critical operations.
To provide sufficient communications for mobile units, coverage must be extended across vast areas and provide high throughput of up to 750 Mbps at speeds of up to 250km/h. And it must achieve this without line-of-sight antennas.
Connected to the network could be a range of devices – from digital mobile radios equipped with GPS to track equipment and personnel, to rugged LTE handheld devices that support advanced data applications, drones carrying video surveillance cameras to transmit images in real time or body-worn devices such as cameras.
The network must be able to forecast capacity needs and enable the planning of access points to accommodate data coverage across varied topographies, be easy to configure and allow for rapid deployments that can be fixed, nomadic or mobile.
And all this data needs to be securely stored, analysed, converted into intelligence and readily accessible by aid workers in the field, to enhance situational awareness, decision-making and collaboration.
It’s a tall order, but given the right partners with the right technology, it’s achievable.
Motorola Solutions is well known for our innovation in two-way radio communication, but did you know that we also provide turn-key integration services? Our Global Systems Integration team combines decades of field experience with successful project management and certified processes, having deployed over 1000 mission-critical IT and communication systems. We also operate some of the most complex systems for nations and states.
As the founder of Six Sigma – a data-driven approach for eliminating defects – Motorola adheres to rigorous quality standards to manage complex variables and deliver state-of-the-art integration solutions.
From system planning and design to integration and implementation, we have the expertise and proven processes to mitigate risks and match your operational needs. Which means you can focus on your mission, knowing that your systems will perform reliably, even under the most extreme conditions
For more information on Motorola Solutions’ Global Systems Integration, download the datasheet: Integrating Mission Critical Networks
Director: United Nations & International Accounts, Motorola Solutions