In front of the Jose Saramago school gate in the city of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Spain, a father who was unable to find his child was anxiously seeking help from a police officer patrolling near the school. The police officer immediately called the Command Center for support and used his handheld eLTE terminal to photograph pictures of the child that were stored in the father's cellphone; he then transmitted the photos to the Command Center.
Upon receiving this incident report, the Command Center for the Rivas-Vaciamadrid Police Station took immediate action to address the situation. They quickly pinpointed the nearest patrol vehicles through their command system, dispatched them to the field for support, and sent the photos of the child and missing-child notification to the handheld eLTE terminals of all the police officers in that region. Meanwhile, the Command Center searched for any traces of the child by isolating the real-time video feeds from the surrounding cameras. Less than a half hour later, a police officer found a likely match at a nearby basketball court and immediately used his handheld eLTE terminal to start a video call with the father. Once confirmed that this was the missing child, the father and son were reunited.
Every year, there are many children worldwide who temporarily go missing. In the US alone, about 800,000 children go missing annually. The first 24 hours is the critical period for finding missing children. Police officers in Rivas-Vaciamadrid could not have found the missing child or handle similar cases so quickly if they used a Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) narrowband network. So, how did they make this possible?
The City’s ‘Nervous System’ Urgently Receives Smart Upgrades
Rivas-Vaciamadrid is a city belonging to the autonomous community of Madrid, Spain. The city covers a land area of 67.4 square kilometers, with a population of about 84,000, and is located just 15 kilometers away from the center of Madrid. This city is one of the youngest in the Madrid region, with an average age of 34. It is also one of the region’s most environmentally friendly and sustainable cities. In 2014, Rivas-Vaciamadrid won the European Union’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) Award.
Rivas-Vaciamadrid is a founding member of the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI) and is widely recognized as a pioneering ‘Smart City’ in Spain. Currently, Rivas-Vaciamadrid has a network of 800 kilometers of fiber-optic cables that interconnects 86 municipal buildings, and provides public Wi-Fi services for the entire locality.
Pedro del Cura Sanchez, Mayor of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, said: “In 2004, the city decided to start investing in technology. There were two important factors to determine this investment. The first factor was to create a better-managed city with enough technology resources for more efficient city management and greater savings. The second factor was to better serve citizens with these technology resources.”
The objectives of Rivas-Vaciamadrid coincide with Huawei’s three goals when working with customers to build Smart Cities: smarter city administration, more benefits for citizens, and economic revitalization.
A Smart City is like a living organism, which is powered by a nervous system. A Smart City ‘nervous system’ consists of a ‘brain’ (the control center) and ‘peripheral nerves’ (the network and sensors). This system gathers real-time information about the status of the city, transmits the data, enables the ‘brain’ to analyze and make informed decisions, delivers feedback commands, and ultimately carries out intelligent actions.
The legacy ‘nervous system’ of the Rivas-Vaciamadrid government was a TETRA network they had built in 2005. This legacy network had the following problems:
• The TETRA narrowband provided voice services only and did not support multimedia data applications, such as a real-time Geographic Information System (GIS) and mobile surveillance. As a result, this network failed to meet the requirements of government and police agencies for video and large-traffic data usage. For example, the police asked that visibility capabilities be added to better learn about on-site situations through video within short periods of time. However, this network did not support such functions, resulting in limited awareness of on-site situations and a low policing efficiency.
• The incident receiving and handling systems were not integrated with each other. In other words, the command and dispatch system was isolated from the video surveillance system. This isolation slowed down emergency response times and created difficulties in cross-department collaboration.
• The legacy network had been running for more than 10 years and was approaching the end of its lifecycle. The resulting maintenance costs were high.
• Due to the shrinking narrowband industry chain, narrowband network operators failed to find the right evolution direction even though they wanted to upgrade.
Because of these problems, the Rivas-Vaciamadrid government urgently needed to upgrade its existing network and decided to build new Smart City ‘nervous system’ functions that could cover the entire city, and provide more efficient command and dispatch services for 330 police officers.
Improved On-Site Visibility, More Efficient Commanding
Huawei is one of a few vendors in the industry that provides a complete set of ICT solutions characterized by ‘cloud-pipe-device’ synergy. Huawei’s eLTE Broadband Trunking Solution provides a comprehensive platform that includes video backhaul, broadband trunking, and critical communications on a single network to enable visualized dispatching. This solution is mainly intended for the public safety sector and extends to Smart Cities with integrated access network platforms to other sectors, establishing a solid foundation for more Smart City applications.
After a careful review of multiple factors, the Rivas-Vaciamadrid government selected Huawei’s eLTE Broadband Trunking Solution to upgrade its legacy network.
The Huawei eLTE Broadband Trunking Solution has the following key features:
• The solution uses the most advanced LTE wireless broadband technology to enable 100 Mbit/s for downlink transmission and 50 Mbit/s for uplink transmission.
• A single network supports multimedia trunking, video dispatching, HD wireless video surveillance, real-time distribution and backhaul of HD videos and pictures, ultra-long-distance data acquisition, and mobile office services.
• The Command Center can review videos sent back in real time from eLTE terminals or directly watch the live video images captured by city-wide surveillance cameras. By doing so, the Command Center can accurately assess on-site conditions and effectively manage on-site incidents remotely. Additionally, by using GIS to locate people and vehicles, the Command Center can designate the most appropriate police resources and achieve visualized dispatching.
• The handheld eLTE terminals can be installed with the police station’s intranet office software, covering email, video surveillance, and police dispatching. These installations implement better-connected mobile police operations and provide enriched police dispatch information through multimedia police dispatching tickets. In the case of emergencies, nearby police officers can collaborate with each other in real time. In this way, police dispatching and incident handling are more accurate and efficient.
• The eLTE broadband trunking system can interwork with the legacy TETRA system and communicate with public-network cellphones. High compatibility achieves the convergence of multiple network communication methods and more efficient cross-department communication and collaboration.
• The eLTE broadband trunking network can be interconnected with the public network to implement public network coverage in areas with insufficient private network coverage. This interconnection expands the scope of applications and reduces the initial investment. In this way, investments can be gradually increased to improve coverage and data capabilities.
To address spectrum problems, Huawei collaborates with Masmovil, the fourth-largest mobile carrier in Spain, to provide a 2.6 GHz frequency band; Huawei is collaborating with the live-network integrator Tecnicas Competitivas to provide eLTE broadband trunking and maintenance services; and Huawei is working with the wireless planning consulting firm Aptica to provide network planning, technical consultation, and recommendations for the project.
Huawei’s eLTE Broadband Trunking Solution dramatically improves the command and dispatch efficiency as well as quick response capabilities for Rivas-Vaciamadrid police officers in all cases, regardless of whether they are major activities, emergency events, or daily police operations.
Fernando Argote Cardenosa, the director of the Rivas-Vaciamadrid police station, said: “The Command Center provides advantages that are clearly beneficial to Rivas-Vaciamadrid citizens. From here, we control the city traffic. For many public safety incidents, such as missing children, we find that the Huawei eLTE Broadband Trunking Solution is crucial. The most important thing for public safety is the ability of the Command Center to respond quickly.”
Smart City Services Reach New Levels
Currently, 80 percent of the Rivas-Vaciamadrid area benefits from the eLTE network coverage. What makes the Rivas-Vaciamadrid city stand out from other cities is that all city management systems are deeply converged. Almost all city facilities that can be remotely managed are networked — including video surveillance, energy management, public lighting, decorative fountains, street-side public facilities, and park irrigation facilities. The local government also provides location-based services, so that any manager can access city management applications anytime, anywhere, and from any device through Wi-Fi access via Bidi, RFID, and NFC.
Carlos Ventura, Director of the Rivas-Vaciamadrid Telecommunications Department, said: “The evolution from narrowband to broadband is an inevitable trend. Huawei’s eLTE network solution is well integrated with all the systems in the city, especially with the Rivas-Vaciamadrid Smart City project. From an eLTE terminal, you can access any system in the city, such as public lighting. In the event of an emergency, police officers and other city managers may increase lighting and perform any other actions, such as opening doors or buildings via the eLTE terminal without the need for keys or other assistance.”
Ana Reboiro, a member of the Economic Development and Employment Council and Interior System and Telecommunications Council, said: “The new eLTE network developed by Huawei and our Rivas-Vaciamadrid City Council provides voice, video, and information services for all of the city’s security and emergency response needs. This new network is the foundation for addressing new challenges in urban development and will improve the daily lives of Rivas-Vaciamadrid citizens. This is the first-of-its-kind project in Spain. Once again, Rivas-Vaciamadrid leads the development of new technologies for city services. I would like to thank Huawei for the trust that they have placed in the Rivas-Vaciamadrid City Council. I hope that we can continue to work together on developing new technologies to respond to new challenges in the future.”
By applying a series of new ICT technologies, such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Huawei is dedicated to expanding ‘nervous system’ functionalities that empower Smart Cities. With innovation and accrued experiences in various technologies, Huawei has developed an open platform for Smart Cities. This platform is compatible with various devices in the downstream direction and supports a wide range of applications in the upstream direction. In the future, Huawei will continue to work together with ecosystem partners to help Rivas-Vaciamadrid add visibility to daily city operations, accelerate cross-departmental emergency response and big data–based city management decision-making, and further enhance the operations of public services such as education, energy, and public safety. These improvements will create a solid foundation for the ongoing Smart City journey of Rivas-Vaciamadrid.