Nowadays there is a growing uncertainty about the near future evolution of classical PMR solutions due to spectrum scarcity, digital dividend issues and economic crisis. GERYON aims at facing this situation by seizing the existing window of opportunity due to the convergence of the IMS as a predominant enabler for future multimedia networks and the imminent deployment of commercial LTE networks.
GERYON proposes an innovative emergency inter-networking system capable of connecting existing first responder communication systems and enabling the integration of next generation mobile networks by defining technology independent standardized interfaces and autonomic configuration and adaptation techniques under the umbrella of IMS.
Therefore, GERYON will unify common technical and operational logic of first responder communications networks in a technology independent manner. This unification will offload interconnection gateways from duplicated technology dependent details by providing a neutral interconnection interface. Proposed system will ensure seamless operation regardless the access technology and take advantage of coverage and responsiveness of existing PMRs and broadband data services of 4G networks.
GERYON will demonstrate both classical (i.e. PTT, MTP and preemptive calls) and enhanced emergency services (i.e. multimedia streaming and data services) over an across-frontier testbed. Furthermore, its capability for including general purpose IMS terminals and GERYON enhanced ones will allow an easy access to first responder networks to different groups of unprotected users such as elderly people, people with special needs and battered women that will take advantage of enhanced services such as the Red Button over general purpose devices.
In the current digital world, the users of first responder communication systems are aware of the benefits that the interconnection between different Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) and the integration of new advanced data services could bring to their professional sectors. Considering the current multimedia capabilities of both emergency and general purpose mobile terminals, it is just a matter of time that we see police or fire-fighter units transmitting image-based vital information in real time to central stations or to other mobile units in order to assure quick and expert responses to critical incidents.
In order to satisfy this need for broadband data services, different PMR technologies have tried toimprove data transmission capabilities. For example, TETRA Enhanced Data Service (TEDS), standardized with TETRA Relase 2 at the end of 2005, has been considered as a suitable alternative for advanced security services, such as video surveillance and extensive image sharing or positioning services. Nearly 5 years later, in May 2010, the world's first big scale TEDS pilot delivered to a customer’s network (VIRVE, Finland's nationwide TETRA network) was launched. However, TEDS technology is getting obsolete for the requirements of new security applications and the need for upgrading to broadband is a recognized fact. In fact, despite its potential capabilities, the first wave of TEDS gear coming out will not meet the broadband requirements, due to limited spectrum availability for existing TETRA systems resulting in 50-100 kbps data services (far from theoretical maximum of 540 kbps). Thus, the discussion in the TRA Association has been lately focused on which kind broadband of broadband solution should be adopted: integration of other broadband technologies or evolution of TEDS technology.
At the same time, commercial wireless technologies have been evolving from traditional GSM/GPRS/UMTS services towards more advanced wideband solutions such as WiMAX or LTE, trying to support wider coverage and higher data rates (up to 50-100Mbps). The future of mobile communications seems to be directed towards an all-IP world, which has raised considerable discussion regarding the provision of multimedia services. During 2010, the GSM Association (GSMA) adopted IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as the key driver technology to support voice services over LTE. Thus, IMS can be considered as the candidate for the provision and management of multimedia services of future 4G networks.
On the other hand, in order to incorporate new advanced multimedia services to first responder communication systems, it is compulsory to assure no saturation of the critical communications infrastructure. In such scenario the convergence of both high capacity general purpose mobile systems and PMR systems is emerging as a relevant topic. In fact, several PMR organizations have initiated the use of both technologies providing their professionals with dual terminals, although the use remains separated between critical and non-critical transmissions. A converged scenario will enable those professionals to make the most of both worlds, while assuring an accurate use of critical resources.
Specific objectives of the project are:
- Objective 1: To design, develop and demonstrate a fully operational IMS-driven emergency services management platform.
- Objective 2: To design and develop an innovative GERYON Enhanced Management System (GEMS) and related MGW and SGW nodes.
- Objective 3: To research and develop advanced decision support logic for the TAMS management of emergency communications.
- Objective 4: To design a reference GEGW and develop a specific GEGW supporting the integration of TETRA users into IMS.
- Objective 5: To design and develop a GERYON compatible software client which will allow using a subset of GERYON services through non-GERYON access networks.
- Objective 6: To develop, evaluate and demonstrate enhanced emergency services support in 4G LTE network.
- Objective 7: To use and disseminate knowledge widely, enabling the standardization and the commercial exploitation of the project outcomes.
- Objective 8: To manage and coordinate project activities to enable the Consortium to achieve its goals and objectives on time and within budget.
In order to achieve the objectives pursued by GERYON the following logical phases have been planned:
- Collection of the system requirements
- Definition of the overall system architecture (e.g. modules that comprise the system, interfaces among them and with existing systems) and the specifications of the various systems and modules to be developed and used
- Definition of services to be used for demonstration and for evaluation performance
- System implementation and integration
- Field tests, validation and evaluation
- Standardisation activities, dissemination and exploitation plans
Some of these phases are very closely interrelated. They are therefore grouped in the same workpackage. This simplifies the communication between the partners within the project.
The project is divided into 7 Work Packages (WPs), with clearly defined deliverables for each, which follow the logical phases of the project during its full duration - according to the following three types of activities: the research, technological development and innovation related activities, the demonstration activities and the management activities.
- WP1 (Project Management) deals with the project management, that is the daily technical/scientific and administrative management of the project so that all project¡¯s objectives and milestones are met in time. EHU will lead this WP.
- WP2 (Specifications and system design) is dedicated to the definition of the overall system architecture and the specifications of the GERYON interfaces between different modules and systems, including internal ones and those related to IMS signalling. ITEL will act as WP leader.
- WP3 (GEMS design and development) deals with the design and implementation of the hardware and software modules of the central management system GEMS. It will include the deployment of the MGW and the SGW. The trial plan and the tests that will be conducted during the WP6 activities will be designed within this WP. DEM will lead this WP.
- WP4 (GEGW design and development) deals with the design of a generic reference GEGW that will later be developed according to GERYON specific testbed. Both basic (IMM and EGS) and TMM and SMM technology dependent modules will be developed for the TETRA demonstrator. CYS will lead this WP.
- WP5 (GERYON-enabled LTE emergency communications) focuses on the development of the TD-EGS and the deployment of specific interfaces for LTE. COS will lead this WP.
- WP6 (Integration, Field Trials and Evaluation) is dedicated to the integration of all the systems, components, hardware and software modules that have been developed in WP3, WP4 and WP5, into a complete system, in order to demonstrate the whole GERYON ecosystem. WP6 will also test, validate and evaluate the overall performance of the system, under real conditions. EHU will lead this WP.
- WP7 (Dissemination, Standardization and Business Plan) concerns all outputs of the project to be made available outside the GERYON Consortium and the plans of the partners for the exploitation of the project's results. Plymouth University will lead this WP.