14 October 2022 4 minute read

Data strengthens critical communication

Within the industrial sector, but also beyond. Communication can be of such vital importance that it must not be lost under any circumstances. “You are talking about communication that is so essential that life-threatening situations or major financial consequences can arise if the communicative connection is interrupted or even disappears. We call this mission-critical communication”, says Adrie van Kampen, key account director at Flash Private Mobile Networks. The company, based in Europoort, specializes in providing total solutions for mission-critical communication. 

For many years, mission-critical communication has been carried out using two-way radios. Push-to-Talk, in other words: “you press a button on the two-way radio and you can talk through it”, says van Kampen. Analog radio has proven itself to be very reliable over the years, but it comes with limitations, networks are difficult to manage. The application of digital techniques has made it easier to change networks, add new users and provide remote services. Now we are on the verge of a third development: from Push-to-Talk applications to voice and data via 4G and 5G networks. A national communication network is used for this. “The advantage of this is that you can combine voice communication such as Push-to-Talk with data traffic. Speech is enhanced with data messages such as text and video messages. That is now possible with one device; it is no longer necessary to walk around with both a two-way radio and a tablet”.

Total solutions

Through the years of experience with Push-to-Talk applications and the application of new technologies, Flash Private Mobile Networks specializes in proving total solutions for mission-critical communication. “We are able to integrate existing solutions into our communication systems and are constantly looking for innovative and creative solutions. Take, for example, a container transhipment company, where communication with reach stackers, a vehicle used to move and stack containers via Wi-Fi. In order to allow moving objects to communicate with each other, it is better to let the communication take place via a network where guaranteed communication is offered. Flash has taken this from advice to management”.

Three quarters of the frequencies

A large part of Flash’s customers are located in Rotterdam. The petrochemical industry, storage and transhipment companies and transport companies are just a few examples. Enforcement organizations and event organizers also belong to Flash’s customer portfolio. “We are knowledge holders and market leaders. According to the Telecom Agency, three quarters of the frequencies issued in the region are intended for Flash. For each customer, we create a network, private or public, which is being utilised for communication. Flash helps with tasks that range from advice to management. That is a tailor-made solution for every customer. For example, companies have different alarm methods, which we include in the network. Mission-critical communication is in our DNA. Our entire business operations are geared to this. We conclude maintenance and service contracts with customers for which we remotely monitor the communication networks and take preventive action to prevent malfunctions. We offer 24/7 support from our service engineers to provide quick on-site maintenance when needed. in the exceptional case that a malfunction cannot be resolved quickly, we deploy mobile systems so that the customer is operational again within four hours.”

Hybrid communication systems

Flash already supplies these systems to enforcement organizations. Adoption by the industry is now getting underway says van Kampen. “Mission-critical communication and innovation are simply at odds with each other. The industry requires proven technology. Thanks to a collaboration with telecom provider T-Mobile, we have assured ourselves of very high reliability. In the vent of calamities, telephone traffic increases and the telecom network becomes overloaded. We offer our customers a protected part of the network, with priority, so that communication is always possible with high availability. Pilots within Formula 1 in Zandvoort and the floods in Limburg earlier this year have proven a reliable network. We have successfully completed several implementations within the industry. The coming years will be a transition period, where hybrid systems will play an important role. With a traditional two-way radio network on the one hand and connections with smart communication solutions for both Push-to-Talk and data over 4G or 5G and process-supporting applications on the other.”

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