In this blogseries, we give the floor to our employees, to share their views on specific topics. In this post, Froukje shares her experience after the European Emergency Number Association Conference (EENA112) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

  • Drones that can directly be deployed during a forest fire to estimate its span and severity?
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) systems that can process huge amounts of data significantly shortening the decision time within an incident lifecycle?
  • Crowd-sourced data from social platforms that can automatically support emergency operations?
  • Video over LTE to reach the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) that can highly contribute to the situational awareness of the incident?
  • Software recognition of voice abnormalities that can identify the need for direct Automated External Defibrillator (AED) dispatch during an incoming emergency call?
  • Indoor 3D mapping that can guide emergency units in buildings during rescue operations?
  • A ‘reverse 112’, a universal and EU-wide interconnected system that can warn and alert citizens in case of a major emergency or disaster?

These are just a few examples of technologies that can optimize emergency services, saving lives and minimizing damage all over the world. Some are already a reality and some will become in the near-future.

Photo © Martin Mycielski

What is the EENA112 Conference?

Many more topics were comprehensively discussed at the European Emergency Number Association (EENA112) annual conference. EENA is an association dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reachable by the EU-wide 112 number. The conference is a gathering of public safety entities, innovative companies, researchers and experts relevant to the field. It gives them the opportunity to interact, network and exchange best practices, ideas and border-crossing initiatives. This year’s conference took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from April 25 to 27, offering three intensive days for over 700 industry stakeholders coming from 50 countries world-wide. Discussed next-gen topics included the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, emergency apps, AML (Advanced Mobile Location), public warning systems and cybersecurity, with demonstrations of state-of-the-art software and devices for command and control rooms.

We all rely on 112, without ever noticing it. Together with some colleagues, I have a long history with the local 112 market. As a Member of the EENA family, we can participate in EENA member-only events and closely follow developments and trends in new technologies and share our expertise as geo-experts.
Geert De Coensel

Director, Merkator

The future for 112

We see innovation everywhere, and the 112 market is no exception. A new technology with a new architecture is needed to resolve todays issues: “Next Generation 112 Architecture” (NG112).

NG112 enables citizens to contact emergency services in different ways, using the same types of technology as those they use to communicate every day. It also makes possible that 112 PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) receive more and better information about emergencies of all magnitudes and improves interoperability between emergency services. Consequently, response time and operation cost will be reduced, while effective response will increase significantly.

NG112 addresses three major objectives:

  1. communication between citizens and emergency services;
  2. interoperability between emergency services;
  3. open Standard Approach.

Source: Next Generation 112 – Long Term Definition (Grososiu et al., 2013)

Challenges for NG112

Though all these solutions could revolutionize the sector, there are still many challenges to overcome, for example:

  • Inadequate privacy legislation on civilians’ data gathered by Public Safety UAVs without their concern (GDPR);
  • Current technology lacks the capacity to process big data at a pace sufficient for critical situations;
  • Crowd-sourced data from social networks requires rigorous verification to avoid risks of false alarms or abuse;
  • Challenges related to the technical integration of new solutions with existing Computer-aided Dispatch software components (e.g. e-Call).
The EENA Conference clearly showed that the innovations are there, but the nature of 112 makes it quite complex to just experiment, like we often do in other markets.

The ball of new tech is rolling and we can’t stop it. Do your risk assessments, build your tech with security measures from the beginning, with privacy in mind. We have to adopt new tech but we need to collaborate to reap the benefits.

Konstantinos Moulinos

Information Systems Security Expert, European Union Agency for Network and Information Security

As a business analyst, I was proud to represent Merkator, gaining exceptional experience in the field of Public Safety and Emergency Services and reviewing the present international CAD-landscape as well as the next generation 112 trends. I look forward to Merkator’s active involvement in these highly promising next-gen solutions.

Froukje Kuijk

Froukje Kuijk

Geo-ICT Consultant, Merkator

Froukje obtained a Master in Bioscience Engineering (Soil & Water Management) at KU Leuven in 2015. After that she was involved in several UNESCO tracks in South-America (Chili) where she was Consultant and project manager in CAZALAC (Water Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean). She contributed to the implementation of national and regional UNESCO-IHP projects, analysis and investigation regarding integrated water resources governance, hydro-climatic risk management including product development for decision making and adaptation capacity building concerning climate change projections.