Researchers Suggest Way to Track Population Density by Using Mobile Network Data

Population density and distribution is a key variable in designing strategies or assessing the impacts of existing environmental or social policies. Normally, decision makers obtain this data from national institutes for statistics or other local authorities. However, this data is often inaccurate and out-of-date, and therefore also unreliable.

In an attempt to discover a better way to gather data on population density, the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), in collaboration with researchers from AIT, realized that mobile network data could be a better source for such data, as it could be obtained almost immediately and would be more accurate and up-to-date. Accessing this data, though, is complicated by the existing legislation on commercial confidentiality and personal privacy.

In a new report prepared by the JRC and AIT, researchers present and analyse a methodology that could enable mobile network operators to process and integrate different types of network data, which is already in their possession, in order to estimate population density. The methodology has been designed to be flexible and scalable, taking into consideration commercial sensitivity and the need to protect personal privacy and confidentiality. The report also presents the findings discovered when testing the methodology on a sample of artificially generated data.

The JRC and AIT will now seek to gather feedback from interested parties on the proposed methodology, which will then be tested with partner mobile network operators. Subsequently, a dialogue with all willing operators around Europe will be initiated.

New EUROPOL Report Draws Attention to Possible Terrorist Attacks against the EU

In July, the EU’s law enforcement agency EUROPOL published the latest edition of the TE-SAT (European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend) report. The report has been prepared by EUROPOL, based on contributions from EU Member States and several EUROPOL partners.

The report presents a comprehensive overview of the completed and failed terrorist attacks against EU Member States and outlines the main trends related to terrorism. Five different kinds of terrorism are differentiated in the report – religious terrorism; ethno-nationalist terrorism; left-wing and anarchist terrorism; right-wing terrorism; and single-issue terrorism.

According to the report, the overall threat to EU security is likely to continue to increase in the future. Given the persisting situations in Syria and Iraq, EUROPOL speculates that a number of EU Member States will remain prone to harassment, hate-filled rhetoric and unprovoked, opportunistic attacks towards Muslims and Muslim institutions by right-wing extremists.

The report highlights that the Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliated groups possess the capability and resources to carry out attacks against EU Member States. As increasingly more European individuals become affiliated with these groups, networks are created, which make pragmatic cooperation more likely. The objective of pursuing a “global jihad”, inspired by the actions of international terrorist groups, is likely to remain.

London’s MPS Issues Call for Tenders on Network Services

A call for tenders has been launched to find a supplier of network services for London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The public sector networking association Innopsis has been put in charge of the procurement process.

The tender is structured in two separate parts. The first concerns wide and local area networks, telephony and inter-network gateways, whereas the second part addresses the provision and management of a call routing system to support all calls to the Police Service. Depending on the quality of responses, it is possible that one contract will be awarded for both parts. Alternatively, two contracts, one for each part, will be given.

Altogether the contracts will be worth up to £240m across a five year period. However, this can be subject to change, depending on the growth of bandwidth use during that time. The call for tenders will be open until 16th October 2015. Invitations to move forward are expected to come by mid-December.

This procurement forms part of the MPS Total Technology Strategy, which aims to ensure that the MPS systems and processes are supported by an infrastructure that is modern, agile, robust, and scalable.

New EPISECC Project Website Launched

The EPISECC project, launched in June 2014, aims to develop a common “European Information Space”, which would ultimately become the key element in a future integrated pan-European crisis and disaster response capacity. One of the main purposes of the EPISECC approach is improving interoperability at all levels and, as such, the project focuses on establishing interoperability at both physical (network) and syntactical (automated information exchange) level.

This summer much work went into remodelling the EPISECC project website. The new version is currently up and running and accessible at www.episecc.eu. The new website is more user-friendly and visually appealing than before. Website visitors have all the main information about the project at their fingertips, including an entirely new “Results” section, which presents the EPISECC publications, presentations, and public deliverables. The new version of the website also includes an embedded Twitter feed and direct links to the EPISECC social media, making it much easier to follow the EPISECC project as it develops. Last but not least, the new project website also provides more information about the EPISECC work plan and methodology.

The role of PSCE in the EPISECC project is linked to identifying user needs. Due to its broad membership base, which includes end-users, research institutes and industrial stakeholders, PSCE has been tasked with obtaining the feedback of these groups on issues relevant to the project. PSCE will also assist in disseminating the results of the EPISECC project.

#Press 15 European nations ready to establish common view for PPDR radio communication future

15 European countries are committed to work together to establish a common roadmap for future evolution of EU PPDR radio communications via BROADMAP partnership

  • The BROADMAP partnership created a proposal to answer to Horizon 2020 DRS-18 call for proposals
  • Specifications and transition road mapping of future broadband PPDR radio communication in EU will be available in 2017, if the proposal is agreed by the Horizon 2020 evaluation process

On 26th August, PSCE completed the co-ordination, and submission, of a landmark proposal to Horizon 2020 - BROADMAP.

The proposed BROADMAP project intends to take the first steps towards future co-funded procurement necessary to enable ‘interoperable next generation of broadband radio communication systems for public safety and security’ to enhance interoperability across borders and improve PPDR service to European citizens.

BROADMAP proposes to collect and validate the PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) organisations’ existing requirements with the aim to establish a core set of specifications and roadmap for procurement to achieve future evolution of EU broadband applications and interoperable radio communication solutions for PPDR.

The BROADMAP partnership comprises 15 potential buyers/end users representing EU Member States and associated countries; 8 of which represent the Ministry within the country responsible for public safety and 7 representing end users and network operators. 48 additional PPDR organisations have signed letters of support for the BROADMAP project, expanding geo-political coverage within 7 additional EU and associated countries and support from stakeholders in the US.

The BROADMAP proposal formation was initiated in 2014 on the request of PSCE’s User Committee members. It took the entire eight months to gather together the strongest team of end users and a delicately balanced strategy to support the future procurement of necessary R&D and innovative products needed to fulfil the validated requirements for broadband interoperable networks for PPDR and critical communications.

The proposal is now in the hands of the Horizon 2020 evaluation process and we expect to hear the results early in 2016. Should we be successful we will be engaging with the broadest team of EU public safety end users ever to formalise requirements, specifications, solutions and roadmaps which will lead towards new interoperable broadband capabilities deployed with an operational expectation within 8-10 years.

PSCE’s next conference will be held in Oxford (UK) on 9th and 10th December 2015, where we will discuss the outcomes of spectrum decisions made at WRC’15, the steps to take to achieve broadband capabilities for PPDR, security and resilience of next generation networks, the potential for 5G, and data protection and privacy issues surround the deluge of information enabled by broadband, as overseen by the pending EU data protection regulation.

David Lund, President of PSCE and coordinator of BROADMAP says: “It’s been a lengthy process but the collective enthusiasm of the partnership is unprecedented. We have a truly motivated and influential team”

Manfred Blaha, Chair of PSCE User Committee says: “BROADMAP is a milestone on the broad way for PPDR organisations to get a broadband network. It is not only to follow technological trends for a new gadget. It is about giving First Responders some data-rich communications tool for their live-saving duty. It is about serving our citizens best possible.”

Heikki Riippa, The Police Board, Finland says: “PPDR operational way of working is in transition throughout Europe – high speed wireless connectivity is mandatory to address the pressure from the changing society towards – BROADMAP partnership is key to address this evolution”