Norway and Sweden conduct industry’s first interoperability testing of communications technology

20 May 2015: The Norwegian-Swedish ISI (Inter-System Interface) project is a joint development initiative between Norway and Sweden with the purpose of establishing cross-border communication for public safety agencies using the countries’ national Nødnett and Rakel TETRA networks.

The project is a collaboration between network owners Directorate for Emergency Communication (DNK) and Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), and network suppliers Motorola Solutions and Airbus Defence and Space. The project is associated with the EU-funded research project Inter System Interoperability for TETRA and TetraPol Networks (ISITEP).

Motorola Solutions and Airbus conducted two successful tests this year. The testing has included system configuration, as well as group call, individual call, short data service (SDS) and telephony call functionality. These are the most advanced tests involving TETRA networks from two manufacturers connected through ISI gateway technology.

Further interoperability testing is planned for later this year. Then additional Nødnett, Rakel and end-to-end testing – including radio terminals and control rooms – will be conducted. DNK, MSB, Motorola Solutions and Airbus Defence and Space have agreed to seek formal interoperability (IOP) certification to ensure that the Norwegian-Swedish ISI-solution becomes the benchmark for future international ISI-projects.

Norway and Sweden have a long tradition of collaboration. Connecting their public safety communications networks through ISI is another way to add to their history of collaboration in the interest of their respective citizens. With ISI, seamless communication during a rescue or other public safety mission does not have to end at the countries’ border. This is becoming increasingly important as extreme weather events become more frequent and crime becomes more international.

The benefits of ISI will also be apparent in the day-to-day work and planned operations of the two countries’ public safety agencies.

A key learning is that there are not just two Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) networks to be integrated. Radio terminals and control rooms must also be able to handle cross-border communication and foreign users. Enabling cross-border communication requires connecting different public safety organizations across the two nations. This task of aligning complex network functionality and end-user devices, as well as different organizations and organizational structures, has been a long process.

The project group is working to ensure that all technical and user preparations will be ready for operational use in the second quarter of 2016. Implementation, user education and training will be put to the test in a cross-border field exercise in the second half of 2016.
“As owner of Nødnett, DNK is proud to take part in the work towards a standard solution for future ISI-projects,” says Tor Helge Lyngstøl, Director DNK. “We have considered cross-border functionality as a natural part of Nødnett for a long time. This project is exciting as it involves not only the technical challenges, but also the alignment of two nations and three agencies routines and procedures in our two countries.”

“Weather events and challenges to public safety do not recognize national borders,” said Manuel Torres, senior vice president and general manager for Europe, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean region, Motorola Solutions. “The first-of-its-kind testing from this collaborative effort is demonstrating that countries and systems can work together to better serve their respective citizens and customers. As the prime contractor for Nødnett, Norway’s nationwide TETRA network, Motorola Solutions continues to provide its experience, expertise and commitment to equipping public safety agencies with the very best in interoperable, standards-based, mission-critical communications, regardless of whatever country they call home.”

“One great success factor in the whole project is that we have involved the end users from the start in several work groups during the whole process”, says Minna Nyman, head of the RAKEL Department at MSB. “We focus on user requirements in everyday situations, as well as preparing for crisis situations, and strive towards making sure not only that the technology is in place but also methods and terminology”.

“We are delighted to have worked intensively for the cross-border communication solutions between Sweden and Norway,” said Hans Holmberg, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space Oy. “Interest in authority organisation cooperation across borders in clearly increasing in Europe and even globally and the solution being implemented between Sweden and Norway serves as a great milestone in this evolution. Through this project we have gained significant insight on the specific requirements of user organisations matters in setting up a sophisticated cross-border communication solution and we’re able to develop even more advanced solutions in the future.”

Pictured from left:  Swedish police officer Reine Lamkiewicz, Norwegian project manager Marianne Storrøsten, Swedish project manager Anita Galin and Norwegian police officer Henning Fjellet presenting the The Norwegian-Swedish ISI (Inter-System Interface) project at Critical Communication World in Barcelona.

About the Norwegian-Swedish ISI-project
The responsible authorities are the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) in Sweden and the Directorate for Emergency Communication (DNK) in Norway. DNK and MSB are also involved in the European ISITEP project and the results from this bi-national ISI collaboration will be deliverables to ISITEP. The project is carried out during the period 2013-2016 and involves Norwegian and Swedish representatives from the health service, the fire & rescue service, the police and customs.

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