U2010 (U2010)

Published on: 05/01/2010 Document

Ubiquitous IP Centric Government & Enterprise Next Generation Networks, Vision 2010 is an Integrated Research Project of the 5th Call of the 6th European Research Frame Program coordinated by the University of Luxembourg, including 16 partners from 10 European Countries.

The overall objective of the project is to provide the most capable means of communication and the most effective access to information to everybody required to act in case of accident, incident, catastrophe or crisis, while using existing or future telecommunication infrastructures.

The U-2010 project will address the public safety issues by researching new emergency and crisis management solutions investigating on innovative and state-of-the-art communication technologies based on the current and new Internet technologies (i.e. Internet Protocol version 6) that could be put to use and realize this vision.

Technologies in operations and under evaluation provide an Enhancement of availability by:

  • Interconnecting existing services and networks.
  • Leveraging redundant communication channels.
  • Using automatic redirection and/or service transformation in case of failures.
  • Using new research results in the area of wireless ad-hoc networks.

Policy Context

Recent large catastrophes and crisis situations like the Tsunami at the end of 2004 and the Katrina hurricane of September 2005 dramatically showed the importance of communication to prevent the deaths of thousands of people.

The centre of gravity of u-2010 is a communication enabler providing the most capable means of communication and the most effective access to information to everybody required to act in case of accident, incident, catastrophe or crisis, while using existing or future telecommunication infrastructure.

The project is by nature one of policy support, and will strongly contribute to policy development at the European as well as national and local levels by providing empirical evidence and analysis for the topics it covers: handling of communication in risk and crisis situations; the development and implementation of public communication solutions (integration of crisis and emergency support into these solutions), development of new it-network solutions taking into account the needs for crisis handling, training of the planning people and those who act on the scene.

u-2010 worked closely together with the bodies who define the policies for crisis and emergency handling: the Luxembourg and Slovenian government, the bodies who act in these situations in these countries: Police, Fire service, civil protection and the NATO CCPC.

Description of target users and groups

The users group targeted by the u2010 project are both government (management and coordination of crisis) and end-users (police, firemen, medical, Civil Protection) who are acting on the spot during emergencies. 

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The project incorporated impressive trials (fire in a tunnel, mountain rescue, nuclear radiation) that not only publicise and emphasise the impact of theachievements through real-life showcases, but also bring the project partners valuable feedback of practical experiences of usage in real scenarios, and enable the developments to be refined accordingly.

Technology solution

European industries are strong in many of the areas of technology addressed by u-2010, including satellites, IPv6 and mobile access routers. They are therefore in a good position to take advantage of the potential markets that will be opened by the enabling of the full exchange of information between emergency services. This is an emerging trend that is being studied by most governments today, in order to maximise the efficiency of organisations to react to both natural and man-made disasters.

Main results, benefits and impacts

Apart from the purely financial aspect, the better use of available telecommunications infrastructures and applications will save lives. If fire, ambulance and police services can be provided with the latest information (including high-quality pictures) and can keep in communication with all the other teams at the scene of the incident, the effort will be better coordinated and more effective. If the emergency services personnel can keep in contact with each other, and with their headquarters, whatever the state of the original terrestrial communications systems, this will also make the operation more effective.

Mountain Rescue is also an important emergency service in the mountainous regions of Europe. People often become lost or get injured on mountains due to factors such as a sudden deterioration in the weather or after an accident. The rescue teams belong to individual centres with their own communication devices and channels. The technology is not yet available to allow them to share information, or to roam between the separate networks and maintain communication. u-2010 solves this problem, through the implementation of Mobile IPv6 protocols and Mobile Access Routers (MAR). The ability to use satellite links also ensures that information can be easily broadcasted simultaneously to all the people involved in the search.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

By being at the leading edge of this development, European industries and others with a substantial European base) will be able to prepare for the deployment of the technologies and be in a good position regarding the availability of suitable products.

Lessons learnt

In the domain of Public Safety communications, ideally, the interoperability issue should be addressed at the time that equipment is purchased, not considered retrospectively once the new devices have been bought. Stimulated by the well-documented catastrophic results caused by the inability of the different emergency services to communicate with each in the wake of September 11, 2001 and hurricane Katrina, the US has made a deliberate effort to rectify the interoperability situation through the Department of Homeland Security. It is recommended to study the feasibility of establishing a similar process for Europe.

A risk-free roadmap would be to move faster towards a pan-European TETRA Release 2 deployment in all services, thereby minimizing CAPEX costs through the increased purchasing power of a larger marketplace, and minimizing OPEX costs by retaining the well-known procedures currently in place in the majority of regions.In certain situations (e.g. fire in a tunnel, monitoring vital life signs, viewing road traffic conditions), the benefit of having live inputs from additional sources, such as sensors and cameras has been demonstrated by the u2010 project. Data and video from such sources can be integrated more easily into IP-based systems, and the visualisation requires terminal displays with high quality graphical capabilities (e.g. laptops).

Further to this, a wireless IP network (Mobile Access Router) can also be easily brought into an area having no connectivity, and backhauled to the nearest surviving network. Further collaboration between Member States on purchasing decisions and could help further reduce prices. It can be seen that several factors influence the future market for PSC, not least among which is whether to: (i) stay with the current TETRA/PMR systems (which are being improved with narrower channel spacing, thereby increasing capacity), (ii) shift to a higher PMR frequency band to gain extra capacity (but less geographical coverage), (iii) use new wireless technologies, or (iv) a combination of all of these.

Scope: International