Connectivity – which is the lifeblood of the digital economy in normal times – takes on even greater importance for those working in extraordinary circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, including first responders, health care personnel, military services, and others.
Airbus understands this intuitively, and is working overtime to ensure continuous, reliable communications for such essential operations, supported by its portfolio of innovative products and services.
In Finland, Airbus’ Tetra (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) mobile radio systems – which enable secure group voice calls, among other operational advantages – is helping medical teams save time and reduce stress during critical situations.
“A paramedic dealing with a sick person can share information and discuss what to do through a single voice call with an entire trauma team back in the hospital, rather than having to dial through one by one,” explained Jouni Kemppainen, the marketing manager for Secure Land Communications, which is the Airbus business providing advanced communication and collaboration solutions for users to gather, process and deploy intelligence.
Kemppainen continued: “In today’s pandemic environment, this means that all the relevant staff know exactly what they need to do in an instant, ahead of the patient’s arrival. The extra 10 to 15 minutes gained can save lives.”
All of Finland’s university hospitals – along with most of its central hospitals – are using Tetra technology. Kai Savonniemi of Tampere University Hospital confirms the important role that Airbus’ radio solutions are playing in during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Tetra radios have improved the information exchange – both in and outside hospitals,” stated Savonniemi.
In addition to building networks and infrastructure, Airbus also supplies handsets worldwide that function with the company’s Tetra and Tetrapol secure mobile radio communication systems, as well as in broadband environments. Savonniemi noted that Tampere University Hospital is one of the facilities now looking to order more Tetra handsets from Airbus.
As COVID-19 has disrupted public services across Germany, Airbus is making sure the country’s BOS (Behörden und Organisationen mit Sicherheitsaufgaben) digital radio network for public safety organisations – used by police, firefighters, and emergency rescue services – continues operating 24/7 without interruption.
Built by Airbus using the international Tetra mobile radio standard, the BOS network comprises more than 4,700 basis stations across Germany and delivers radio coverage for 99.2% of the country.
In normal times, the BOS network handles more than 50 million calls per month. Amid COVID-19, this number has risen due to the high demand for rescue forces, as well as the need to apply new safety and sanitary procedures. So far during the pandemic, there has been zero downtime in the BOS network, thanks to the tireless dedication of Airbus support team members, according to Andreas Berlin, Head of Service Management, Secure Land Communications at Airbus.
“I'm proud that Airbus has such a great team that is ready to pull together in these difficult times on behalf of our customers. They can fully count on our support!"
Andreas Berlin, Head of Service Management, Secure Land Communications at Airbus
In addition to supporting medical providers and public services, Airbus is helping deployed military personnel from the UK Royal Navy keep in touch with family and friends during these uncertain times.
To accomplish this, Airbus doubled the “welfare Wi-Fi” X-band bandwidth allotment for each of the seven Royal Navy ships currently deployed around the globe on patrol, sea trials or training exercises. This additional capacity enables more opportunities for video calling and streaming services, which has improved morale on board.
The welfare Wi-Fi utilises X-Band capacity from the SKYNET 5 military communications satellite, which Airbus has managed and operated for the UK Ministry of Defence since 2003.
Airbus can bring connectivity to areas where conventional solutions often meet their limit, using a variety of products and services that can be deployed separately or in combination with others. These assets include high-altitude solar-powered pseudo-satellites, drones, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft, commercial airliners, satellites, land-based professional mobile radio systems and more.
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