CCW 2019: MCMC will facilitate more (spectrum) where possible for local PPDR community
Critical Communications World 2019 kicked off in KL with a few key technologies on the critical communications agenda – artificial intelligence, augmented reality, drones and so on.
David McClelland set the pace by describing the various wondrous use cases of these technologies, he has seen recently, that could potentially enhance delivery of mission-critical communications.
After that, the host country’s regulator, Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), took to the stage to paint the current landscape as well as extend an invitation for collaboration. More about this invitation, later.
MCMC Chairman, Al-Ishal Ishak, said, “I think we are moving into a very interesting phase in this (critical communications) industry.”
He draws attention to the trend of rising urbanisation; in the 1800s, only 3-percent of the population lived in cities. In the 1950s, this percentage had increased to 29-percent.
“This growth and distribution of population, (or more specifically) the increase in population density and urbanisation, increases global societies’ vulnerability to disasters, congestion, limited resources and so on,” he said.
In Malaysia, this trend is particularly worrisome, as its urban penetration stood at 75-percent in 2018. This is 20-percent higher than the global average.
“So, we have our own unique challenges. By 2050, we expect the percentage to grow to 85-percent which is massive by any standards.”
Natural disasters like flash floods, pose huge risk to human lives in densely populated areas, as well as huge economic losses, he also said.
Given Malaysia’s unique urbanisation challenge, radio communications for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) becomes immensely critical.
Al-Ishal also opined that advances in mobile broadband technology makes it vital for PPDR’s use in maintenance of law and order, as well as response to emergency situations.
“With this technology, there is potential for enhanced capability and capacity to facilitate PPDR operations.”
Tasked with the role of ensuring stable and reliable network connectivity for effective mission executions, Al-Ishal shared that the organisation has allocated and harmonised several spectrum bands for PPDR use, namely HF, 400MHz, 800MHz, as well as 4.9GHz.
“We will facilitate more where possible, for the needs of the PPDR community in Malaysia.”
One of the 7 objectives of the National Fiberisation Connectivity Plan (NFCP), also takes the critical communications industry’s requirements into consideration,
Al-Ishal explained, “The NFCP announced in October 2018, was developed to put in place a nationwide digital infrastructure that is robust, pervasive, affordable, to enable adoption of new technology, as well as future digital services.
“We hope it will provide clarity for digital directions in the economy and for adoption of future technologies, including in the area of critical communications,” the chairman said.
The fifth objective of the NFCP is for fibre infrastructure to pass schools, libraries, hospitals, police stations, public transportation, and even post offices, by 2022. By that timeline, fibre should have passed 70-percent of all these public infrastructures, nationwide.
This is part of the nation’s continuous drive to maintain network coverage 24/7, 365 days a year, so as to enable a multi-modality approach to critical communications – video, voice, data and more are used when law enforcement and first responders carry out their work to save lives and keep it being safe.
The promise of 5G
According to Al-Ishal, the roadmap for 5G implementation is being developed by a national 5G taskforce that was formed last November.
“We hope to see new skills, business opportunities, and a vibrant ecosystem that will help propel the next phase of growth for Malaysia’s digital economy.”
As such, there would be a 6 to 12 month period of 5G demo projects, involving 8 industrial areas. MCMC would be conducting these demo projects which has the objective of facilitating, building and nurturing 5G ecosystems through real-world 5G implementation.
These demo projects would also serve the purpose of identifying, creating, measuring and validating conditions necessary for 5G’s development.
The regulator said, “We are working closely with various industries, service providers, industry partners on each demo, to ensure delivery of objectives.
“I would like to call upon your participation in the 5G demonstration projects in Malaysia, where we can together trailblaze, trial and do testbeds to ensure development of new services that can be beneficial and useful to public.
Al-Ishal also said that MCMC would facilitate the necessary spectrum assignment required for testing in targeted areas and industries, on a temporary basis.
He added that Malaysia’s tropical weather serves as a conducive environment to trial solutions to rain attenuation that can degrade delivery of critical communications.
Besides the conference, there was also an exhibition component with nearly 100 mission-critical ecosystem vendors from national operators, to representatives from a range of vertical markets.
There was also the 2019 International Critical Communications Awards (ICCA). The CCW series of annual conferences is organised by The Critical Communications Association (TCCA).
Sapura Group was the hosting organisation and network sponsor, while Motorola Solutions, Huawei Technologies, Hytera and Leonardo, were platinum sponsors.