Digital Transformation of Critical Communications for Public Safety in Australia, Forecast to 2022
Meeting the interoperability and technological needs of first responders, the securitisation of data and network, the emergence of digital trends (5G, IoT, cloud, big data), meeting public expectations and heightened public safety issues (natural disasters and catastrophic incidents) are driving growth in critical communication solutions expenditure in Australia.
However, the lack of standardisation in public safety agencies (PSA) requirements, the absence of mission-critical standards, insufficient training for new technologies and relatively high infrastructure costs hamper growth in this market.
Digital LMR continues to dominate the critical communications market in Australia due to its high mission-critical standards and end-to-end encryption, making it the preferred technology among first responders.
Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) leveraging LTE technology is expected to grow from 2020 as mission-critical communication standards become commercially available for use by first responders. The Australian Government is currently studying the deployment and spectrum allocation of PSMB networks. While its intention in observing the outcomes of global PSMB approaches, specifically in the US and UK is causing significant delay, it also suggests Australia’s preference to be a market leader in the segment, rather than a first-mover.
Frost & Sullivan expects investment to move towards LTE voice and data services over the forecast period, with the lifespan of existing PMR (Professional Mobile Radio) networks likely to stretch until at least 2028. P25 vendors have largely succeeded in defending their highly profitable market due to the shift from analogue to digital LMR. LMR and LTE devices are expected to be used simultaneously until 2028.
The rising costs associated with existing LMR systems poses significant challenges to PSAs, given the absence of a large pool of LMR vendors in the market hampering economies of scale. However, since LTE is an open standard, more vendors are expected to provide private LTE services to organisations, increasing robust competition in the market.
The public safety segment (law enforcement, ambulance, fire and other emergency services) is anticipated to adopt digital solutions that run on hybrid voice and data networks over the transition period. Simulation tools to support training exercises, identify responders’ locations in real time, remote monitoring of first responders’ tactical actions, and integration of communication systems into personal protective equipment are key investment priorities for first responders.
This research service looks at the technology roadmap for critical communications, the emergence of digital solutions and IoT applications, emerging use cases, the competitive landscape and outlook for the sector.