International Critical Control Rooms Alliance welcomes new member; SCADA cyber security
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Zetron, a leading provider of mission-critical communication solutions announced that it has joined the newly formed International Critical Control Rooms Alliance (ICCRA).

The ICCRA, a working group of The Critical Communications Association (TCCA) brings together critical control room professionals to deliver excellent mission critical services.

The Alliance provides members with the opportunity to network and learn, providing environments for international collaboration and discussion, and influencing the wider critical control room stakeholder community. This is important to ensure mission critical services constantly adapt to the many changing factors affecting them in order to deliver consistently high service in the most cost effective manner.

“Our goal is to become the focus and platform for critical service control room discussions, learning and development of proactive measures designed to create constant evolution and ensure best practices, explained Peter Prater, ICCRA Chairman.

"We’re thrilled to have Zetron as a member of this groundbreaking organisation,” added Prater.

“Zetron is pleased to join the International Critical Control Rooms Alliance. With its unique focus on mission critical command and control, this is a great opportunity to help shape our worldwide direction as we migrate our dispatch, CAD and emergency call taking solutions from narrowband voice to broadband data,” said Randy Richmond, Zetron standards and regulatory specialist.

With four special interest groups including operations, technology, environment and ergonomics and people and performance, participation in the ICCRA is open to any person or organisation engaged in the provision or support of critical control room service, across all sectors.

Market uptake

Toward the end of last year, the ICCRA, in conjunction with IHS Markit, launched the first global market for command and control room technologies and services survey. The survey estimated the market to have been worth $4.99 billion in 2016, with North America  having generated the most revenues, achieving $1.8 billion.

The installed base of control rooms is approaching 240,000 worldwide. Public safety growth is forecast to be low because of efficiencies, both in cost savings and operations, leading to an increase in the consolidation of public safety control rooms. The transport and utilities sectors are both forecast to grow steadily.

The benefits of consolidation are improved emergency response due to better collaboration, enhanced technology because of bigger budget pools and increased visibility into operations, which save both personnel resource costs and time needed to address incidents.

“Today’s critical control rooms are facing increasing challenges across the board, from rapidly evolving technology to managing operational changes. This event is an opportunity to share best practices around the convergence of control room functions, dispatching and security, and safe and smart city initiatives,” says Prater.

North America has the biggest installed base of public safety control rooms with almost 6,000 PSAPs in the United States alone.

The Western European installed base is consolidating, especially in the Nordic countries, in some countries in Eastern Europe and in the Netherlands. Other Western European countries, Germany and France for instance, will likely maintain a high installed base of control rooms and only consolidate slowly because of the governance structure in these regions.

In Western Europe, there is a strong need for services and consulting especially as the transition to digital communications continues and broadband LTE takes place. In addition, the integration of analytics technologies, social media and digital evidence management are supporting the market.

Asia Pacific continues to expand its installed base of control rooms across sectors, including public safety. The Middle East and Africa is experiencing a similar trend as countries in these regions build up and advance their emergency response infrastructure to handle more demands on call-taking software. This is due to increasing emergency incidents coming from expanding populations, and education surrounding the role of emergency services.

Control room evolution

The focus on voice has begun to change in favour of more computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and data focused solutions. More data such as incident information, video, images etc. can be made available to resources in the field via tablets or ruggedised smart phone devices. Additionally, such devices, which run on a broadband network, can be significantly cheaper than their radio counterparts. For this reason, especially in particularly price-sensitive regions such as APAC, there has been a strong preference for broadband devices and CAD systems over radio and voice dispatch.

New applications and technologies are being integrated within the control room, and need to be centralised within the CAD. Video, sensors, altering, advanced GIS analytics and other technologies can all be connected to CAD, making it much faster and more efficient than ever before.

Alex Richardson, Critical Communications Analyst with IHS Markit, said: “With the Australia, Dubai, Japan, South Korea, the US and UK going ahead with plans to build out national public safety broadband networks, the LMR and traditional voice dispatch markets will continue to experience pressures from the entry of broadband-based communications, and systems like CAD, Room Management System (RMS), and logging will gain greater importance.

“The value of such contracts will only increase because of the vast range of new data inputs they will be required to manage. We see these networks as ecosystem expanders, increasing the value of the control room market beyond traditional applications.”