ASTRID operates Belgium's national radio, paging and despatching network for the emergency and safety services. Its 40,000+ users come from organisations including the police, fire service, civil defence, customs and coastguard; hospitals and ambulance services; and utilities and transport companies.
ASTRID wanted to provide a complete integrated data and applications offering to the organisations using its network including database query and the ability to send textual and visual information - such as picture messages, tasks and alerts - to users in a timely and targeted way.
ASTRID also wanted to provide a centralised comprehensive location tracking solution for users and vehicles throughout Belgium. ASTRID's location service also needed to integrate with legacy location solutions in addition to standard TETRA location tracking.
Compatibility and interoperability were key factors: the new applications had to interoperate with ASTRID's back-office and control-room systems and be usable on commercial mobile devices as well as on all manufacturers' TETRA terminals deployed on the network by user organisations.
ASTRID chose to work with the leading integrated multi-vendor TETRA application provider Portalify, a Sepura group company, to implement a comprehensive mobile data platform and related application suites for use on its TETRA network, and on 3G and planned 4G networks.
Portalify installed a mobile data connectivity server (MDCS) based on its Data Management Server. The MDCS enables secure and reliable data communications between ASTRID's and its customers' back-office, control-room systems and various user groups, improving situational awareness and emergency response management. The solution delivered by Portalify comprises a combination of the applications Locate Server, Query, Image Messaging and Emergency 112 which are part of Sepura Integrated Communication Solution (SICS) which incorporates Sepura's entire applications portfolio.
The solution's high-availability and fully redundant architecture protects ASTRID's critical network during peak traffic periods and has the capacity to scale in order to support future growth in user numbers. Portalify's Secure Client enables applications to run on smartphones, PDAs and other mobile devices in addition to TETRA terminals, and simplifies porting and remote maintenance of applications; hence reducing the need to recall phones and terminals from the field during upgrades.
Because the MDCS can handle images, text messages and GPS locations, ASTRID can run almost any application on it - including CAD/task management, GIS-based mapping, telematics, video surveillance, database interrogation and picture messaging. All these applications can be accessed in real-time from the control room and in the field via TETRA terminals, helping to enhance decision-making for public safety organisations and providing safety and protection of Belgium's 11m population.