NSW SES vehicles become nodes to improve connectivity
SES vehicle near Broken Hill
The NSW Telco Authority has begun implementing vehicle-as-a-node (VaaN) technology in the State Emergency Service’s (SES) communications network.
VaaN is designed to reduce service interruptions by binding several bearers together – for example using mobile broadband or satellite connectivity if the Public Safety Network suffers an outage.
Motorola’s SmartConnect product is providing the technical foundations for VaaN.
According to a LinkedIn post, VaaN “provides seamless connectivity for operational communications and uses least-cost routing to prioritise the Public Safety Network (PSN) for voice, switching to mobile broadband if available or satellite where no other network is available.”
NSW Telco Authority senior project manager Joshua Marinovic wrote that VaaN “brings together the use of the PSN, 3G/4G and satellite access to the in-vehicle radio, with the outcome of all but eliminating the holes in communications coverage that are faced today when operational. “
“NSW SES members will experience near constant communication with the State Operations Centre, their unit headquarters and members operating in the field,” he wrote.
Marinovic said 150 SES vehicles have been equipped with the VaaN technology so far.
The NSW Telco Authority said the VaaN field trial will commence in “high risk areas” in the coming months, while it also continues expanding the PSN.
In 2021, NSW Fire and Rescue began deploying VaaN as part of its $57 million Connected Firefighter project.
A NSW Fire and Rescue factsheet [pdf] explained that VaaN also includes “advanced vehicle location and telemetry”, which improves response times and crew safety.
In August 2022, the authority granted Motorola Solutions a five-year, $60 million extension to its contract to upgrade the PSN.