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How spectrum can save lives

Zafar Anjum | July 15, 2013
Motorola Solutions’s Bharat Bhatia, Regional Director, Government Affairs for the APAC and Middle East regions, speaks on public protection, spectrum harmonisation and why Asia is leading in this area.

"At that time itself we started thinking that if this is going to be the craze among people that everybody would be so dependent on the phones, how about the people who save our lives, how about the public safety officials? Are they also going to need this data and this kind of mobile communications? So I think in 2000 (it was) the first time that we thought that we should start working on bringing the whole public safety wireless communications to a global reach. So we started working on some of the global concepts in this and I took a lead because I used to work together with the Government of India to propagate this whole issue of public safety around the world. So that started in 2000 and then for the last period of 13 years, we have now brought a lot of global attention on the whole issue in public safety."

In addition to his Motorola job, Bhatia also chairs the equity group on public safety and disaster relief (PPDR). He goes on to explain this role and what I entails. "APT is a regional regulatory telecommunications body and is based in Thailand, Bangkok and APT actually coordinates all the telecom activities within Asia. At the global level, it is done by the ITU, International Telecommunications Union. So ITU also has a group on PPDR which also I chair at the global level and also the regional level," he says.

"I also work very actively with the Indian telecoms today. So I think many have known that whenever there is any incident, how you respond to it, it really depends on how good your communications is. This has been proven over many instances where you look at what is happening in India today or what had happened in 9/11, any of these events, study after study has been done that if people are able to effectively communicate, the response is much better and you will save many lives. So the whole basis is that you need to have effective communication if you want to save people during disasters and emergencies, during terrorist attacks, even day to day robberies, incidents or murders, or fires and any of these things; so effective communication is the real basis for the success or failure of the responding agencies."

"Over the last many years we have noticed that these events have been increasing both in number, density and sizes," he says. Then he gives some examples of data risk incidents, of bombings and fire and major chemical hazards and nuclear incidents like that of Fukushima in Japan.

"So there have been a much larger scale of events and more frequent than it happened 50 years back," he continues. "So, this whole thing is actually rising. It is going on and on and on. Because of this huge level of incidents, there is a lot of dependence of the public safety agencies on user videos. Even in Singapore you will see the cameras all over. Every country has them. UK for example has 4.2 million cameras and that is a huge number."


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