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IoT and emergency services

Interconnected, “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices are now in and across private, public, and industrial spaces. IoT technologies are in use in all application domains including the emergency services. The European technical standards body ETSI’s Special Committee EMTEL (emergency communications) has released a report, ETSI TR 103 582, on use cases and communications involving IoT devices in the provision of emergency situations and providing recommendations on standardisation requirements.

ETSI TR 103 582 considers communications involving IoT devices in all types of emergency situations, such as emergency calling, mission critical communications, and Public Warning System communications and adds a new emergency communications domain identified as automated emergency response, where IoT devices can act after receiving a trigger to prevent hazardous situations. Eight case studies illustrate how such communications can be used to provide extra or enhanced information for communicating parties involved in such situations. For example, a smoke detector in a rubbish container could send an emergency message in the event of a fire, sending potentially in parallel a real-time emergency video. Another case could also be that an IoT device turns off as soon as a gas tap or slows down a high-speed train when it receives an earthquake public warning (automated response).

ETSI TR 103 582 also helps prepare the potential standardisation requirements enabling a safe operation of these communications. The case studies are analysed from the point of view of potential failures putting safety at risk. Potential means to prevent these points of failure are identified, the impact of these use cases on existing or future standards is assessed and recommendations for requirements against EMTEL existing specifications for each domain are provided.

Michelle Wetterwald, from the ETSI EMTEL committee, says: “The ETSI Report prepares the requirements for communications involving IoT devices in all types of emergency situations. It also leverages from benefits of IoT with data gathering without human interaction, objectivity of IoT data, fast and fail-safe information sharing, translation of human languages not required, real-time data transmission and operation in dangerous environments.”


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