Nowadays, there is growing uncertainty about the near-future evolution of existing first-responder communication systems – professional mobile radios. Driven mainly by bandwidth requirements, mobile streaming and enhanced voice services seem to smoothly migrate towards next-generation networks. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded GERYON (Next generation technology independent interoperability of emergency services) project set out to explore and develop a next-generation emergency network. The system ensures seamless operation regardless of the access technology, using technology-independent standardised interfaces and autonomous configuration and adaptation techniques through Internet Multimedia Sub-system (IMS) suite of standards. Specifically, the system is capable of connecting existing first-responder communication systems and integrating these systems into next-generation mobile networks. Project partners first defined the overall system architecture and interface specifications between different modules and systems. They designed and developed the central management system as well as a user management function in the GERYON-enhanced gateway node. This helps support the integration of professional mobile radio users into IMS. Multiple software clients were created to enables the use of a subset of GERYON services through non-GERYON access networks to first responders and specifically to ambulances. The team developed, evaluated and demonstrated enhanced emergency services support in 4G wireless communication networks. All developed systems, components, and hardware and software modules were combined to create an overall system aimed at demonstrating the complete GERYON ecosystem. Lastly, project members conducted real-world testing, validation and assessment of overall system performance. By the end of the project, 4 journal and 17 conference papers had been produced. GERYON introduced effective solutions to the issues encountered by users of emergency communication networks. The various services and system components developed have the potential to revolutionise how emergency situations are managed, rendering communication quicker and much more reliable. An introduction (The Geryon project video) and a summary (GERYON Communications for life video) are available online.
Emergency communication networks, emergency services, first responders, professional mobile radios, interoperability