When Connectivity Is Not Optional, Keeping First Responders Connected When It Matters Most
Ben Posthuma, Kymeta Services Technology and Strategy Manager
At Kymeta, we are building on our core, connect-anywhere, satellite antenna technology to provide a ubiquitous communications and information platform that thrives in mobile and challenged environments. We are building forward-looking technology to deliver critical information, when its needed, anywhere in the world. We are making mobile global.
Technology – It’s Not Like the Movies
Take a minute to think about your favorite action movie which involves a hero team of characters. Maybe it’s a movie about an elite special forces group, a team of hotshot firefighters, or special agents who risk themselves to expertly save lives with impeccable precision.
Now think about the one thing these stories have in common.
They all face extraordinarily complex scenarios which are executed flawlessly because of the use of technology. Unfortunately, technology does not always perform in the most ideal way in the real world. Systems don’t natively work together, networks aren’t always there or don’t have the bandwidth when you need them, and devices don’t always process the right kind of information. As the world becomes more connected, and machines, devices, and humans engage more than ever before, those of us in the information industry must work to build systems and architectures that enable the visions we are presented with in fiction.
A Better Antenna
At Kymeta, we are making the systems our first responders, military, and industries use today better and more accessible. Satellite can enable communications virtually everywhere, but connecting to satellite networks, especially when you’re moving, is often difficult and expensive. We have solved this problem with our holographic beamforming flat panel antenna system. The antenna mounts easily to the top of a vehicle, recognizes where it is in the world and where the satellites are, and connects to them – all while the vehicle is moving and without any intervention from the operator.
Satellite and Cellular, A New Kind of Network
Two years ago, Kymeta began investigating ways to bring cellular and satellite networks together. Not as two separate options or a failover if one isn’t available, but as a single network.
Working with key partners, we have established technology that connects the platform to the best satellite and cellular networks available. Local and cloud-based orchestration services look at user demand and identify the optimal route for the traffic. Virtual concentrators maintain data sessions even though the individual networks change. The user of a Kymeta-equipped mobile platform will always have the best connectivity in any environment without any intervention from the operator. This multi-WAN strategy has been deployed in multiple high-demand scenarios from the DoD to local first responders, and is critical to the communications backbone of many agencies.
The Right Information at The Right Time
The next challenge was finding a way to provide the right information at the right time. Applications and services integrated into the terminal function as edge-compute nodes, with data stored locally for rapid dissemination and processing without needing to reach back to a centralized system. This means analytics and artificial intelligence can look at the data, learn who the operators are and what they need, and automatically send the right information when it’s needed. For the operator, this means a reduction in information fatigue and an increase in more accurate information, optimizing the decision-making process for a safer and more effective response.
More Information, More Applications
Because processing and collection are now located at the edge of the network, the bulk of network traffic moves to the incident. Nodes in a local area can now interconnect and share information. By creating node-to-node traffic flows, a greater amount of information can be shared uninhibited by overly taxed backhaul networks.
Finally, the Kymeta platform also provides a local resource to host and deliver a wide range of applications to the operators. These can be existing applications or ones provided by third parties, but the ability to host them locally provides a faster and more reliable user experience.
Making Mobile Global
While the movies present a technology utopia that does not exist yet, Kymeta is actively developing the framework to provide those elements which are needed most. Consistent, reliable, and optimized communications are the foundation. Bridging cloud and edge computing into a mobile platform for reliable information access provides a highly capable distribution platform. And finally, delivering the applications to the operators puts the technology right into their hands. At Kymeta, we know what a connected future looks like and we have a few ideas on what it takes to get there.