Nokia unveiled a groundbreaking agreement with Belgian telecommunications operator Citymesh, marking the first of its kind. The contract entails the provision of Nokia Drone Networks platform along with 70 Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) units. With this deployment, an extensive 5G automated drone grid will be established, covering the entire country of Belgium. This innovative system will enhance emergency response efforts by facilitating swift information dissemination and optimizing resource mobilization during critical events.

Branded SENSE by Citymesh, the 70 drones are deployed in 35 emergency zones across the country and will gather information in the critical 15-minute period immediately following a call. This ensures that first responder teams are fully apprised of and equipped to respond to each unique situation.

Belgium’s emergency services receive over two million calls annually, and often, dispatching police and fire brigades is hindered by incomplete information, impacting the efficiency of their response. The implementation of Nokia Drone Networks addresses this challenge. Pilots will have the capability to operate drones round the clock, leveraging strategically positioned docking stations across the country for seamless dispatch. This enables emergency teams to gather comprehensive data and significantly enhances the responsiveness and effectiveness of their operations.

Drone and Network Features

The drones are equipped with advanced features such as high-definition cameras and AI-enhanced thermal imaging capabilities. This enables them to capture real-time aerial footage, including crucial information like smoke plumes, fire parameters, and the number and location of individuals in the affected area. This valuable data is swiftly transmitted to control centers, even before emergency teams have had a chance to arrive at the scene. The aerial images play a vital role in identifying an effective plan of action, enabling prompt decision-making that can potentially save lives and minimize damage to assets and natural resources affected by the emergency situation.

Nationwide availability of SENSE follows pilot projects in the Fluvia fire brigade in Kortrijk, Brussels Airport Company, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, and the city of Genk, with the support of the Federal Public Service Economy.

The Nokia Drone Networks solution connects to public and private 4G and 5G networks to enhance situational awareness for first responders and other professionals. It can be operated remotely and complies with aviation regulatory bodies such as EASA in Europe and FAA in the United States.

The platform is equipped with a dual gimbal camera, docking station, and edge data processing, and it is supported by an open API framework that allows integration of third-party applications to expand its capabilities for a wider range of use cases.

The solution will be featured at the Nokia booth J60 during Critical Communications World in Helsinki, 23-25 May 2023.

Comments from Citymesh and Nokia

Hans SimilonGeneral Manager, Citymesh Safety Drone, said: “SENSE is a great example of how technology can save lives. We’ve been impressed with Nokia as our partner for reliable wireless connectivity and an outstanding turnkey Drone-in-a-Box solution that we can customize to our specific needs. Together, we’re making Belgium safer and proving just how innovative we are as a nation.”

Thomas Eder, Head of Embedded Wireless Solutions, Nokia, said: “We are proud to be selected by Citymesh as the turnkey 5G Drone-in-a-Box platform provider for SENSE. Our 5G-connected drone platform is a logical extension of our leadership in building nationwide wireless networks. Nokia Drone Networks is a game-changer for operational efficiency of first responders and data security. Enabled by Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE), it ensures that collected data is stored locally and stays under the full control of authorities.”

Post Image- Busy Port of Antwerp (Image Credit: envatoelements by CreativeNature_nl)

Stay on top of industry news, developments, resources and articles- Sign up for a free C-UAS Hub Membership to bookmark your favorite content and receive the weekly newsletter and important industry updates!