Is it time for a 999-like (or 112/911) system for critical information services?


The nature of information gathering and dissemination has changed dramatically over the past 20 years as traditional media sources are increasingly being replaced by a cacaphony of social media channels. Despite this, society still expects to disseminate its critical information via traditional news sources. Public Warning Systems (PWS) exist, but concerns about spamming users with irrelevant warnings mean that mostly only life threatening emergency warnings are delivered via PWS. We argue that it is time for society to upgrade its infrastructure for critical information services (CIS) and that a smartphone app system can provide a standardised, less-intrusive user interface to deliver CIS, especially if the traffic for the app is prioritised during congestion periods. Accordingly, we make three contributions in this paper. Firstly, using network parameters from our longitudinal measurements of network performance in Central London (an area of high user traffic), we show, with simulations, that reserving some bandwidth exclusively for CIS could assure QoS for CIS without significant degradation for other services. Secondly, we provide a conceptual design of a 999 CIS app, which can mimic the current 999 voice system and can be built using 3GPP defined systems. Thirdly, we identify the stakeholder relationships with industry partners and policymakers that can help to deliver a CIS system that is fit for purpose for an increasingly smartphone-based society.

Proceedings of the IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium
Emeka Obiodu
PhD Student, working on differentiated services for 5G