CCW speaker interview: Paul Steinberg


Motorola Solutions’ senior vice president of technology discusses challenges and opportunities facing the sector, and the sessions he’s most looking forward to in Madrid.

Motorola Solutions’ senior vice president of technology, Paul Steinberg
Motorola Solutions’ senior vice president of technology, Paul Steinberg
CCW 2021 will focus on how current critical communications solutions can be maintained and enhanced, while at the same time exploring what’s next. What needs to be ‘protected’, and what advances would you like to see in the field?

I think the most important thing to ‘protect’ has to be the safety and productivity that continues to be enabled by the solutions which people trust their business or wellbeing to. In terms of the underlying technology, there is a critical need for resilience and reliability. For example, communication systems that provide for graceful failure handling and cyber-resilience, which are core characteristics of mission-critical systems.

Another part of this trust factor is, of course, the user experience. This has to be intuitive and simple, and counterintuitively this gets harder as the capabilities of the technologies expand. As more technologies such as AI are introduced in order to manage data and streamline workflows, the ability to keep the user in control of critical decisions must be preserved. This is a concept known as ‘human in the loop’.

I also think that there needs to continue to be open standardisation, to ensure that we have a strong multi-vendor environment. This makes sure of a healthy and diverse supplier ecosystem which helps drive innovation.

What will be the big opportunities and challenges for the sector over the next five years? 

As is often the case, the opportunities can engender the challenges. The opportunities include:

● Mobile broadband (4G/5G) and its attendant functionality such as video, telemetry and autonomous

● Hybrid networking - reliability/coverage

● Refining data and connectivity into actionable information (59 ZB in 2020)

● Compute as a Service/Storage as a Service/Networking as a Service. Operationalizing prodigious data

● Increased context, for instance X,Y,Z precise indoor/outside location, personal sensors, video/voice as a sensor and so on.

At the same time, the challenges include: 

● The complexity of hybrid networking, such as transparent UX, management, cost, and complexity

● System and technology migration

● Technology lifecycle turnover

● The fact that capabilities are increasingly being delivered rapidly/incrementally in software, and consumed virtually as a Service

● Cybersecurity

● Thoughtful/responsible ethical sse, especially in applications of AI

● Increased technology regulation, such as the EU proposal to regulate AI.

What will be the most transformative technology in the coming years, in your opinion? How is the market likely to develop because of that technology?

I think there are a number of broad technologies, the impact of which on the industry will be transformative. These include:

● Pervasive high-resolution real-time mobile video

● Artificial intelligence and machine learning, particularly as it relates to unstructured data

● Intelligent and connected everything.

These technologies will be vital in enabling emerging use cases such as remote unmanned aerial vehicle operations. UAVs can be deployed in response to calls-for-service such as missing persons, or in pursuit situations. In those instances, emergency service organisations could harness the ability of UAV video to see beyond the human spectrum – for instance - infrared to spot heat signatures.

What big changes would you like to see in the world of critical communications? What would make the sector more efficient and effective?

The critical communications sector has been associated with having long sales cycles, which can be problematic when dealing with shortening technology lifecycles and fast-paced innovation. So, I think it is vital that the sector embraces new consumption models such as aaS, which are more suited to the modern digital era.

What key take-home points would you like people to get from your session?

The public safety community is facing multiple challenges, all of which put strain on limited resources. That said, I truly believe that we are on the precipice of a renaissance in mission-critical communications and operations. 

With the emerging technical capabilities at our disposal, we can use AI, video analytics, mission-critical broadband and LMR together as a resource multiplier for many public safety challenges. To get this right, we need to apply solution thinking, integrating these technologies in a purpose-built manner so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This will enable better societal outcomes.

Which CCW conference sessions or masterclasses are you most looking forward to attending?

There are a number of sessions where users of mission-critical technology are providing case studies, and/or offering their experiences and insights. This is always insightful, instructive and inspiring.

I’m also looking forward to Ricardo Gonzalez’s presentation on ‘An age of transition: ensuring ongoing operation in challenging situations’. I expect that his session will highlight some of the key challenges public safety network operators face as they deploy mission-critical broadband technology.

Register and join us at CCW 2021.

Media contact

Philip Mason
Managing Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216