Cross-border connectivity in a crisis - today and tomorrow


Collaboration is at the heart of every emergency response. In the case of catastrophic events - from severe flooding across borders to a large-scale terrorist attack - which call on multiple Emergency Response Organisations (EROs) - the complexity of the communication network increases with incident severity. More messages are relayed, more resources are required and more lives are at risk.

Maintaining clear and effective communication during a major incident is fundamental in mitigating its impact, and a breakdown in communication is regularly cited as the leading cause of an unsuccessful response. For a serious event to be effectively managed, loss of life to be minimised and the damage to critical infrastructure to be contained, collaboration must be immediate and efficient.

During a mutual aid scenario, shared situational awareness between police, fire, ambulance, rescue services and volunteer organisations is key, and in accordance with the UK’s national multi-agency interoperability model, the JESIP principles, it will enable effective multi-agency working. Establishing this synergy involves conveying real-time location information across agencies and leveraging interoperable Push-To-Talk (PTT) services - which consolidate communication into a singular action, facilitating instant group conversations. Consequently, resources are effectively coordinated and deployed, and the safety of frontline responders at the scene is improved.

Despite the criticality of ERO collaboration, it’s currently not a straightforward process, particularly when attempting to communicate across different networks such as Mission-Critical (MCX), TETRA and DMR - although challenges are still prevalent within homogeneous technologies. Difficulties lie in attempting to connect different two-way radio systems - typically, a significant amount of time is required to set up interoperable channels, and a separate interface is needed for each connected ERO. Consequently, solutions can’t be easily supplemented or adapted as the interoperability needs of an agency evolve. Traditional interoperability solutions also lack the capability to share the real-time location information of personnel, and don't support data communication channels. For agencies to be prepared for critical events, and equipped to contribute to a robust multi-facet response, they require a dynamic solution that can rapidly establish interoperable communications across borders and networks.

Reliability, resilience, interoperability

We’ve taken over 90 years’ experience delivering mission-critical communications to first responders to build a solution that meets their need for reliable, resilient, interoperable connectivity. Purpose-built for public safety operations, Critical Connect is a unique cloud-based mission-critical interoperability service which provides the secure real-time exchange of voice, data and video.

An interoperability service that connects public safety LMR systems with further LMR networks and control room applications, Critical Connect provides interoperable PTT services between TETRA, P25, DMR and MCX systems - within and beyond your organisation. Where traditional solutions require numerous physical links to establish connections, Critical Connect uses virtual connections to reach a multitude of networks - facilitating information exchange with other EROs, regardless of their location, technology or platform.

Critical Connect’s scalability enables it to be expanded in accordance with the needs of your agency and the extent of the crisis situation, and will also ensure a smooth transition to broadband MCX services in the future. In accordance with interoperability best practices between organisations, the system is also quick and easy to configure and manage, with minimal training required, and can be leveraged using existing systems and devices.

Based on a mature platform that has currently been deployed with 2 million active users across the globe, Critical Connect facilitates collaboration across global organisations, enhancing safety, situational awareness, and operational efficiency to support coordinated collaboration and structured response to a crisis.

Find out more about Motorola Solutions and our mission-critical communication technology designed for first responders.

Tim Clark
Industry Relations Director.