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ABI Research predicts that public safety LTE will hit the mainstream markets after 2020 as trials and deployments gain momentum across the world. Hardware revenue is expected to grow by 30% annually, reaching $540 million in 2025. The United States, UK, and South Korea will host the world’s first three operational public safety LTE networks by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Many countries will likely follow suit, either through a dedicated public safety LTE network or a hosted or shared infrastructure model.
“Coexistence with legacy public safety protocols is still crucial, as legacy protocols, such as TETRA and P25, are still being deployed by agencies across the world,” says Lian Jye Su, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “Public safety LTE guarantees features that generate augmented user experience for public safety agencies through video streaming, file sharing, and real time analytics, without compromising security. It is imperative that authorities learn from countries like Australia and Finland, start early, and prepare for the switch.”
Public safety networks can benefit from various technological advancements in LTE. The advancements introduce new applications to public safety LTE like environmental sensors through LTE-M or NB-IoT, real-time surveillance through high-data throughput, and small unmanned aviation systems through edge computing. Existing public safety solutions, such as Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) that currently operate in proprietary hardware and software, can be virtualized, secured, and integrated with an overlay of cross-functional data storage, analytics, and intelligence.
3GPP standardizations are propelling the trials and deployments. 3GPP Release 13 and 14 introduced a slew of enhancements to public safety features, such as mission critical push-to-talk, LTE device-to-device communications, proximity services, and LTE Broadcast.