Deployable LTE networks: Telefónica shows search & rescue, industrial use

by | 17 Oct 2017

We were very proud earlier this year to participate in Telefónica’s Mobile World Congress demonstration of LTE Nano, one of the world’s smallest deployments of a 4G standalone network.

So it was great to find out that Telefónica has now moved the project on substantially, with a field demonstration of the potential applications of deployable 4G networks for search and rescue and first responder communications; and a variety of industrial communications tasks.

If your Spanish skills are good, you can read more about the LTE Nano demo here, or view a YouTube video, also in Spanish, here. If not, I’ll try to fill in a few details.

The demonstrations, which took place in Buitrago de Lozoya near Madrid, were developed in collaboration with Accenture Digital, one of the first companies to collaborate with Telefónica in the development of innovative services that operate on deployable 4G networks. At the heart of the demos was a complete 4G LTE network, integrated within a backpack and weighing less than 3kg.

Deployable 4G for search and rescue

In a search and rescue scenario, the 4G network was used to provide voice and data communications coverage to a rescue team carrying smartphones and tablet. A drone carrying an HD camera flew over the search area, streaming video in real time via the LTE network: illustrating how the ability to quickly locate a missing person, even in the most inaccessible places.

Industrial and communications infrastructure

In a second demonstration, the same deployable 4G communications infrastructure was used to visually inspect Telefónica’s satellite communications monitoring antennas in the region. At 30m in diameter and located more than 40m up on an infrastructure weighing several hundred tons, these structures present a significant challenge for traditional inspection techniques involving a human operator.

Using the camera drone for this difficult task not only increases the speed and effectiveness of inspection, it also substantially reduces the personal risk to the operator.

Diversifying use cases for deployable LTE

Of course, it was great to be involved with Telefónica’s demo at MWC. But it’s even more gratifying to see Quortus technology moving into applications that can make a difference in the real world. I’ve always believed that this kind of deployable cellular network has huge potential in a wide variety of use cases. I’m sure we’ll see more like this, in the months and years to come.