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South Korea rolls out LTE backpacks, drones for first responders

KT Corperation has unveiled technologies that are part of a public safety project to enable fire, police and rescue responders to better communicate with each other using everyday devices.

South Korean telco KT Corperation on Tuesday demonstrated new technologies engineered to better respond to disasters or public safety crises in remote areas, including a mobile network server that can deliver LTE coverage mounted from a backpack.

In Pyeongchang in the country's Gangwon Province, the telco demonstrated the LTE Backpack, a lightweight network mini-base station designed to be deployed on the fly and in remote areas, such as at sea or in the mountains; along with its Drone LTE, specially armed with telecom modules as well as video and thermal cameras to facilitate search and rescue operations by first responders.

The LTE drone and backpack were displayed as part of a multi-billion dollar emergency communications infrastructure project dubbed Public Safety LTE, which will enable fire, police and rescue responders to better communicate with each other using everyday devices.

The technologies can be effectively used for search and rescue operations because they work together using the emergency IT infrastructure, according to Oh Sung-mok, KT network division head and company vice president.

South Korea is in the process of building a national public safety network to be used by the military, police, fire department, transportation department and other agencies -- a project worth 2 trillion won ($1.74 billion) tentatively projected to roll out next year. The project became prioritised after the Sewol disaster last year, in which over 300 people died after a ferry capsized. The heavy casualty was blamed on late responses.

KT and SK Telecom were officially chosen to participate in the project, while handset makers Samsung and Pantech are also in talks to supply specially made devices that will be a boon to their enterprise businesses.

KT will also deploy its "Triple GiGA Network" of satellite, fiber optics, and microwave technology to make sure the communication links stay connected in case one or two of them malfunction. "KT can contribute to making the nation safer by leveraging KT's LTE network technology," Oh said in a statement.

The telco also teamed up with local handset makers and other companies to roll out smartphones and walkie-talkies running on the public safety networks.

Source: ZDNet.co.kr