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APD Communications first to gain accreditation for new emergency services network

Pictured are Keeley Barrick, Mike Isherwood Darren Jackson, Sean Hancock and Declan Whiting

Software developed by APD Communications is the first to be officially certified to support a new state-of-the-art communications network for the UK’s emergency services.

Hull-based APD’s software, Cortex, has been accredited by the Network Approval Testing Service (NATS). The NATS endorsement – a critical element of the requirements to operate on the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) – provides emergency services organisations with assurance and confidence in APD as a software supplier in pole position to support the blue light sector as it undergoes this communications revolution.

The Home Office is driving the transition to ESN, which will be an essential part of Britain’s critical national infrastructure. ESN will provide police, fire and rescue and ambulance services, as well as other public safety organisations, with secure and resilient voice communication and data services matching those available through best-in-class commercial networks.

As a supplier of critical, life-saving software used by one in two UK police forces and other emergency services organisations across the UK, APD is at the forefront of the ESN transition process.

Cortex is APD’s software-only Integrated Communication Control System (ICCS) and is used to answer emergency calls and communicate with front line responders in more than 70 control rooms around the world.

APD managing director Mike Isherwood said: “We’re delighted to gain this accreditation for our ICCS software, which is the result of many months of work by our development teams and collaboration with the Home Office, emergency services organisations and our technology partners.

“We’re totally committed to ensuring existing and future customers are prepared for ESN, to ensure they experience a seamless transition and are able to maximise the benefits from this revolution in life-saving communications.

“Cortex helps our customers connect, collaborate and communicate when it matters most. It’s radio, telephony, CCTV and access control all on one screen.”

Mobile network operator EE is responsible for building the LTE (long term evolution) network and providing network coverage for ESN whilst Motorola Solutions is delivering the user services and critical public safety applications on top of the network.

As part of its role, Motorola Solutions has established NATS as the testing service for suppliers seeking certification that their technology is ESN compliant and can be part of the new communications framework.

Mick Rhodes, ESN Programme Director at Motorola Solutions, said: “NATS is a vital part of the preparations and enabling procedures for ESN. It is a rigorous and demanding process and sets the bar very high for ESN compliance.”

Sean Hancock, APD’s technical manager and ESN Lead, said: “Achieving this accreditation validates the highly-structured process we applied to this challenge. We built a dedicated team and infrastructure for the project, as well as an in-house test environment.

“The core functionality of Cortex is ready for ESN and provides further assurance to existing and future customers that it will deliver a business-as-usual transition to the new network.

“We’re ahead of the game and can now focus on further features to deliver additional, value-added operational benefits, such as incorporating video streams into control rooms.”

Founded in Hull and based at Newland Science Park, APD has developed cutting-edge digital technology in the city for more than 30 years. APD develops critical, life-saving software used by the police and other emergency services organisations across the UK, as well as transport and aviation operators nationally and internationally.


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