BAPCO Online brings UK sector together


March witnessed the first iteration of BAPCO: The Online Event, staged following the rescheduling of the organisation’s annual Conference & Exhibition to October.

ESN programme director John Black
ESN programme director John Black
Taking place across three days, it included a virtual exhibition as well as a range of conference presentations, touching on every aspect of public safety communications technology in the UK. As has been the case with all recent BAPCO events however, the majority of the headline content related to the ongoing roll-out of the Emergency Services Network.

Opening the first day of the conference, newly installed ESMCP programme director John Black gave what was referred to as a ‘big picture’ overview of ESN, ahead of what will likely be a huge year for the project.

Discussing recent progress, specifically in relation to voice, he said: "The core parts of the ESN solution are up and running today. We have Direct 1 in production with immigration enforcement. In couple of months - probably in April - we'll be enabling Direct 2, which allows Airwave interworking.”

Moving onto timescale, he said: “The programme is at the point of focussing on first release. Regarding dates going forward, we are trying to get as much certainty as we can, but I want to be really confident. We're working through that as fast as we can, but no faster.

"We believe we'll have the ESN version one date around the end of March, into April. By mid-year we should have a much better overall programme plan, developed in collaboration with the senior users."

Following on from John Black, the next day began with another ESN-related presentation, this time coming from the user perspective. It was delivered by ESN director of deployment and user insight, Becca Jones, south west region programme director, chief superintendent, Colin Searle, and ESN operational lead, Mark Jones.

Beginning his part of the presentation, Mark Jones discussed Merseyside's ESN product testing process, relating in particular to Direct 2. His presentation also included an impromptu live demo of interworking between a Direct 2 device and an Airwave handset.

Searle meanwhile - talking about the region's decision to become an ESN assurance partner -, said: "We wanted to be influencing the programme, rather than being a passive recipient of the product. We wanted to be a critical friend.”

Other, non-ESN, related sessions taking place during BAPCO Online included Ofcom’s Huw Saunders discussing imminent changes to the UK telecoms network, David Lund discussing the pan-European emergency services broadband project BroadWay, and much more.

All BAPCO: The Online Event sessions will be available on demand from March 15. To register, click here.

The BAPCO 2021 annual Conference & Exhibition will take place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, from 12-13 October.

Media contact

Philip Mason
Managing Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216