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Innovation & Research

Innovation & Research

The foundation of our technology leadership

A solid technological basis and high capacity for innovation are the drivers of research & development at Frequentis. The company is widely recognised as an innovation leader in the markets it serves.

Technological competence paired with solid domain know-how ensures that systems and solutions delivered to customers remain at the highest technical level; at the same time, actively pushing development and standardisation forward. Participation in international research projects allows the company to actively create an innovative future.

Research activities are a cornerstone of technology leadership. Corporate initiatives are driven by a customer need or a promising technological concept. Thus, research projects are either a joint undertaking with a customer or carried out within the framework of an international research programme that also involves customers. This means every research project is guided by an approved business case and the overarching goal is to set international standards in relevant fields. Research efforts always benefit from diversity, which is why a high value is placed on the exchange of ideas and insights with customers and cooperation with universities, research institutions and other industry partners. These collaborations enable the company to anticipate technological challenges and identify the requirements that next generation systems need to address. Demonstrations and developments that provide proof of concept allow for early validation of new technological approaches and operational concepts.

Frequentis’ SESAR engagement is a good example that has received high appreciation in Europe and beyond. SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) aims to improve Air Traffic Management performance by modernising and harmonising ATM systems through the definition, development, validation and deployment of innovative technological and operational ATM solutions. SESAR 1 has successfully concluded. Frequentis is leading the consortium “Frequentis SESAR Partners” and now fully commits itself to SESAR 2020, the continuation of this European research initiative, with even higher emphasis on product-orientated and solution-orientated research.

With all technological improvements and changes, Frequentis retains a high focus on the humans that use the company’s products and their specific working environment. An integrated display of all relevant information offers important support for the controller, operations manager, officer-in-command or other decision makers when they have to cope with stressful working conditions. A dedicated user interface design process helps operators to complete high-pressure and safety-critical tasks and to secure efficiency in the control room processes. Key for the success of these research activities is the close cooperation between research teams and the product management organisations within the Frequentis business units. With the goal to define our product portfolio for the future, product development naturally needs to collaborate closely with research mainly targeting the medium and long-term perspective.

Over the last years, customers have faced various challenges resulting from rapid developments in IT technology, such as virtualisation of solutions, deployment in cloud environments, new operational concepts, and security threats. Frequentis’ products tackle these aspects through adaptations in new releases with agile development cycles.

News

SESAR U-space demonstrations: Safe drone traffic integration in the Gulf of Finland (GOF)

The SESAR Joint Undertaking GOF U-space project in Estonia and Finland demonstrates that Europe is on course with its implementation of U-space, an initiative that aims to ensure safe and secure drone traffic management. The project not only accelerates the realisation of manned and unmanned mobility in the lower airspace, taking into account the rapid growth in the use of drones, but also showcases the progress towards reaching the objective of a unified European airspace.

claudiaj.bacco@frequentis.com | 2018-10-29

Technologieminister Norbert Hofer gratuliert FREQUENTIS zum EU-Auftrag für die Mitwirkung bei groß angelegten Drohnentests

Im Rahmen eines Firmenbesuches bei der Frequentis AG in Wien konnte sich Technologie- und Infrastrukturminister Norbert Hofer von der Innovationskraft der österreichischen High-Tech Schmiede überzeugen. Frequentis-Eigentümer Hannes Bardach ließ es sich nicht nehmen, den Herrn Bundesminister zu den laufenden Innovationsvorhaben sowie Projekten zu informieren.

 

claudiaj.bacco@frequentis.com | 2018-10-12

SESAR2020: Second successful Multiple Remote Tower validation for three airports

The SESAR 2020 project PJ05 “Remote Tower for Multiple Airports” aims to bring the concept of remotely controlled multiple airports to the next maturity level. From 19th to 27th March 2018, the Lithuanian ANSP Oro Navigacija (ON), DLR and Frequentis AG performed a validation exercise for multiple Remote Tower at DLR in Braunschweig, to test the concept’s operational feasibility.

jennifer.mclellan@frequentis.com | 2018-04-30

Norbert Haslacher appointed CEO of FREQUENTIS AG

Norbert Haslacher, a successful manager and IT expert, will head the Frequentis Group, an international provider of communication and information solutions for safety-critical applications. Before his Frequentis assignment, Haslacher spent more than 15 years at CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation), a global IT services company focusing on application development, systems integration, outsourcing, cloud, big data, and cyber security.

During his tenure with Frequentis, Haslacher has been able to contribute his extensive software knowledge as well as his broad international experience.

jennifer.mclellan@frequentis.com | 2018-04-23

User Experience

Frequentis’ work is based on a process where humans are in the centre of the solution - this helps to achieve the goal of defining, designing and evaluating a safe, performing and resilient working environment where human abilities and health are considered a priority.

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Humans in the centre of the solution

Frequentis’ work is based on a process where humans are in the centre of the solution - this helps to achieve the goal of defining, designing and evaluating a safe, performing and resilient working environment where human abilities and health are considered a priority.

“Understanding” is the baseline used for processes, targets and key performance indicators within the control centre with the main goal of operating a control centre with zero failure at maximum productivity. Based on the “understanding” of the customer needs, in accordance to comparable performance indicators, the design is developed in close cooperation with the user and acceptance based on scientific methods.

To visualise design concepts and improve understanding of the working process and HMI requirements; mock-ups and prototypes are used to help stakeholders to evaluate, prove and describe design suggestions.

With the goal of human performance in the control room, it is important to balance objective and subjective criteria within testing. For all criteria, standardised scientific methods allow comparability with best of class.

To ensure a successful implementation of the project, scientific proof confirms that the performance and user experience criteria have been met. This confirmation is based on industry-standard guidelines (ISO 9241 series, EUROCONTROL’s HF Case) closely linked with processes like project management, safety management and customer training.

During every change to their work environment, people and their skills to carry this change play a major role. This is especially the case in the safety-critical area. User acceptance is therefore essential to operate new systems. Otherwise it would lead to significant and unexpected increases in project / operational costs.

With “Social Transition Management”, a 5-step user centric design process includes a solution to the problem of ensuring the user acceptance. And most importantly, Frequentis will support throughout the entire lifecycle of a control room.

Learn more about Control Room Consulting on YouTube.

SESAR

By the end of 2016, SESAR 1 delivered more than 60 technological and operational solutions, thus contributing to an enhanced European ATM infrastructure. As a Member of the SJU, Frequentis actively participated in more than 30 projects. Important achievements of SESAR 1 include prototype work for remote tower, iCWP evaluation and demonstrations, data models for AIM, MET and Airport, and a significant development in the field of D-NOTAM.

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SESAR – participating in one of the biggest global technology ATM programmes

By the end of 2016, SESAR 1 delivered more than 60 technological and operational solutions, thus contributing to an enhanced European ATM infrastructure. As a Member of the SJU, Frequentis actively participated in more than 30 projects. Important achievements of SESAR 1 include prototype work for remote tower, iCWP evaluation and demonstrations, data models for AIM, MET and Airport, and a significant development in the field of D-NOTAM.

The goal towards a Single European Sky is now further pursued within the programme SESAR 2020. Together with the Hungarian ANSP, HungaroControl, and the French IT service provider, Atos, Frequentis works on a total of 10 projects (WAVE 1) as part of the consortium "Frequentis SESAR Partners (FSP)". The FSP consortium sets to enhance cross-industry innovation through integrating different stakeholders in the ATM value chain. In partnership and cooperation with the many other SESAR 2020 members we address the following key topics: remote virtual towers, virtual centres, voice and data communications including SWIM, future communications infrastructure (FCI) and information management.

We see major trends in the areas of improved automation, new algorithms, virtualisation of ATC services as well as improving regional and global interoperability. The FSP consortium’s key development targets comprise:

  • In towers and airports, the team will create the next generation Tower HMI, featuring a future surveillance and flight information display (post-EFS) and advanced safety-nets. The commitment to research in remote towers continues by leading the evolution to multi-remote tower capabilities – a project started already in SESAR 1. In addition, there is work being conducted to improve visual surveillance and adding alternative surveillance solutions.
  • Virtual centre operation is another big work activity: By shaping the operational concept definition for virtual centres a common, harmonised understanding of the concept of operations is ensured. The common data centre services and the provision of voice services through a common services model are essential enablers to make the virtual centre a reality. With a virtual centre operation, all of the tower and centre platforms will be embracing an independent working position concept and are integrated and interconnected using SWIM and SOA principles, especially the integration of voice and communication services is something very innovative here.
  • In the field of voice and data communication, Frequentis is working on the implementation of geographically independent voice communications, the terrestrial air/ground (A/G) datalink as part of the future communication infrastructure (FCI) as well as ATM-grade networking. Aeronautical data and mapping services will support 4D trajectory management, SWIM will evolve further to cover A/G functionality and the improved integration of military stakeholders as well as the evolution of SWIM data, information and service models.

Above all, Frequentis pursues a joint approach to various validations with consortium and SESAR partners.

Standards

Standardisation is an important means of innovation. First, because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process, and second, because it makes it easier to disseminate ground-breaking ideas and knowledge about leading edge techniques. Thus, standardisation is also indispensable for building customer trust in products, services and systems.

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We set standards!

Standardisation is an important means of innovation. First, because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process, and second, because it makes it easier to disseminate ground-breaking ideas and knowledge about leading edge techniques. Thus, standardisation is also indispensable for building customer trust in products, services and systems.

With its capacity for innovation and technical expertise, Frequentis seeks to actively participate in the development of standards and regulatory measures. The company has always placed special emphasis on developing its expertise in setting standards in safety-critical markets. However, “setting standards” is not just seen as a powerful driver in development; it gives customers the security of knowing that they are investing in a future-oriented system.

Our experts are engaged in standardisation bodies covering all industries in which the company operates. Just to mention a few examples:

  • EUROCAE Working Groups 67: work on the reference architecture for a globally harmonised standard for VoIP-based voice communication.
  • National Emergency Number Association (NENA): For many years, participation in the NG911 initiative in the United States.
  • The ETSI Rail Telecommunications committee is engaged with GSM-R, covering GSM standardisation as it relates to railway and private mobile radio (PMR).

Standards bring safe investments for our customers!

Cyber Security

Providers of safety critical services are facing severe challenges when they want to implement measures to defend themselves against the rapidly growing IT security threats. There are several reasons for that.

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Cyber security for safety critical services and vital infrastructures

Providers of safety critical services are facing severe challenges when they want to implement measures to defend themselves against the rapidly growing IT security threats. There are several reasons for that:

  • Best practises for cyber security in many cases are contradicting best practises for system safety. One example is the practise to implement software security patches in a timely manner after vulnerabilities get published, which is contradicting the safety best practise of keeping a thoroughly tested and documented system unchanged until a new formally verified and documented release is installed.
  • Technical systems often have a lifetime of 15 or even 20 years, containing components which were developed long ago and don’t support software hardening well. Other measures must be found to make the system acceptably secure.
  • Security is not a static property of a technical system, it is a quality, which must be managed day-by-day with a focus on systems, processes and staff. For safety-relevant services the handling of exceptions adds additional challenges: Often, “fail safe” contradicts “fail secure”.

The demand for solutions to integrate security concepts into safety defines one of the research focus of Frequentis together with its end-user partners, research partners and industry partners. It comprises: integrated safety & security system architectures and design patterns, hardware based solutions for the separation of security zones, encryption of critical real-time media streams (such as voice, video, sensor data) and hardening of system components.

In addition to the providers of safety relevant services, organisations responsible for national cyber crisis management and cyber defence are getting new, overarching responsibilities on a national level by new legal provisions. They are responsible for defending the vital infrastructures and for managing crisis situations in case of an attack with severe consequences.

As control room vendor for many different domains in the physical world, Frequentis is transforming its experience now into the cyber space. Together with selected customers, specialised research and industry partners, the company focus is on research of solutions for national cyber crisis management and defence, covering overarching situational awareness, decision support and incident management for the protection of vital infrastructures.

Crisis and Disaster Management

The key idea of crisis and disaster management research is to meet the challenge of supporting customers in those situations, where standard business procedures fail.

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Crisis and Disaster Management

The key idea of crisis and disaster management research is to meet the challenge of supporting customers in those situations, where standard business procedures fail.

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • After an ice storm, public safety answering points are flooded with emergency calls, additional emergency resources are required and relief organisations need to collaborate on an operational, tactical and strategic level. Decision making is done in various locations and on different levels of management. Crisis staff organisations are put in place to cope with the complexity.
  • A civilian airplane entering the European airspace is not responding on radio. The comparison of the actual flight track with the planned route shows a significant deviation. At the same time, an important political summit is taking place within 25 minutes flying time. Interceptors are dispatched for reconnaissance to assess the situation, since the civilian airliner may have been hijacked to be used as weapon. Different organisations need to work together on the ground to provide the necessary information base for the decision making: civilian air traffic management, police, armed forces, and other authorities providing information about possible targets on the ground.

It is situations like these which demand leadership capabilities at an extremely high level. Leadership is a human quality – and it can be supported by technology. So, which concrete capabilities are behind leadership in such demanding situations? And how can technology support it?

 

Specific leadership capabilities – the starting point for our research

  • The capability to have a clear understanding of the situation including all relevant pieces of information
  • The capability to make sustainable decisions by considering all options and their consequences
  • The capability to direct the operations in an effective way by steering and monitoring all relevant actions
  • The capability to communicate any time in a secure way with all relevant units, also across organisations
  • The capability to collaborate (including cross-organisation collaboration) based on a common understanding of the situation
  • The capability of being mobile to provide all required communication and information functionality for distributed organisations and dynamically changing communication infrastructures

Technology building blocks support humans to bring their capabilities to full effect in complex and demanding situations of crisis. Examples of such technology building blocks are: information sharing infrastructures for professional, safety-critical services; situational awareness solutions; decision support systems; communications interoperability solutions. They define the research goals for the research projects in this area. All of them are collaborative endeavours: We are working together with professional end-users and research partners.

MCPTT

The new global standard MCPTT (Mission Critical Push-To-Talk) will replace legacy group communication systems, such as VHF, TETRA, P25, iDEN and others. Based on LTE architecture, it will be available to governmental institutions, public safety organisations as well as commercial users.

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Pioneering mission-critical mobile services over LTE

The new global standard MCPTT (Mission Critical Push-To-Talk) will replace legacy group communication systems, such as VHF, TETRA, P25, iDEN and others. Based on LTE architecture, it will be available to governmental institutions, public safety organisations as well as commercial users.

The new technology comes with several advantages: On the one hand, this market approach will drive costs down due to economies of scale. Sharing network infrastructure with commercial users ensures adequate capacity for emergency situations, when public safety users have priority over commercial users. On the other hand, MCPTT will foster a faster response and enhanced situational awareness in the event of a disaster by enabling new features like the utilisation of broadband transmission technology.

The LTE technology is currently being implemented worldwide in the safety-critical domain. Preliminary work and the rollout are already in progress in various countries. Frequentis is well prepared for the emerging standards. The 3020 LifeX public safety platform allows the implementation of new technologies such as the above-mentioned broadband communications, while smart devices will further accelerate the development of high-performance safety-critical applications.

MCPTT benefits were proven in a live demo, when Frequentis and its technology partners, Austrian mobile radio provider A1, Italian LTE mobile core network provider Athonet and Spanish MCPTT application provider Nemergent, united to demonstrate the rapid establishment of safety-critical LTE communication infrastructure “at the network edge”.

For this demo, a crisis flood scenario was set up in a power plant. Different terminals and LTE networks were brought together for the solution, consisting of an LTE network from A1, and a 5G-ready complete LTE mobile core network including IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) from Athonet. In addition, Nemergent deployed the MCPTT client and server components, while Frequentis provided the control room solution with their Multimedia-Collaboration Platform 3020 LifeX, enabling cross-coupling (LTE, TETRA, Emergency Telephone Calls) and mixing media as well as tracking the resources on the embedded geographical information system (GIS).

Mobile broadband network coverage was combined with a deployable micro system, allowing private and group calls to be established between professional field units and the dispatcher, providing tracking and location information. In various scenarios, the integration of safety-critical communication and broadband applications was displayed by emergency teams wearing helmet mounted cameras streaming live HD video to the control room.

More about the demo in our press release and companion video on YouTube.

This breakthrough demonstration in mission-critical mobile services represents a further milestone in the collaboration between Nemergent and Frequentis to implement a standards-based control room interface for MCPTT. Staying compliant with current and emerging standards ensures that the company’s systems keep up with future requirements of the most demanding customers.

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