Internet Architecture Board

RFC2850

Letter to the European Commission on Global Interoperability in Emergency Services

Home»Documents»IAB Correspondence, Reports, and Selected Documents»2011»Letter to the European Commission on Global Interoperability in Emergency Services
From: IAB Chair [mailto:iab-chair@iab.org] 
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 6:13 AM
To: 'Gerard de Graaf, Director'
Cc: 'Eddy Hartog'; 'Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva'; 'Vesa Terävä'
Subject: M/493 and IETF work on emergency services

Dear Mr. de Graaf, 

I am writing to you as I understand that you are currently responsible for the
two directorates in DG Information Society and Media most concerned with the
topic I raise below, even if it may also concern other colleagues of yours. I am
approaching you and your colleagues primarily to seek your feedback.

With the transition of all communication infrastructures to IP (the Internet
Protocol), various standards development organizations (SDOs) - such as IETF,
3GPP, CableLabs, OMA, Broadband Forum, to name a few - have for many years been
developing ways to provide and manage emergency services. This work has lead to
a number of specifications which focus on how to obtain the location of the 
emergency caller, how to carry the emergency call, and how to direct the call to
the appropriate public safety answering point.  

A high-level summary of the IETF emergency services work is attached to this
mail (see page 2-17 of a recently published Internet Protocol Journal article).
Since devices like smart phones, tablets, and laptops, are used worldwide, global 
interoperability is an explicit objective of the IETF emergency services
architecture.  Relevant work includes:

- IETF ECRIT: http://datatracker.ietf.org/wg/ecrit/charter/
- IETF GEOPRIV: http://datatracker.ietf.org/wg/geopriv/charter/
- IETF SIPCORE: http://datatracker.ietf.org/wg/sipcore/charter/

In March 2011 the EGEA COCOM group met and discussed their next steps. A mandate
EC M/493 was released soon afterwards by the unit B2. The text can be found here:

http://www.112.be/ressource/static/files/m493_en.pdf

From page 2 of the mandate M/493:

"For the telephone service provided by traditional circuit switched networks,
mobile networks and IP-based networks the determination and conveyance of
location information of emergency callers is not sufficiently standardized,
hampering progress at national level (i.e. use of proprietary technical
solutions). European standards do not provide complete architectural models and
do not specify all protocol elements needed to support location enhanced
emergency calling on existing infrastructures and future networks. Hence,
implementable solutions are not readily available but required in Member States.

The lack of commonly agreed specifications and standards in support of the
processing of caller location information in electronic communications networks
for the purpose of the location enhanced emergency call service in Europe is a
barrier for implementing future proof solutions which fulfill the requirements
of article 26 of the amended Directive 2002/22/EC. The objective of this Mandate
is to stimulate further standardization work in this field to support harmonized
European solutions also with regard to cost effective implementations."

The mandate focuses on the need for European standardization work in this area.
Given the importance of global interoperability in emergency services, the lack
of recognition of global standards organizations, such as the IETF, by units in
the European Commission is a potential problem.  In December 2010 a meeting with
members of the IETF leadership and Robert Madelin was held to discuss the topic
of global standards development and the role of the IETF. Our hope was that the
meeting led to a better understanding of the work in the technical community and
the value of global standards. 

We would be happy to provide you and your colleagues any guidance about how to
introduce requirements into the IETF processes so that the existing IETF
standards work and experience of the IETF community  can be leveraged in EGEA's
current process.

Best regards, 

Bernard Aboba
For the Internet Architecture Board