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Nokia’s Drone-in-a-Box Revolutionizes Emergency Response: Citymesh SENSE Nationwide Network

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Nokia’s drone-in-a-box solution is making waves in the telecommunications market, having recently been adopted by Belgian B2B provider Citymesh for a nationwide drone network to support emergency services. Within the critical 15-minute window of receiving a call, the drone can gather vital information on behalf of first responders, depending on the type of emergency.

Belgium organizes its emergency services by dividing the country into 35 emergency zones rather than by municipality. Two drones are on standby in each zone, capable of connecting to public and private 4G and 5G networks. They are equipped with 4K cameras and thermal imaging sensors, which are highly useful in emergency situations and rescue missions.

Citymesh’s SENSE drone service, which was launched in March, is the result of extensive testing since 2018. It has included pilot initiatives in Genk, the port of Antwerp-Bruges, Brussels airport, and with the fire services in Kortrijk and Fluvia. Citymesh CEO Mitch De Geest, who has worked for the Belgian fire service, has a personal connection to the project.

Thomas Eder, head of embedded wireless solutions at Nokia, stated, “We are proud to be selected by Citymesh as the turnkey 5G drone-in-a-box platform provider for SENSE,” adding that the 5G-connected drone platform is a logical extension of Nokia’s nationwide wireless network-building expertise. “Nokia Drone Networks is a game-changer for operational efficiency of first responders and data security.”

Hans Similon, general manager of Citymesh Safety Drone, praised the partnership with Nokia and emphasized the potential of technology in saving lives. He also appreciated the customized drone-in-a-box solution that meets their specific needs, ultimately making Belgium a safer and more innovative nation.

SENSE highlights the potential for success of B2B-led mobile operators. Citymesh became Belgium’s fourth mobile network operator (MNO) in 2022, after acquiring a limited portfolio of spectrum. Following that, the firm teamed up with its Romania-based parent company, Digi, to build a nationwide 5G network. Today, Citymesh continues to focus exclusively on the B2B, industrial, and smart cities sectors, while Digi caters to the B2C market. This dual approach enables both companies to address the diverse telecommunications needs of different market segments effectively.

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