In a recent discussion with Thomas Rehberg, Head of Aviation & Public Safety, Enterprise – Digital Industries, Nokia, ATM Magazine had the opportunity to understand the areas in which Nokia is focusing related to the world of aviation.

We started with a look at the area of responsibility for the business Thomas Rehberg manages. As you can see the organisation includes aviation and public safety. Maybe this doesn’t immediately jump out at you the correlation of the two, but it actually makes a lot of sense. As Thomas stated, ‘a lot of public safety actually happens on the grounds of an airport.’ Within the Enterprise business unit at Nokia there is a focus on ‘private wireless’. For the two segments mentioned above, the target customer is one with private radio spectrum available to them. For airports this might be campus private wireless and within public safety, private Wide Area Networks (WAN) wireless.

In looking across ANSPs, airports and airlines, private wireless could play different roles. From the ANSP perspective there isn’t currently an application, although Nokia is working with many ANSPs on different topics. Within airports, private wireless is the door opener for connectivity issues at the ramp. For airlines the topics are air/ground solutions (which in the future could impact Urban Air Mobility – UAM) and MRO.

Let’s look a little deeper at airports. There’s a movement to implement Airport 4.0 or paperless operations through digitsation. If you look at airports the same way as you look at a smart city you can see the opportunities. Digitisation can provide more data to different airport operations constituencies, integrate the use of sensor data and improve video requirements.

When considering ANSPs and the topic of 5G concerns from the aviation community, we addressed this topic as private wireless networks can be implemented via 4G or 5G technology. Nokia finds no hesitancy regarding the opportunity for the use of 5G in and around airports. The important thing is to separate user groups, the passengers vs airport operations. Passengers expect a good wireless experience when spending time in an airport. Mobile solutions from telecommunications service providers were not intended to be separated, so the use of a public wireless network is not the solution. A private wireless network can ensure security of the data transported and also provide different parameters for use to different users/applications.

Nokia also sees a role with drones. Drones need to be under control at all times, especially when on the airport grounds or in their vicinity. There are many roles drones can play as a tool to conduct daily business for an airport, such as runway inspections, so it’s very important the address these topics.

Although there hasn’t been a great deal of news from Nokia in this space recently, they have cleared stated that aviation is a priority for the company and more will come from them as we move ahead.