Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) today announced it has extended its cooperation with the United Nations to aid and improve emergency response by leveraging technological progress in telecommunications. Ericsson will provide a complete mobile telecommunications solution that can be rapidly deployed to selected humanitarian operations and that will be installed, operated and maintained by Ericsson employees.
For the past seven years, Ericsson has contributed equipment and expertise to enhance the United Nations' capacity during relief operations, partnering with their Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in order to coordinate support to multiple humanitarian organizations. The partnership has evolved since it was formed in 2000, today primarily focusing on rapid deployment of telecommunications services to areas hit by disaster, and on continuously improving these based on lessons learned from previous deployments.
Today, Ericsson is uniquely positioned to provide some of the industry's most integrated and advanced information and communications technology to humanitarian organizations working in cooperation with OCHA.
Ericsson introduced Wireless LAN in Disaster and Emergency Response (WIDER), on behalf of OCHA to provide wireless hotspots and telecommunications between different relief agencies at the disaster site and to Internet via satellite. WIDER was first installed and utilized in the aftermath of the severe earthquake in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. This natural disaster killed more than 70,000 people and left millions homeless in October 2005.
In Pakistan, Ericsson employees installed WIDER, which provided relief personnel with wireless network connectivity to an intranet that was maintained and updated for information transfer both within the relief organizations' own networks and among personnel. The relief camp was then linked via OCHA's VSAT system to provide common access to international voice and Internet connectivity; The Ericsson Response system and support provided all relief workers access to a common network, enabling them to share the same local information. In light of this success, OCHA has asked Ericsson to make WIDER available for future emergencies.
"Communications systems are often disrupted by disasters. Yet they are essential for humanitarian service providers to share information on priority needs and response plans efficiently. Since 2000, Ericsson has been a reliable partner of the UN, providing emergency telecommunications services pro bono in the most difficult environments. In particular, Ericsson helps us to achieve our mission of humanitarian coordination by helping to connect aid workers and organizations with one another," commented John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
"Ericsson Response embodies our corporate values," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, Ericsson President and Chief Executive Officer. "Whenever and wherever we can, we will use our technology and solutions to support those in need. This cooperation is unique and in line with our long-term commitment and partnership with the United Nations."
Ericsson has also donated a global system for mobile communications (GSM) to OCHA. The UN Peacekeeping Operation in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo is currently connected to this system. The system complements the fixed network, radio and satellite connections currently used in humanitarian missions and is installed in Brindisi, Italy, the hub for satellite telecommunications connecting all UN missions.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR:
The Ericsson Response program is a not-for-profit activity that supports humanitarian operations with no commercial objective and is a key component of Ericsson's corporate responsibility activities.
Further information about the Ericsson Response program is available at: http://www.ericsson.com/ericssonresponse/
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