September, 2020 – As one of the most severely affected places by COVID-19, the Government of the Piedmont Region in Italy requested that the B-LiFE (Biological Light Field Laboratory for Emergencies) service was deployed in the area since June to carry out vital COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Using its advanced mobile laboratory, the mission of the B-LiFE department was to carry out a large number of COVID-19 tests for first responders, civil protection, health personnel, police and volunteers.

The deployment of B-LiFE is led by the Centre for Applied Molecular Technologies of UCLouvain (Catholic University of Louvain) with the support of ESA (European Space Agency), the Luxembourg Government and its Ministry of Defence. B-LiFE’s partners in this humanitarian mission are Belgian companies Eonix and Nazka Mapps, Luxembourg companies’ SES and GovSat, and French company ETELM.

B-LiFE was developed as part of the ESA Space Solutions programme (formerly known as IAP-ARTES 20), with the participation of Belgium and Luxembourg. The integration of satellite and terrestrial telecommunications, information management, earth observation, location management and real-time epidemiological mapping allows B-LiFE to be deployed very quickly, autonomously and as close as possible to a crisis zone.

Mobile laboratories have become extremely important during the COVID-19 pandemic. B-LiFE is one of the most advanced mobile laboratories in the world and has been operational since 2014 when it was successfully deployed in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak. It is integrated and certified in the European Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM).

ETELM, a partner of B-LiFE, has made a critical contribution to the initiative in supplying telecommunications services. It has enabled the integration of TETRA and LTE terrestrial telecommunications capabilities into the satellite terminal provided by SES, GovSat and the Luxembourg Ministry of Defence. This work was necessary to ensure full autonomy during a crisis situation and to enable interoperability with local emergency services.

ETELM’s 4GLinked Unified Mobile Platform has been successfully deployed and tested to support B-LiFE laboratory operations, including PMR TETRA and LTE base stations. ETELM’s participation in the B-LiFE mission in the Piedmont Region, and the successful use of its equipment and service, ensures the company’s ongoing partnership with B-LiFE.