I played a critical role in the launch of the APX platform and was there to introduce it to many of our first APX customers at APCO 2008. While our entire Motorola team was excited about the new platform, I’m not sure if any of us ever expected the rapid adoption we’ve seen.
It’s truly rewarding to see how more than 1 million customers around the world today are working safer and better with an APX radio at their fingertips. It’s a testament to the value we built into the radios by working closely with the customers that co-designed them along with us. Having led many of the competitive P25 radio “bake-offs” that our customers have held before making a purchasing decision, I can personally tell you what I believe are the top 5 reasons for seeing 1 million APX radios ship:
5. TDMA – this was the key feature that set APX apart from the start. P25 Phase 2 TDMA operation meant customers could have more users, more voice and data traffic and better grade of service on their bandwidth-constrained P25 systems. The APX allowed customers to operate on TDMA systems with twice the efficiency but then also revert to FDMA via Dynamic Dual Mode (DDM) when FDMA users entered the talk-group, providing seamless interoperability. Today, the TDMA functionality is enhanced by other interoperability features like ISSI 8000 for inter-system roaming and Enhanced Data for higher throughput of GPS on the ASTRO 25 system.
4. Dual Band – The APX 7000 and APX 7500 created a unique opportunity for customers to consolidate two radios into one, making it easier to manage and operate radio communications in the field. With all the equipment on their belts it’s definitely easier for police officers to carry a single device on their hip and much easier for the radio shop to install a single radio in the trunk of the vehicle. In this case, less is more.
3. Ruggedness – Motorola radios have always been known for their toughness and durability. I’ve had customers send me stories of legacy Motorola radios that survived extreme circumstances in the field. APX took ruggedness the next level with its aluminum alloy endoskeleton design allowing for enhanced protection of the radio and the resistance to drops, pressure, water, and extreme temperatures. It is still the only radio in the market that is submersible and operational even with a cracked housing. My favorite APX survival story was when Texas Department of Public Safety air support accidentally dropped an APX 7000 from a helicopter at 2,000 feet, and it was returned in one piece after the same agency’s fleet mechanic’s daughter found it in her yard two weeks later. It still works today and looks as good as new – in fact we will showcase it live at IWCE this year!
2. XE Series– For the first time we worked with the fire community to co-design a purpose-built radio– designed by firefighters, for firefighters: exaggerated, oversized controls for heavy glove operation, bigger top display for better visibility, water porting speaker grill to prevent water from getting in and allow it to flush out faster after submersion and an extreme noise suppression profile optimized for PASS alarms.
We later complemented the XE radio with the XE Remote Speaker Microphone (RSM) that shared the same traits as well as the extreme temperature cable and the emergency strobe light that emits SOS as well as backup flashlight mode. Combine that with APX software features like the Man-Down sensor and Personnel Accountability and you get a very complete, fire-centric solution.
1. Audio Performance – Radios have evolved a great deal and can support multiple data features like over-the-air programming, GPS location tracking and text-messaging, but the #1 application in a radio is still Voice – to hear mission-critical information and be heard during critical moments. Therefore the adaptive dual-sided operation, the noise suppression, speaker loudness and clarity, and the customization of audio parameters like microphone gain, noise reduction algorithm, and treble through the APX radio profiles, help deliver the optimal experience for any APX user.
Whether it’s loud or windy, whether you whisper or yell, whether it’s chainsaws or police sirens, the APX audio quality is second to none – as proven by our customers who have put all radios to live side-by-side comparisons time and time again.
I recall several experiences from user trials and evaluations where APX was put to the test and surpassed all competitors with respect to these Top 5 features. The APX platform was a game-changer for our Public safety customers, and it’s still setting the bar for what customers expect out of their next generation P25 radios.
However, we understand that our work is not complete and we won’t stop here. While we are taking a moment to celebrate this compelling milestone, behind the scenes teams of marketers and engineers are working with our customers on the next big thing in LMR…
Janelle Lopez is Motorola Solutions North America Go-To-Market Strategy & Sales Enablement lead for ASTRO 25 & LTE Devices. Previously she managed the APX Business Development team providing product positioning, sales & customer support when introducing new products and features for Motorola Solutions Government & Public Safety Solutions devices portfolio.
To learn more about the APX Series:
Applying ‘Simultaneous Excellence’ to Solution Integration
As mission-critical communications and IT networks grow in complexity, with new infrastructure and data applications like streaming video combined with voice and security systems, one thing is certain – the system has to work flawlessly for first responders to keep communities safe or for businesses to operate efficiently. You want the most innovative technology to integrate video while also having the most reliable voice system that complies with the latest network security standards.
Successfully combining innovative technology with proven operational technologies is known as Simultaneous Excellence. Acknowledging the challenge of simultaneous excellence is the first step in developing techniques to achieve it.
Many businesses that sell complex systems offer a range of integration services to help clients offload the burden and risk of bringing it all together. However, what separates a good solution integrator from a great one is the ability to break down the requirements and then implement the right method of design, integration and testing. In designing the solution, it’s critical to consider the current technical requirements along with taking the time to understand the long-term organizational goals in order to achieve a solution that can continually evolve.
Once the design of your system is complete, the next step is integration through assembly and configuration. Today’s systems often include products from multiple vendors, which means various shipments that must be received, inventoried and stored until they’re ready to be integrated and configured. Given the complexity that varied components bring, it’s critical that the appropriate tools and techniques are followed to successfully turn specifications and components into an advanced communications system fine-tuned to your exact requirements.
The final step is testing the system to ensure it delivers mission-critical performance in even the most demanding environments. This precision and rigor up front minimizes on-site deployment disruptions and reduces cycle time. Having a fully functionally tested system also enables end-to-end demonstration so you can see it in action and verify its capabilities prior to deployment.
At Motorola, we stage complex solutions using the best technologies in our state-of-the-art Customer Center for Solution Integration (CCSi). At this centralized staging facility, technical experts integrate, test and demonstrate that the system works cohesively. CCSi strives to achieve simultaneous excellence by following established integration procedures for proven technologies and merging creative talent and processes with innovative technologies. The result enables us to provide customers with top quality advanced solutions, while minimizing on-site implementation disruptions, reducing cycle time and ensuring it will work seamlessly from the moment it’s deployed.
Our disciplined approach to simultaneous excellence is a contributing factor in providing exceptional value as an expert solution integrator. This is seen in our ability to think through complexity to implement innovative and proven solutions to your unique requirements in a timely, quality and cost-effective manner.
Anne Marie Johlie is the Director of the Central Services Organization for Motorola Solutions.
Click here to learn more about Motorola’s Integration Services
Imagine you’re a police officer, and you’re facing one of these three scenarios:
• You’re driving in your squad car when you spot a young man, wearing a hoodie, walking through a park – and carrying a rifle. You verbally order him to drop the gun, and he turns to face you while still holding the rifle.
• You’re called to the scene where an armed man has taken a hostage. You comb through the halls and rooms and stairs to seek him out – and suddenly, you pull open a door and see the armed man with his hostage standing in front of you. The man is holding the gun to the hostage’s head and staring right into your eyes.
• You’re called to the scene of a domestic violence incident. You turn the corner and see a visibly pregnant young woman, quietly aiming her gun at you and preparing to fire.
What should you do? How do you stop the threat? How do you keep the public – and yourself – safe?
A group of Motorola Solutions employees recently came face to face with those questions as part of Valor Training Group’s course on “The Psychology of Violent Encounters.” The class of about 24 heard from three experts in law enforcement: Erick Stahmer, director of operations for Valor Group and 20+ year law enforcement veteran; Bernard Hogancamp, assistant director of training for Valor Group; and Patrick Siemsen, director of operations/training for Valor Group. Motorola’s Chief Technology Officer Paul Steinberg and Chief Innovation Officer Eduardo Conrado were among those taking the class, geared toward teaching those who design and provide communications products, solutions and services for first responders what it’s like to be caught in that unthinkable moment.
The class immersed us in real-world police scenarios, showing videos and telling background stories from real crime scenes and challenging us to consider how we would react, what effects combat stress has on the brain, and how difficult it can be to know what’s right or wrong when you only have part of the story.
It was by turns instructive and gut-wrenching for us to try walking in their shoes.
Part of what made the class so powerful were the stories they told and the statistics they shared:
As part of the exercises, they set up a course to test us, kitting us out with safety glasses and Simunitions weapons, which look and feel like a real Glock 9mm handgun but shoots soap projectiles similar to handguns. When it fires, they said, it sounds like the real thing. (Not that most of us would know.)
We had to make instantaneous decisions about when to fire and when not to – is that thing in the suspect’s hand a pop can or a gun? Are they going to shoot at you, and can you make yourself shoot back?
We struggled mightily on that course, with some people shooting everything that moved (and some things that didn’t) whereas others held back, waited too long – and in some cases, were disarmed by a “suspect.” As for myself, I had all the reactions they wanted us to experience – uncertainty about when to shoot, pathetic shooting skills, and almost complete tunnel vision with my heart pounding in my ears the whole time. I was pleased that at least I didn’t have my weapon taken away from me by the “bad guy” in one scenario, but let’s just say I won’t be trying out for the police force anytime soon...
Stahmer explained that the primary weapon of most police in the United States is a handgun, a short-range, defensive weapon, used for comfort and convenience. He made a point of explaining how important training is for police by explaining that if you have not physically performed a task in the past, you will not be able to do it under stress.
“The forebrain is the cognitive part of the brain, and the midbrain learns through physical experience and by actually doing,” Stahmer said. “Under stress, the midbrain overrides the forebrain to promote survival. Your brain then acts like a Rolodex, looking through everything you know to see how to respond to any situation.”
Like soldiers, police must drill and drill to get that muscle memory down so they can react correctly when the time comes.
They also may experience “tachypsychia,” where perception of time changes. Under stress, you may experience tunnel vision or even temporary paralysis, and time may appear to speed up or slow down.
Motorola’s team heard firsthand from the trainers that when they can use wearable equipment, like our VieVu body-worn camera or Remote Speaker Microphone with Bluetooth, they find it helpful because they want their hands to be free when they’re in a challenging situation.
“It is critical that those developing technology for law enforcement deeply understand the unique challenges confronting officers as well as the law (federal and state) and use of force policies,” said Karen Bartuch, senior manager of Communications, Portfolio & Project Management for Motorola Solutions and a former police officer who brought the training team to Motorola. “Although it can be intense for some, training just like officers – including scenario-based training involving extremely stressful situations and life or death split-second decision-making – is the best way to do this. It is also extremely rewarding to observe employees soak up the training, go back to their day jobs energized and subsequently develop great solutions that keep officers and communities safe.”
Jennifer Mesenbrink is Senior Manager of Social and Digital Content Strategy, North America, for Motorola Solutions. Please share your comments below or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep up with our public safety blogs by hitting the Subscribe button below and signing up to receive them in your inbox, and follow us on Twitter at @MotPublicSafety.
Part three of our "Tech is Doing What?!" series
In our increasingly technology-based economy, smart devices and the applications market for them have exploded over the last few years, with more than 1.4 million Android applications alone available in the Google Play Store as of December 2014. This application ecosystem is not just limited to games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. With public safety’s increasing adoption of smart devices, data sources and networks, combined with a push from the Department of Homeland Security for even more, there is a new niche application opportunity specifically for first responders.
New devices being used at the edge, the ever-increasing amount of data and the continued development of Public Safety LTE networks have created an opportunity for developers to capitalize on while making a positive impact by saving lives and increasing safety. With emerging technologies like smartphones, tablets and even wearables designed for the public safety environment, the public safety community has begun to desire purpose-built applications to exploit the full potential of these devices. Connecting these devices to an LTE network is increasingly easier and more affordable, whether through a commercial carrier or on a dedicated private network such as those in LA-RICS and Harris County, Texas. This situation has led to an environment where agencies are rapidly gaining a platform for first responders to use data at the edge which is capable of making their response more efficient, more informed and more situationally aware.
APCO’s Appcomm.org has become the primary destination for public safety applications to be acknowledged and best practices shared. With more than 185 applications on the site, Appcomm provides descriptions, download links to both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store where applicable, and developer website links for more information about each application. One such application, PulsePoint, alerts off-duty EMTs or CPR-certified civilians to cardiac arrest emergencies in their immediate vicinity and maps out nearby AED defibrillators. It is one of many public safety applications that have seen widespread adoption throughout the United States. With departments like the Long Beach Fire Department integrating the app with its 9-1-1 system, the potential to save lives and revolutionize response is huge. Other applications such as Dallas’ 311 app are using technology to improve public service and free up government resources.
The applications on Appcomm spread across many facets of public safety, including alerting, 9-1-1, EMS, Fire and Police-specific applications and a whole host of other categories such as mapping, incident management and information reference.
Many of the applications in development for use over LTE data networks have been derived from the recent success of LMR data applications. LMR data transfer has successfully driven increased efficiency and safety in incident response while leveraging existing communications infrastructure. Applications like personnel monitoring, locationing, “man down” alerting, information querying and SCADA have all seen adoption in agencies across North America and Europe.
These applications have been optimized to perform on LMR data networks and are even being designed to work in tandem with LTE data applications. This continued focus on public safety applications could be the push that is necessary to move the next generation of public safety ideas from a virtual dream to physical reality.
The continued development of these applications and the technology to bring them to fruition shows the real promise smart devices can have for first responders. It seems it is only a matter of time before that impact becomes part of everyday operations.
Bradley Janitz is a Senior Product Marketing Specialist with Motorola Solutions. Learn more here about Citizen Mobile Applications from Motorola Solutions.
Learn more here about how you can develop applications for our LMR systems or check out our LMR two-way radio applications page here and our Public Safety Experience, smart device applications page here.
Following months of research, interviews with customers, focus sessions with customer user group executive committees, and internal discussions – we’ve updated the Motorola Solutions User Group website with new and exciting changes that include simplified navigation, and the addition of a personalized Dashboard and a Help section.
Motorola customers use the User Group site for everything from obtaining copies of product documentation to reviewing the latest Field Service Bulletins. The website acts as an online community to bring together our users, from police officers to utilities IT directors and beyond, to discuss product questions and best practices and file feature requests. The improved user interface will help our customers stay up to date on relevant topics by participating in interactive discussions with their peers.
We have streamlined the navigation and removed the outdated landing page and now direct customers to the overview page to which they belong once they sign in. Customers who belong to multiple user groups can navigate amongst multiple groups and will be directed to the overview page they most recently visited when they sign in.
Other changes include:
• Updated the system to allow customers to participate/respond to discussions directly from their email, thereby reducing the need to stop their daily activities and log into the site to see if new activity exists on areas they are following;
• Consolidated former navigation items such as Content, People, and Places into one drop-down menu called “Browse”;
• Added “FSB Updates” (Field Service Bulletins) to the primary navigation in all user groups to streamline navigation; • Made the “Follow” button more prominent so customers can follow their preferred stream, topic, or user more easily;
• ….and more!
Motorola remains committed to providing the latest technology to assist its customers in communicating with each other, sharing ideas and concepts, and gaining access to product information.
Tom Malanfant is PremierOne CSR Senior Product Manager for Motorola Solutions and a former 2-1-1/3-1-1 Call Center Manager for the City of Windsor, Ontario. Visit the User Groups website at www.motorolasolutions.com/usergroups.