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      • Survey Says: Services Increase Two-Way Radio Performance

        Published Oct 11 2017, 4:28 PM by Nupur Thakur
        • Services

        If you’re maintaining a few hundred APX two-way radios, or thousands, keeping all of them working properly is not an easy task. It takes special coordination, time and expertise.  

        To help us better understand customer radio management decision-making, we surveyed our APX radio users across the U.S. and highlighted the findings in the 2017 Motorola Solutions APX Two-Way Radio Management Survey.

        What did we find? Radio managers of both small and large fleets face similar challenges. Budgets constraints, lack of technical resources and programming complexities are challenges for both in-house and third-party radio management. However, forward-looking agencies of all sizes are realizing the benefits of leveraging services to assist their in-house technical staff or to provide expert resources to manage their radio fleets.

        Top 3 Benefits of Using Radio Services:

        1. Services Provide Technical Expertise for In-house Personnel

        Survey respondents indicated 73% manage radios with in-house personnel. However, radio managers are challenged with having to juggle all the duties—and additional responsibilities—that come with the job. Typically, the technical staff tasked with the job is a small team relative to the amount of work. They must keep up with needed technical skills, understand how to optimize the latest radio features, and keep track of constant talk group changes as employees and even their own team members come and go.

        Services provide expert help to support your in-house technical staff. You can get access to technical experts who are using state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment and repair tools to troubleshoot problems and properly restore your two-way radios. Our experts function as an extension of your in-house technical team, or as a source for all technical support. Flexible service options are designed to support your needs and budget requirements.

        2. Services Reduce Programming Time and Accelerate Deployment   

        Radio managers are constantly faced with increasing programming demands that involve physically touching each radio to complete updates. With hundreds or thousands of radios, programming can take weeks or even months to update—and may be outdated by the time all changes are made. This is a time consuming, costly and inefficient use of resources for the 58% of survey respondents that reprogram their radio fleet once or more every year.

        Services can support your existing radio management staff. This includes a dynamically different way to speed up radio programming by as much as 90%. Imagine...making template changes that are done all at once, eliminating the need to handle each radio one-at-a-time. And, storing radio changes online to ensure your data is backed up. You no longer need multiple spreadsheets to keep track of changes. No more worries about lost data.  

        Your radio management team will be thoroughly trained to become expert radio programmers that spend only 10% of the time they formally spent on reprogramming.

        3. Services Prevent Radio Downtime

        To prevent downtime and ensure small issues don’t grow into larger problems, you should have a proactive maintenance schedule for your radio fleet. We were surprised to discover over 70% of survey respondents only perform radio hardware maintenance on an as-needed basis. This may mean something breaks, and then they fix it.

        Preventive maintenance ensures your radios are functioning properly. If you don’t have the proper radio staff or tools, you can have expert professionals manage your the entire radio fleet to transfer responsibility and risk. Managed services professionals provide radio maintenance, repair, programming, technical support and more—so you can rest assured your radios are available at all times.

        Services Increase Performance, Lower Risk and Achieve Better Outcomes

        2017 Motorola Solutions APX Two-Way Radio Management Survey found clear interest in using services to successfully manage two-way radios. And for good reason. Services improve radio reliability while reducing the cost and time of managing radios.  

        Want to learn more about the benefits of two-way radio services?

        Look: View this video to see how expert services help increase radio performance.  

        Listen: Prerecorded webinar provides a transformational case study on how to reduce programming time and accelerate deployment of your radios.

        Learn: Read this paper to learn how you can implement a two-way radio plan to increase uptime, and control costs.

        Nupur Thakur is Senior Director of Services Offer Management at Motorola Solutions.

      • Improving System Performance With Big Data Analytics

        Published Jun 26 2017, 5:27 PM by Rushil Ramachandran
        • Services
        • Law Enforcement

        A recent Center for Digital Government Survey noted that 66% of state and local government decision-makers are turning to big data analytics for more-informed decision-making. For mission-critical operations, big data analytics is equipping network managers with the intelligence and foresight needed to decrease downtime and enhance the performance of public safety, communication networks. You can apply the same analytics to improve the performance of your land mobile radios (LMR) system.

        Extracting and Applying Network Intelligence  

        Data correlation, trend analysis and statistical modeling of historical and real-time data shed light on LMR system performance issues stemming from your infrastructure, devices and external factors. As your data analytics capabilities improve, you will gain insights that can help you improve your system uptime and performance. Benefits include more efficiently resolving the root cause of critical network alarms, optimizing device performance and preventing system outages.

        Big Data Analytics for Improving Backhaul Management

        Using trends analysis and statistical modeling, our network performance management team recently identified that a customer radio site went down every time it rained. A root-cause analysis revealed most of the outages were backhaul-related. Because the issue could not be resolved remotely, we scheduled an onsite inspection. Our field team discovered that the pedestal supplying power to the backhaul was in a low-lying area. Power loss occurred every time it flooded from rain or snowmelt. Big data analytics helped us pinpoint the source and the weather patterns that triggered the outages. As a result, our field team knew what to look for look for when they arrived at the radio site. We resolved the issue by establishing a redundant backhaul and diversifying the site’s backhaul configuration. With the root cause identified and addressed, the customer can now expect to see improved network uptime and system performance during the next storm season.

        Read more about how we are improving our customers’ LMR systems with big data analytics in our Network Performance Management Whitepaper.

        Rushil Ramachandran is Network Performance Manager at Motorola Solutions.


        Published Apr 17 2017, 1:53 PM by Robert Buethe
        • EMS
        • Services
        • System Management
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        If you’re operating a mission-critical network with hundreds to thousands of APX radios, you already know that device management is an arduous undertaking. With all the maintenance, programming and changes you make, it still doesn’t guarantee you’ll maximize performance. How can you ensure your devices operate effectively and that every critical call gets through?

        If you don’t have the time and resources to adequately support your mission-critical devices, you should seek experienced resources that can help. You can now enlist device management experts at Motorola Solutions who can expedite programming, ensure correct connectivity, help you take advantage of all the applications available to you, and provide the right hardware and software support needed.

        Top Three Reasons To Seek Expert Device Management Services:

        1. You need an intelligent hardware and software maintenance plan. This includes full reporting and analysis of your radio performance to know precisely which radios need to be maintained. With better prioritization, you could save significant time and money with more accurate support rather than conducting routine mass updates.
        2. You will experience expedited programming and configuration changes. With enhanced radio technology comes more complexity in programming. Deploying new radios—without disrupting your service—is always a challenge. Your daily routine tasks to add and remove subscribers, or to adjust talk groups is time consuming. Additionally, if you don’t assess the device and network interdependencies, your radio communications may be negatively impacted. By transferring this responsibility to a team dedicated to your radios, you can free up your resources to keep focus on your core mission.
        3. You can take full advantage of all radio capabilities. If you’re using APX radios, no one knows your radios better than us. Freeing you from the time and hassle in programming and showing you how to improve the use of your radios can be a game changer for your organization. 

        If minimizing downtime, increasing operational readiness and lowering your costs related to managing your two-way radio fleet sounds appealing, discover how we can help you today with APX Services.

        We also held a webinar on Improving Device Management that expands further on how you can take action to improve your land mobile radio performance.

        Robert D. Buethe is MSSSI Global Vice President for Managed and Support Services.


        Published Apr 06 2017, 7:13 PM by Robert Buethe
        • EMS
        • National Government Security
        • Services
        • System Management
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        Though built for resiliency, land mobile radio (LMR) systems are not exempt from faults. And, with weather getting more unpredictable and extreme throughout the U.S., critical network events can multiply during catastrophes. Mission-critical operations require having a disaster management plan to ensure network uptime.  

        Plan for the unpredictable. Most cities, states and countries have emergency management plans. Become familiar with the plans outlined for varying degrees of emergencies and how your network operations team should function in these situations. Your plans should include specific procedures for redundancies, provisioning, onsite support, power supply failures, spare parts management and much more. Catastrophes happen with and without notice. Having a set plan, and more importantly, conducting periodic drills based on that plan, makes you better prepared for either situation.

        Assess your overall system management. Outages can put public safety at risk.  Do you have all the necessary skills required to plan, operate and optimize your system performance? Leveraging a strategy that augments your operations with the right mission-critical expertise can help you maximize your technology investment, improve resiliency and ensure proper redundancies exist for the best coverage and connectivity in any situation.

        Preparing for network issues as they arise is imperative to public safety ground operations during catastrophes. Read more about how our managed services team ensures communication among first responders in South Carolina during the 1000-year flood in our Mission-Critical Disaster Management Use Case.

        Robert D. Buethe is MSSSI Global Vice President for Managed and Support Services.


        Published Feb 21 2017, 10:43 PM by Robert Buethe
        • System Management
        • Services

        Let’s start with a stat: 80% of government IT leaders experienced at least 1 critical network outage in the last 3 months.1

        Public safety mission critical systems have to stay available 24 x 7 x 365.  Period.  A public safety system is not a “normal” IT network. Your technology needs to keep first responders safe and needs to be uniquely supported and managed to operate under all circumstances and events – planned or unplanned. You have to prepare to fail.

        Understanding how your system operates in various failure modes is critical. How well can you identify an outage versus a maintenance check? What types of contingency plans do you have defined in your organization and with third-party vendors and agencies? How often are you accessing wireless coverage information to ensure you don’t have any new blind spots from when the system was first installed? If and when a failure does happen, how responsive you are to minimizing the downtime can make a significant difference in the outcome you experience.

        Mission-critical network management takes rigor and expertise that requires a comprehensive approach with the right team, processes and tools. Read more about best practices you need to adopt in our whitepaper: Critical Steps to Prevent Network Downtime.

        SOURCES: 1. 2016 Survey by the Center for Digital Government.

        Robert D. Buethe is MSSSI Global Vice President for Managed and Support Services


        Published Feb 13 2017, 5:56 PM by Robert Buethe
        • System Management
        • Cybersecurity
        • Services

        Like it or not, even the best technology is destined to fail. With the rapid increase of demands placed on your mission-critical communications infrastructure -- such as adding new applications, expanding users, changing coverage needs or prioritizing data requirements -- outages are inevitable. Fortunately, organizations don’t have to be crippled in handling these challenges. 

        Developing continuity plans or disaster management plans is not a new concept; yet many tend to delay addressing this need until something bad happens. 

        What are you doing differently this year to stay better prepared? Applying best practices to maintaining and operating your critical communications system can provide better outcomes to improve your staff performance, system continuity and your bottom line.  

        How are you evaluating your risk of cyber attacks? Land mobile radio systems are not an exception to hacking and malware.  Ransomware continues to be an increasingly costly threat and expected to remain the top cyber malware threat in 2017. Are you vigilant with monitoring this constantly-evolving cyber landscape and incorporating effective situational awareness into your resilience plan? If not now…when?  Cybersecurity remains a top challenge and priority for CIOs – don’t ignore your land mobile radio system. By understanding which threats can impact your system, you can plan the appropriate response to cyber attacks. Plan an assessment to help you discover vulnerabilities and best practices to employ. And, invest in a streamlined patching process to help mitigate the threats. 

        Do you understand your system’s performance indicators and how to take action? Knowing what factors can influence call processing, coverage, equipment stability, false alarms, etc. provides an opportunity to analyze trends and optimize performance.  What if you could correlate system information with external data sources to predict how your critical communications system will operate in various operating scenarios?  Our recent webinar on Leveraging Performance Data for Operational Excellence explains more about how we’re working with customers to leverage data analytics and improve their system performance for better uptime and connectivity. 

        Is your network management fully automated? One of the easiest areas to improve network management efficiencies is with proper network monitoring and alerting to detect and diagnose problems. Not all system alerts are created equal. While there is a plethora of monitoring tools available on the market, it requires a combination of tools and skills to understand system behaviors.  Knowing which alerts are important and having the knowledge database to effectively prioritize and respond correctly the first time can save thousands of staff hours in a year. 

        What’s your maintenance process? If you’re applying the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy and letting your system run on auto-pilot, you’re increasing your chances to experience something bad happening that’s going to potentially be even more costly.  Routine preventive maintenance is worth the investment to extend the lifespan of your technology and ensure optimal interoperability. Planned upgrades are also critical to ensure your system is able to support the increasing volume of data from the myriad of applications adopted. 

        Are you facing staffing challenges? Radio network management expertise is retiring faster than it can be replaced. Hiring comprehensive Cybersecurity expertise may be budget constraining in today’s competitive market.  No one knows Motorola Solutions’ mission-critical networks better than Motorola Solutions. We are ready to assist you with over 4,000 specialists worldwide dedicated to ensure our customers’ mission critical systems are reliably operating 24x7x365 – spanning 100+ countries managing over 500,000 devices and over 10,000 sites.

        I could go on with the list of questions to consider. It’s always a good practice to take some time and reflect how your organization is changing this year and ensure you have the right support in place.

        Robert D. Buethe is MSSSI Global Vice President for Managed and Support Services