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Entries » Blog » From the Radio to the Smartphone and Beyond Author: Richard Bennett

From the Radio to the Smartphone and Beyond Author: Richard Bennett

Created Nov 07 2014, 6:00 AM by Paul Jeffs

For decades, public safety agencies have been focused on building robust, mission-critical, interoperable Private Mobile Radio (PMR) networks. There are nationwide systems in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Public Safety events, planned or unplanned – such as a major flood, sporting event or terrorist attack -- repeatedly demonstrate how important reliable interoperable networks are to Public Safety.

There have been tremendous leaps in the capability and importance of data in the world. Only 15 years ago, email was just starting to be used and the World Wide Web was brand new. Now, we don’t know how to run organisations without these tools, which keep valuable information flowing and at our fingertips.

Public Safety has seen the same phenomenon, where data is increasingly critical to operations, be it computer-aided dispatch, database access, in-field reporting, video surveillance, mapping or building plans. As data has become more critical, wireless data network speeds have increased, with 4G LTE networks becoming widely deployed.

Agencies want to be able to leverage the capabilities of PMR and LTE networks together in one system and have them operate as one. For example, a dispatcher could select a single talkgroup on their console GUI, which could include TETRA radios, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) public carrier smartphones or Public Safety LTE devices such as the LEX755.

Unified Push-to-Talk (PTT) capability can make it easier for a user to connect regardless of the device being used. Unified PTT is a two-way push-to-talk client that can be loaded on an Android BYOD smartphone or purpose-built Public Safety Android device to enable two-way voice interoperability between that device and the PMR network, unifying those communications.

Now senior officers – even though they may not carry a radio – can participate in interoperable Push-To-Talk communications with other PMR users. Having a client that can be easily loaded on a smartphone can prove valuable for PMR users that do not take their radios home, such as off-duty police officers, firefighters and paramedics. Volunteer firefighters, who often rely on pagers to receive alerts asking them to respond to an incident can also leverage Unified PTT to communicate with radio users. Equipping users with a PTT client on their smartphones can enable many new users to participate in critical communications over a PMR system.

The convergence of voice and data is upon us and will soon bring extremely powerful capabilities to our first responders. Unified Push-to-Talk enables users to easily connect and bring teams together to solve problems, keeping communities safer.

Learn more about Motorola’s VALR™ Mission Critical Architecture, which allows public safety personnel to securely and seamlessly transition between radio and broadband networks, both private and public. It unifies data sources and services that enable next generation mobile applications, and dynamically prioritises information to get it to those who need it most, when they need it. And it is built on a flexible, migratable open platform.


Richard Bennett is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing EMEA.

Richard is on LinkedIn at

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