First a bit of history
…The use of 2 way radios (LMR) for push to talk (PTT) voice continues to enjoy significant growth - IHS predict that there will be over 4.5 million TETRA users by 2019 with high levels of growth in all the sectors it serves. The success of LMR has been based on what has become known as the “4 C’s:"
Coverage - designed to meet your specific requirements, whether it is a single-site or a nationwide operation
Capacity - engineered to address peak usage, using dedicated licensed spectrum and right-sized to each organisation’s specific needs, so calls always get through
Cost - predictable costs, with no additional airtime fees like those which can be associated with cell phones
Control - high degree of control over system requirements, design, priorities, features, and operation – allowing a system to be configured for a specific use case
TETRA and other LMR technologies have provided the basis for Public Safety grade communications that must work in all conditions - a backbone of critical communications to ensure effective coordination at all times.
But with public safety budgets tightening and systems being required to do more - more users, wider use cases - customers are asking us how they can extract more value for their investment. How can they extend the reach of their network, incorporate new users, and drive new benefit.
One potential answer could be to use cellphone networks. They offer wide area coverage of the population and everyone uses a cellphone so the experience is well understood - perhaps cellphone networks could be employed? In the past Motorola saw this market opportunity and built IDEN, a cellular service that enabled PTT, which was highly popular with commercial organizations. However - although successful business both deployed and used the solution the technology wasn’t up to the standards required for frontline mission critical users. The challenges of latency - the delay in setting the call up, the voice quality, lack or priority management, meant the technology was never appropriate for the requirements of frontline Public Safety so customers continued to invest in TETRA as the most dependable technology.
Fast forward to 2015
… Public Safety networks are no longer just looking to connect frontline first responders. Daily operations will involve interaction with multiple departments, inside and out of their own organisation, and involve many users who don’t traditionally carry a radio or who may not be based in the same geographical location, region or even country. For example - officers may need to be in contact with local council or municipal workers to help coordinate road closures. Or senior officers may need to be involved in an incident when travelling outside of their region or country. Or third party experts may need to be called upon during a major incident.
This is where the latest generation of PTT over cellular, or in this case LTE, steps up and delivers. The WAVE solution provides the ability for Public Safety to both extend the reach of their private LMR networks and connect service between different technologies, seamlessly, connecting in occasional users, enabling the ability to add people on different technologies and in different geographies nationally or internationally, into existing LMR talk groups helping create safer cities and delivering increased efficiencies.
For more background and information on WAVE, Push To Talk over LTE and how is can be incorporated into Public Safety communications please download the Wave Work Group Communications White Paper.
John Helliwell is Senior Marketing Manager
John is on LinkedIn at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/johnhelliwell
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At Motorola Solutions we aim to constantly innovate. This isn't just out of pride, it's because we believe in designing for our end-users. This belief stretches back right to the early days when we produced the first police cruiser radios in the 1930s and the 'walkie-talkie' radios for military use in the 1940s. And take a look at recent Think Public Safety blog subjects 'Just What the Customer ordered' and 'Purpose-Built LTE'. As a result of this work we are regularly put forward and win awards for smart design. A great example is this year's two new iF design awards for the LEX L10 Mission-Critical LTE Handheld and the SL300 (SL1600) MOTOTRBO™ radio.
For 61 years, the iF product design award has been an internationally recognised label for award-winning design and the iF brand has become a symbol for outstanding achievements in design. How are the winners judged? A jury carefully scrutinises each entry in order to reach an independent verdict. The jury members – leading international design experts – change on a regular basis.
These recent awards join a long list of other awards won since 1997 showing smart innovation in radio and public safety.
But is smart design enough? We certainly don't stop there. It's all about design with a view to exceeding customer expectations, and delivering the right information at the right time.
I thought that I'd share a recent CNBC clip that brings this to life. The video features Carlos Camps. Carlos destroys technology for a living, or at least he tries. As Director of Electrical Engineering at Motorola Solutions, he develops and tests communications for first responders. CNBC give us a front row seat in this video:
I was really taken by a statement that Carlos made "A lot of times you might be able to find us on a ride along with a police officer, you might find us on fire training learning how to put out a fire, or you might even find us running an obstacle course with a SWAT team, It's all about understanding how our products are used and then coming back to the lab so that we can develop those.."
So, now you know not only more about why we design the way we do, you know what would happen if a fire truck ran over one of our public safety radios...
David Parry is Director, EA Marketing.
David is on LinkedIn at uk.linkedin.com/in/davidgparry
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112/999 technology needs to keep up with the ‘smart phone generation’
Moving emergency calls to the digital age is a global challenge, here's a great example from the IET. In a new report launched this week, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is calling for radical changes to the (UK) emergency ‘999’ call service to reflect the digital age, where more people are communicating by text or social media, rather than making a voice call.
The report, ‘Contacting Emergency Services in the Digital Age’, sets out the case for our emergency services to keep pace with the increasing move away from landlines to smart phones, and from voice to data. It argues that in a world where smartphones, text and social media are becoming the norm, creating a new cross-platform, data-based emergency service with a standard interface for consumers should be a priority. Such a move may not only save lives but also enable calls and messages to be better filtered in order to receive more appropriate and faster responses, probably at lower cost.
Launching the report at a meeting supported by the UK Cabinet Office, the IET brought together representatives from the UK Government, the UK emergency services, BT, Ofcom and the mobile phone industry to agree how best to work together to bring the emergency service into the digital age.
Professor Will Stewart, Chair of the IET’s Communications Policy Panel, says: “Communications has changed drastically since the ‘999’ service was designed in 1937 – so there is a critical need to update the service. Ofcom figures show, for example, that 94% of communications from 12-15 year olds is text based. Given that young people are statistically more likely to be victims of crime or accidents, it is a concern that making a voice call to contact the emergency services is not something that would feel natural to them.
“A girl alone in a mini cab who becomes worried about her personal safety might feel unable to make a call on her mobile phone – but could send a text or alert someone over social media. And in the case of certain crimes, such as abduction or a break-in, a silent text or app-based alarm system would be more appropriate and instinctive than the current voice-based one for everybody – irrespective of their age.
“Much of the technology we need to update our emergency service is available today. But we need a shared, cross-party strategy to create a common and user-friendly interface for all service providers to connect to – and one that the general public will be happy to use. And it’s important we do this before different parties go off and do their own thing – confronting the public with too many options and no universal emergency service.”
Superintendent Mark Nottage, who works at the UK Home Office, agrees that ensuring increasingly data-based public services, including the Police Service, are in the best possible position to use advances in digital technology is a priority: “Many people, particularly young people, are using a range of social media applications to communicate, and many rarely make voice calls in their daily lives. This means that we need to adapt and be responsive to ensure that when people need to contact the emergency services or other public services they can quickly access the right information and the most appropriate service first time, and in the way that they choose and are familiar with.”
The IET say that a data-based emergency service would allow people to text alerts via any appropriate app on a chosen easy-to-remember special number, such as 999 – and these alerts would then be passed to the human emergency operator. The main engineering challenge would be to set up priority routing of alerts to this special number in order to avoid delays at busy times. This needs to be arranged in consultation with the main mobile and app-based text providers.
The IET go on to say that there is also considerable opportunity to improve the existing emergency service with, for example, the latest GPS technology available on smart phones. An automatic software system could scan texts and pass on any known user information, approximate handset location and any recent issues with the handset, such as if it has been reported stolen. It could also check whether the message contains any alert keywords such as ‘SOS’, or it could release use of the camera or voice recording functions on the phone to the human operator, resulting in a much more accurate and rapid assessment of the level and nature of the threat involved. Some apps for smartphones are exploring even more novel possibilities, such as peer-to-peer help systems for emergencies.
What is your view? What is the impact for the staff in control rooms and how will they manage these changes?
Now is the time to join the debate to improve the way citizens can contact the emergency services in this digital age.
The full report can be downloaded from the IET - 'Contacting emergency services in the digital age'.
Peter Goulding is Public Safety Specialist, Motorola Solutions
Peter is on LinkedIn at https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/peter-goulding/43/1b4/14
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The MyView Portal provides our customers with a real-time centralised view into the status of their ASTRO 25 network or Dimetra TETRA systems. Through the portal, which serves as single point of insight into the network, system administrators can maintain complete control and visibility of their network with instant access to critical information.
This first-time offering was designed based on our Managed Services customers' requests for up-to-the-minute network notifications. Prior to MyView, the process for opening and completing an incident ticket with a customer required several touch points between Motorola Solutions and network users. Our customers also didn't have access to their open and archived incident tickets or a way to see how their systems were performing against the service contracts.
Built to serve our customers' needs now and in the future, the portal was developed in multiple phases with the aim to improve transparency and accountability.
The MyView Portal development team created a solution that's accessible on any web-enabled device. Customers can log into the MyView Portal to view real-time data aggregated 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the same powerful suite of tools our teams employ in our operations centres.
MyView Portal includes emergency alerts to events that would impact the network, such as severe weather or system blocks, as well as up-to-the-minute notifications on system changes such as planned outages and maintenance updates so our customers can appropriately plan and prepare. Coverage area maps allow users to examine each base station in their network, providing status updates and an at-a-glance view of any issues that may arise.
Managed Services customer QGC is now live on MyView Portal, managing one of Australia’s largest capital infrastructure projects. The QGC network supports more than 2000 devices, including vehicle terminals with GPS tracking, hand-held terminals, desk terminals, dispatcher console and voice recording equipment.
Graeme Howard is Head of Managed Services Delivery Architecture, Global Managed Services Business, Motorola Solutions
Graeme is on LinkedIn at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/graemehoward1
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