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    • Eyes up. Hands free. Developing tomorrow’s public safety technologies Author: Julian Foster

      Published Jul 27 2018, 12:33 PM by Paul Jeffs

      Julian Foster sat down with Paul Steinberg, to discuss how Motorola Solutions’ CTO team are developing future technologies to keep front line officers safe and communities thriving.

      Paul: AI, wearable devices and HD video have all been around for a while, but they’re now really coming to fruition and accelerating at a breath-taking pace. At Motorola Solutions we believe in purpose-built technology for first responders. Technology for everyone doesn’t work particularly well for anyone. First responders have unique needs. Harnessing all of that brilliant tech – AI, wearable devices, HD video – to the benefit of first responders is what we focus on.

      Julian: There’s so much data out there, the key is getting the right information to the right person at exactly the right time. How are the team going about that?

      Paul Steinberg, CTOPaul: Yes, with such an amazing amount of data available, getting the right information to first responders is a certainly a key challenge. When developing technology for first responders High Velocity Human Factors (HVHF) are a core principle. The more stress you’re under, the less ability you have to focus on anything other than the situation that’s causing you stress. The ironic thing is, the more you need the technology, the less ability you have to cope with what you need.


      Julian: That also brings in the importance of sensors – sensing when officers are in stressful situations without them actually telling you.

      Paul: Absolutely right, we’re all walking Internet of Things with biometrics sensors, cameras, audio pickup devices, and environmental sensors. The trick is to fuse all of that together and make sense of it in the moment, in real-time, to discern the context of the individual. What’s the right piece of information you give them? How can our technology best help them in that precise moment?

      Julian: So, this isn’t just a story of data. It’s one of analytics, data and devices working together?

      Paul: Absolutely. As we discussed earlier, there’s prolific amounts of data out there. I think we’ve crossed over 15 zettabytes in the digital universe which is an enormous amount of raw material that feeds analytics and intelligence. But it always comes back to the human being. How do we get that information to them in the most usable way? That brings us back to the devices and technology that we carry the information on.


      Mission Critical Intelligence


      Julian: Where do you see all of this going?

      Paul: Video is becoming much more prolific – growing at about 100 million fixed CCTV cameras installed every year. With GDPR and some of the other regulations coming along, that creates a challenge. We have more video, but more complexity in managing it as well. With us all becoming walking Internet of Things, not only does AI allow us to take all of that data and extract meaningful information in real-time – it also allows us to interact with human beings in different ways. For example, Natural Language Processing – the ability for a human being to have a conversation with the technology. We like to say one of the most important pieces of research we get is Eyes Up, Hands Free – stay focused on what you’re doing, with your hands available to do it. Voice is still the most natural way for human beings to communicate in that setting.

      Natural Language...

      Julian: Project Greenlight in Detroit is an interesting one. The partnerships with local businesses all drawing video together. Do you think that’s a model that others will follow?

      Paul: I do. I think you’ll see that public, private partnership model continue to expand across the world. Increasingly video surveillance cameras and these technologies are pervading their way into the public and private sectors. The more we can fuse that together and get them sharing information and collaborating in real-time – then we’re making an important step towards safer cities and thriving communities.



      Julian Foster is Global Co-Lead for the Social Media Centre of Excellence at Motorola Solutions

      Connect with Julian on LinkedIn




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    • Designed for the 6Cs? Evaluating your Mission Critical Communications Author: Ricardo Gonzalez

      Published Jul 13 2018, 10:41 AM by Paul Jeffs

      Today, mission critical communication plays a vital role in enabling emergency personnel to stay connected and protect communities around the world. Organisations and agencies – including police, fire, emergency medical services and military – have long depended on narrowband, two-way radio for their mission critical communication needs. Land mobile radio networks such as TETRA continue to deliver proven, reliable voice communication in life-and-death situations.

      Now public safety communication needs are evolving as mobile broadband technology offers additional services, which can augment mission critical voice by giving access to data that can be turned into intelligence to support informed decisions in real time.

      Motorola Solutions has supported customers with mission critical communications for decades and this experience gives us a unique insight into how solutions need to evolve to deliver the model that most suits customers and users needs.

      As public safety agencies around the world explore different ways to address their needs for reliable communications. There is currently some debate in the industry as to whether LMR or mobile broadband is the best solution for public safety.

      At this point in technology development, many organisations are choosing to leverage both LMR and mobile broadband. These serve as complementary technologies – with LMR providing essential mission critical voice communications and mobile broadband providing additional data-driven capabilities. Together, they create a system that is able to respond effectively and efficiently to today’s public safety communication needs. By bridging both technologies, your organisation is able to take advantage of the robust offerings provided by LMR and mobile broadband. This synergy between voice and data is the future of mission critical communications.

      Motorola Solutions has been providing mission critical solutions for generations, and more than 20 years ago, we recognised the need for an efficient, easy-to-understand benchmark for evaluating technology choices. In response, we introduced the five Cs of critical communication – coverage, capacity, cost, control and capability. Today’s environment requires you to consider a sixth C – cybersecurity.

      Together, these six Cs play an important role in effectively assessing mission critical communications. You want to make sure you make the best decisions for the people on the front line, so however you choose to move forward make sure your follow these basic principles.

      1. Capacity: Are your communications systems capable of supporting everything and everyone they need to during times of crisis? Will calls be prioritised so the most important information gets through first? Even with the best analytics, no one can predict precisely where the next incident will occur. Capacity will always have to be managed and when incidents happen it becomes even more important. Priority setting is vital on both networks so that the most important communications are always allowed through. The robustness of our TETRA network in the UK was proven during the August 2011 riots in London. During the riots, the number of voice calls handled by the London switch doubled from 2 million to 4 million.
      2. Coverage: Does your system meet your unique geographical and performance requirements? No one can predict where the next incident will occur. You need a robust communication system with superior coverage across your entire operational area and sufficient back-up and redundancies to prevent communication gaps and losses. Infrastructure should be easily supported and serviced to ensure your network stays up and running when it’s needed the most. The resiliency of the P25 networks in Florida and Texas was proven during recent events – including Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey – where the systems continued to operate with minimal disruption of coverage. Because LMR devices transmit with more power, LMR networks require less infrastructure, making them easier to support. In addition, LMR devices will also work in local fall-back-mode if the network does goes down. And ultimately, when outside network coverage, Direct Mode Operation (DMO) allows them to communicate device-to-device.
      3. Control: How much control do you want over system requirements, design, features and operations? Is it important for your organisation that your system is configured for a specific use case? Many public safety agencies want a high degree of authority over their systems. They want to control who has access to the system, monitor what changes need to be made and when, and track the status of all users. In addition, these controlled networks streamline management and provide network health visibility at all times.
      4. Costs: How would your return on investment improve if your system supported both voice and data? Your agency doesn’t want to have to compromise mission critical features because of budgetary concerns. Analysing the cost of both LMR and mobile broadband services highlights two very unique, divergent financial structures. Traditionally, implementing an LMR network requires a larger one-time initial financial output to develop infrastructure, followed by ongoing, set monthly fees for upkeep and services. Conversely, subscribing to a commercial mobile broadband network is less expensive at the outset, but recurring airtime fees and other data charges can be unpredictable. Determining if the expense scales appropriately with the size of you fleet will be an exercise to plan for. In addition, mobile broadband requires more bandwidth than narrowband LMR systems, meaning additional sites may be needed to provide the required level of capacity. Building a plan based on a balance and convergence of LMR and mobile broadband can provide your organisation access to the most up-to-date communications technology while reducing operation costs.
      5. Capability: Voice is critical, but does your organisation also need data capabilities? Through multiple generations of development and user experiences, LMR systems provide a number of functions essential to mission critical operations. Push-to-talk, intuitive design, rugged construction, unique ergonomics, advanced noise cancellation and high-capacity batteries are all features that have been incorporated into LMR devices with the customer’s environment in mind. Robust priority and pre-emption, dynamic grouping, even low-latency call setup are all inherent to LMR technology, ensuring that a critical call gets through. In addition, LMR technology is decentralised and built for resilience – if part of a network goes down or is disconnected from the rest, LMR service continues to be available. Multiple levels of redundancy and fallback modes are built into the networks to minimise service disruptions under even the harshest of conditions. With a design philosophy born in delivering mission critical audio, LMR is however unable to support the wide diversity of data-driven applications provided by mobile broadband. Today, 82 percent of agencies across EMEA believe access to real-time date in the field is ‘critical or very important’(1). Mobile broadband continues to open up the world of video streaming and data applications, providing emergency personnel with access to real-time surveillance video, high-resolution photos, bi-directional vehicular video, and dynamic mapping and routing. This, in turn, is improving operational efficiency and promoting intelligent decision making. With LMR and mobile broadband providing their own set of unique capabilities, choosing between the two can be a challenge. By bridging both technologies, your organisation is able to take advantage of the robust offerings provided by LMR and mobile broadband. This synergy between voice and data is the future of mission critical communications.
      6. Cybersecurity: Are your mission critical communications secure? Globally, the number of cybersecurity breaches has increased by nearly 30 percent annually (2). It is clear that security is a real concern for public safety agencies. As communication evolves to include voice, data and video capabilities, the risk of cyber attacks for both LMR and mobile broadband networks is expanding. Mobile broadbands’ variety of applications and internet connectivity introduces new opportunities for breaches. With LMR voice communications already highly secure, the movement toward IP-based broadband connectivity is increasing network “attack surfaces.” Fortunately, both LMR and mobile broadband networks continue to adapt to emerging cyber threats, including additional security measures, continued updates and innovative encryption services. Looking ahead, those networks that utilise security best practices and open standards will be positioned well to protect against cyber attacks.

      When it comes to mission critical communications, having the right technology for the right operations is key. As data continues to proliferate and networks become increasingly complex, bridging LMR and mobile broadband enables your organisation to combine their unique strengths into a blended network that best meets the complex demands of public safety.  Leveraging the best of both LMR and mobile broadband ensures your organisation has all of the six Cs of mission critical communications – coverage, capacity, cost, control, capabilities and cybersecurity.

      By working with Motorola Solutions you will be able to take advantage of decades of delivering mission critical communications solutions that will make your organisation more efficient, keep your personnel safe and enable effective evolution to next generation solutions.

      Check out our latest video too - Why is Land Mobile Radio Mission Critical?



      For more information visit our website to see the full range of our LMR networks and device solutions, broadband networks and devices, as well as our managed and support services.

       Ricardo Gonzalez

      Ricardo Gonzalez is MSSSI VP EMEA Strategy and Marketing at Motorola Solutions

      Connect with Ricardo on LinkedIn




      1 – Public Safety Communications –Trends, Priorities, New Technologies - Motorola Solutions, 2017.

      2 - Cost of Cyber Crime Study,” Ponemon Institute and Accenture, 2017.


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    • Safer and Smarter by Design - Radios for Firefighters Author: Mike Williams

      Published Jul 06 2018, 9:53 AM by Paul Jeffs

      Why our MTP8000Ex TETRA Series is much more than just another ATEX radio.

      Fire and Rescue teams have long relied on two-way radios to provide effective communications and save lives. But when firefighters respond to an incident in a hazardous environment such as a traffic accident involving a petrol tanker or an accident at a petrochemical plant, they need ATEX radios to communicate safely and prevent an incident from becoming an emergency.

      So what exactly is a hazardous environment?” What is an ATEX radio? And why would I need one? Well, hazardous places are classified in terms of zones on the basis of the frequency and duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere. (You can learn more about the ATEX and the zones here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2000:023:0057:0064:en:PDF ) Given the nature of a firefighters work, they could well be working in the vicinity of explosive dust, gas or liquid - so it’s important that their radio doesn’t contribute to igniting it. ATEX radios are radios that have been designed to be intrinsically safe in such environments and are classified as to which ATEX zones they are safe to work in.

      ATEX in action

      So how did we build an ATEX radio for a firefighter? We started off by listening to the challenges and frustrations they face every day and asking what firefighters needed from an ATEX radio. We then designed an ATEX radio that addressed these issues, all with the aim of increasing their efficiency and improving their safety in hazardous environments whilst at the same time making the radios easier to use than ever before.

      Easy to Use and more...

      Firefighters need a radio that is easy to use during an incident and when wearing protective clothing and heavy gloves. The MTP8000Ex series radios have a “T-bar” grip that makes the radio harder to drop and easier to hold, even for long periods. The exaggerated control knob to select volume and talkgroup, textured PTT button and tactile keypad make it easier to use.

      We added a display panel at the top of the radio to make it easier for firefighters to see key information such as status alerts emergency notifications, volume, battery level and talk group. The firefighter can glance at the top of the radio to see key information rather unclipping it from their belt or chest.

      For simplicity, the interface makes use of icons and the menus can be configured to only show the options needed for particular groups of users.

      They need a radio that can be heard in the heat and noise of a fire, against the loud background noise of fire engines, or industrial machinery. We gave our radio 1.2 watts of audio power and howling suppression technology so that the firefighters can hear and be heard when it matters with loud and clear audio.

      Radios need to last for a whole shift and the duration of an emergency - so we provide an extended battery life in excess of 16 hours, firefighters can be confident that their radios will be ready for a longer shift in the event of emergencies or unplanned situations.

      The radios are going to be used in harsh conditions and need to be able to cope with tough and hazardous situations that the firefighters will face. The MTP8000Ex Series radios are rugged to comply with MIL-STD 810 D/E/F/G and have IP65, IP66 and IP67 ratings, so they will work in the cold and wet or the dust and heat.

      It’s important for firefighters to be able to communicate and high receiver sensitivity and high transmit power gives the MTP8000Ex Series greater coverage and enhanced in-building performance. They also need to know how good their signal strength is, so that they can ensure they can communicate. Our innovative solution was to add a LED Coverage Indicator at the base of the antenna, which clearly shows the user when coverage is good, poor or marginal.

      Keep In Contact

      Our customer research showed us that many users mark their radio in some way to distinguish it from others, often using a sticky label or a permanent marker to write a name or number on the radio. This can often compromise the ATEX certification and as a result put the safety of the users at risk. So we added a nameplate to the back of the MTP8000Ex radios so that firefighters can write their name or number on the tab behind a clear Perspex cover enabling the radios to be easily identified without compromising safety.

      Firefighters also need a complete ATEX communications solution which means they need ATEX audio accessories such as the ATEX active noise cancelling remote speaker microphone  or an integrated microphone and earpiece to enable them to focus on the incident while keeping them safe.

      With over 20 years of experience providing intrinsically safe two-way radios, and by understanding the needs of the firefighter we were able to think smarter about the design of the radio.

      Built to the latest ATEX and IECEx safety standards, the MTP8000Ex Series radios have been specifically designed for people who need to work in hazardous environments with potentially explosive gases or chemical vapours, flammable liquids or combustible dust. These radios provide firefighters with the ability to work safer, work smarter and work anywhere with powerful audio, enhanced coverage, extended battery life, greater ruggedness, advanced ergonomics and increased usability.

      Through a series of simple and innovative design features we have made the MTP8000Ex Series much more than just another ATEX radio.


      Check out MTP800OEx Series online and learn more about our dedicated ATEX accessories here.


      Mike Williams

      Mike is EMEA Solutions Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions

      Connect with Mike on LinkedIn



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