On-call public safety personnel and emergency service volunteers such as first responder paramedics and volunteer firefighters must be contactable at all times to respond to emergency calls. Secure and reliable communications are essential if they are to respond to the call for help and save lives. But what are the key things you should consider when looking for an alerting solution for them?
1. What type of alerting device do you need?
Today’s smartphones might seem to be the best choice but can suffer from poor battery life and lack of coverage - letting you down in times of emergency. The latest generation of pagers can do a better job as they have long battery life and high receiver sensitivity to give you greater coverage in buildings and built up areas.
These pagers can work for hours on end when out and about without a charge. They are also compact and easily incorporated into everyday lives – at work, home or out and about. Well designed pagers are intuitive to use so a user can immediately understand the message sent. I recommend you look for a pager with a robust and rugged design (to reduce failure rates).
2. Does it run on a trusted, secure and reliable network?
The next thing to consider is the communications network - is it secure and resilient? Consider the security offered by the alerting system’s network infrastructure - is it secure from eavesdropping or traffic analysis by hackers? Is it vulnerable to replay attacks? TETRA networks use standards-based Air Interface Encryption to address public safety security requirements while avoiding vendor lock-in.
In addition to security, also think about the resilience you need from your alerting system. In an emergency situation you need to be able to rely on the network to contact your teams. Unfortunately, it is often in such crisis situations that commercial cellular networks become congested, and in extreme cases, even break down. TETRA networks offer mission-critical, dedicated communications infrastructure that provides the necessary levels of resilience and availability for emergency services alerting.
Using TETRA paging devices with built-in GPS receivers can also allow the dispatcher to see where the closest available resources are and alert them first.
3. Does it provide two-way communication?
Assembling your team quickly and getting them onsite to the incident is vital. Your alerting solution plays a key role in how effective you’ll be. If the paging system is only one way, several call-outs often need to be sent to ensure that alerting messages are received. Additionally, the absence of acknowledgement messages in one-way alerting systems means the dispatcher is unaware of who has accepted and therefore, whether additional call-outs to other teams are required, ultimately leading to control centres ‘over-alerting’.
Two-way paging systems minimise over-alerting costs by providing real-time status information of the recipients of call-out messages. They allow responders to instantly feedback their status to the control centre so the time to alert the required number of volunteers and hence response time is significantly reduced.
4. Is it based on open-standards?
I recommend you avoid vendor lock-in situations by investing in solutions that are based on open standards, rather than any based on proprietary authentication and encryption. TETRA is an ETSI open standard. As TETRA paging systems leverage standardised Air Interface Encryption, End-to-end-Encryption, they offer multi-vendor alternatives.
Consider also the need for scalability in your alerting system, especially when dispatching teams to major incidents. In addition to supporting standalone operation, modern alerting systems provide application programming interfaces to allow CAD systems to send and respond to paging messages. Integrating with the CAD system enables more precise targeting of call-out messages based on role, status and location.
5. Who is the right partner?
As one of the world’s leading suppliers of TETRA solutions, Motorola Solutions is a partner you can rely on. We designed our ADVISOR TPG2200 TETRA two-way pager to be simple to use, even with one hand. You can quickly read and respond to messages with a bright, 2” colour display and familiar user interface. Carry this pager anywhere too, without it getting in the way thanks to a lightweight, compact design. And, since the TPG2200 is IP54 rated for dust and water protection, you know it will keep working even when exposed to the elements. Find out more about ADVISOR TPG2200 TETRA two-way pager here.
Our TETRA Pager is in use on the UK’s Airwave TETRA Network with North West Ambulance Service - check out the press release here.
You can also check out our in-depth guide: ‘Things to consider when looking for an alerting solution for emergency responders.’
Fergus Mayne is Head of UK & Ireland Sales at Motorola Solutions
Motorola Solutions at Mission Critical Technologies London, Excel, stand MCT404, 12-13 June 2019
Every day, public safety users rely on effortless and reliable communications. They call it their lifeline. From mission-critical services and command centre software through to secure and reliable radio solutions, our technology is helping to advance that communications lifeline - preparing today’s public safety users with the information they need, so that they are ready when the moment comes.
Come and see this in action on the Motorola Solutions stand MCT404 at this year’s Mission Critical Technologies event. Let us show you how we can help in 4 key areas from ‘optimised incident response’, ‘having eyes on the scene in seconds’, through to ‘streamlined evidence collection’ and ‘enhance community safety’.
Solutions we will be demonstrating at the event, supporting these areas, include:
We’ve been busy with pre-conference activities too. I was fortunate to take part in a pre-conference webinar on ‘The Future Command and Control Room’ This was hosted by Bernard Rix, Publisher of Policing Insight, and featured the real experience of Andrew White, Assistant Chief Officer Resources of Lincolnshire Police. This was recorded and is available on-demand now at: http://bit.ly/FutureCR1
Headline speakers in the main conference include:
I look forward to seeing you in London.
You can register for a free ticket at https://tmt.knect365.com/mission-critical-technologies/
Yann Marston is Strategic Sales Director at Motorola Solutions
Follow @MotSolsEMEA on Twitter and look out for #ThinkPublicSafety. You can keep up to date with the event on social media by following @MCTSeries.
I’d like to share some really engaging videos we shot at last week’s combined BAPCO and Critical Communications Europe, including some in-depth hands-on demonstrations of new solutions. I hope you find them interesting:
Advancing The Lifeline at BAPCO and CC Europe 2019
Check out this whistle-stop tour of this year's most important mission-critical event. Look out for the new Si200 bodyworn video camera, two-way radios, Avigilon video surveillance, purpose-built devices, key conference topics and more:
New Si200 Bodyworn Camera and Digital Evidence Management
Mike Williams takes us through a hands-on demo of CommandCentral Vault showing how video footage can be reviewed and analysed alongside, for example, gps location data and mapping. Mike follows this with a hands-on demo of the new Si200 bodyworn camera, shows how it can work with a companion device and finishes with a live demo of it working with CommandCentral Vault:
Digital Policing with Pronto
Norman Dixon gives us a hands-on demo of the Pronto Digital Policing application, showing how it replaces police officers' traditional paper and pen. Norman takes us through some of the applications and explains how Pronto enables police officers to spend more time supporting the public:
Purpose Built Devices - Two-Way Radios and much more
Sean Fitzgerald explains how Motorola Solutions has communications devices and infrastructure to suit every possible user. Whether its unlicensed, TETRA or DMR, Sean explains how users can take mobile and handheld devices, accessories and applications from across the portfolio to meet their own specific needs:
Hands-on with Avigilon Video Surveillance and Self Learning Analytics
Lukasz Pitera explains how Artificial Intelligence is used to keep cities and businesses safer - addressing key public safety and security challenges. Lukasz goes on to give us a practical demonstration of how Avigilon video surveillance integrates with CommandCentral Aware, how analytics can be used to speed investigation, how Appearance Search can find target subjects rapidly and how self-learning analytics can be used to provide actionable alarms to police officers.
Cloud - Based Control Rooms: CommandCentral Control Room Solution
Mark Swift explains the benefits of moving your control room to a fully hosted environment and addresses key questions around deploying CommandCentral CRS: What are the advantages in scalabilty and flexibility? How can you ensure reliability and resilience? What is the cost benefit?
Motorola Solutions Kodiak Broadband Push-To-Talk
Steve Beach introduces the Kodiak broadband solution and how it is used by carriers worldwide to provide LMR augmentation.Steve gives a hands-on demonstration of its standards-based mission critical push-to-talk functionality, including priority, pre-emption, quality of service, ambient listening, and emergency button integration.
You can catch all these videos in one place on our BAPCO/CCE 2019 YouTube playlist too.
I hope you enjoyed this selection.
Paul Jeffs - Editor - Think Public Safety.
Paul Jeffs is Public Safety Editorial Lead for Europe and Africa at Motorola Solutions.
Paul is on LinkedIn
Follow @MotSolsEMEA on Twitter and look out for #ThinkPublicSafety
Many of today’s radio users expect radios to be slim and lightweight. But won’t that mean compromising mission critical performance?
As part of his VLOG series, Gert Jan Wolf recently interviewed my colleague Stuart Longley about the ST7500 Compact TETRA Radio. This interview shows, that in the case of the ST7500, there is no need to compromise mission-critical performance for compact design.
Here are just a few highlights from the interview, in Stuart’s words:
’We don’t develop products in a vacuum, we’re always going out and speaking to our customers. And we always appreciate their feedback and use it to inform our roadmap. So it’s a combination of Motorola Solutions’ innovation and that voice of the customer data that’s really important to us to make sure we are meeting the market needs and doing things that customers really want us to do.’
‘…picking it up and using it without having had any training on this device. That’s one of the concepts behind it, that we don’t need to put people through complex training courses simply to pick up their radio and use it for their day to day tasks. It lets them focus on the tasks that are actually important to public safety officers, rather than worrying about the controls on their radio.’
‘It’s a fully waterproof radio, even with this back cover that’s removeable.’
‘There’s still a big opportunity out there for TETRA to grow as a Public Safety technology. There’s been lots of talk about broadband and how broadband’s going to change the landscape of Public Safety but people still need to talk to each other and narrowband radio technologies I believe still have a future.’
I hope you enjoyed watching the interview. It does show that there is no reason to compromise on mission-critical performance if you choose the right compact TETRA radio. You can find out more about the ST7500 radio at www.motorolasolutions.com/ST7500.
Follow #ThinkPublicSafety, #ST7500, #TETRArefresh and @MotsolsEMEA on Twitter
Mission Critical Technologies Africa 2018 in Cape Town, 13-15 November 2018
I am excited to be exhibiting and speaking at this year’s Mission Critical Technologies Africa.
We will be showing how we can use our technology to solve communications challenges faced by police, fire and rescue, ambulance and other public safety agencies throughout Africa.
What are those challenges?
Visit us on stand A84 and learn from our experts about our range of solutions that can help you address these challenges:
The new ST7500 compact TETRA radio, Ultra Portable LTE Infrastructure, our LEX L11 Mission-Critical LTE Device, Si500 Body Worn Camera, Avigilon Appearance Search™ and Unusual Motion Detection, Control Room Systems coupled with our Command Centre Software, Managed and Support Services to maximise your system’s availability and equipment uptime, high performance networks - MOTOTRBO™ Capacity Max and DIMETRA Express, WAVE broadband push-to-talk and a range of purpose-built TETRA, MOTOTRBO, ASTRO 25, and LTE devices. Wow!
I am also excited to be speaking in the conference on a very topical subject:
'National mission critical networks – leveraging digital technologies alongside broadband' in 'Connecting Africa' on Thursday 15 November 2018 from 12:50 to 13:10.
Visitor passes for Mission Critical Technologies Africa are free. You can register here.
Mission Critical Technologies Africa is also co-located with AfricaCom so you could easily combine visits to both. Visitor passes for both events are free.
You can also keep up-to-date with news and events on our Safer Cities, Secure Businesses Africa microsite at www.motorolasolutions.com/saferafrica
I look forward to seeing you in Cape Town.
Tunde Williams is Head of Marketing for Europe, Middle-East and Africa
Follow @MotSolsEMEA on Twitter and look out for #MCTA2018
My earliest memory of a ‘walkie-talkie’ is of a toy one I had as a child, and using it to communicate whilst out playing with my brother. It was great to just push the button and be able to talk.
With the availability of analogue and new digital radios, the situation is much the same. It still offered immediate connectivity through the ‘Push To Talk’ button. This immediate, fuss-free connectivity became essential for mission critical users such as Police, Fire or Ambulance who depend on them to help save lives.
Move into the early 2000s and cellphone users were asking to be able to connect ‘like radio users do’. This drove the development of new (infant) technology for providing a ‘PTT-like’ ability on 2G/2.5G cellphones but it was not reliable or robust enough for mission-critical applications.
Since then, cellular networks have rapidly advanced to 4G/LTE that supports bandwidth-intensive mobile data applications. PTT over broadband was developed to meet the needs of commercial users. PTT over mobile broadband has now been evolved to support mission-critical users too. Key to this evolution has been the development of international (3GPP) mission-critical standards:
Where does Motorola Solutions fit in? We continue to contribute to 3GPP standards related to mission-critical communications and lead the industry in standards implementation and compliance. Today’s mission-critical PTT users benefit from sub-second call set-up, high voice quality, numerous advanced features, as well as multimedia applications integrated on the same device.
What does this mean for Public Safety radio users? We recognise that when it comes to push-to-talk communications, one size, or in this case, one technology does not fit all. The right PTT communication platform should fit within your existing workflows, not the other way around. Our breadth of PTT solutions include PMR solutions (analogue and digital) such as ASTRO P25, TETRA and DMR standards as well as WAVE, our broadband PTT which operates over any broadband network.
The evolution of PTT has created a world of multiple technologies, and technologies that can interoperate. This enables each user to have the right technology for their situation. An example of the collaboration between technologies is Lowland Rescue:
Out in the field the rescue teams communicated by two-way radio and thanks to the interoperability provided by our WAVE solution, were able to keep a rescue-team member (at home) up-to-date with developments via a broadband connection.
Want to know more? Check out our new White Paper ‘The Evolution of PTT’
Mike is EMEA Solutions Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions
Connect with Mike on LinkedIn
Follow #ThinkPublicSafety, @MotsolsEMEA on Twitter