Motorola Solutions had its full portfolio of TETRA-based products on display in Budapest, as well as unveiling its TETRA RF Automated Coverage Evaluation System (TRACES) and Dimetra SR 8.0
TETRA platform software release.
Speaking to Wireless at the TETRA World Congress, Tom Quirke, VP and general manager of the TETRA products and solutions organisation at Motorola Solutions, explained how the company is responding to market demands by addressing the needs of niche segments, reducing costs and developing next generation technology.
‘One of the main changes we see is that one size does not fit all,’ he says. ‘Ten years ago you’d develop a radio for the blue light brigade, but now multiple verticals such as oil and gas, transportation, hotels and resorts are also using TETRA and they too are exerting a voice.
‘Treating a segment like the police as one monolithic block is wrong,’ continues Quirke. ‘There is a segmentation inside that audience; detectives have a different set of requirements to traffic police, for instance. Different parts of the police surround their radio with a set of accessories. So, we are saying shouldn’t the radio tie in to the specific needs of the sub-segments?’
Addressing the needs of niche audiences is one task facing manufacturers, but another critical one at the moment is helping customers reduce their costs.
In TETRA systems, 75% of the cost is derived from the operational costs of running the network. On show at Budapest were two solutions from Motorola, the Dimetra SR 8.0 software and the TRACES application, both of which are designed to enhance the efficiency of networks and reduce running costs.
Motorola has also increased receiver sensitivity on one of its key radios. Quirke says: ‘The radio can hear the signal better over noise. If you can provide a radio with a greater range, better building coverage and better quality within the cell area then you might actually be able to reduce the number of cell sites needed, so that saves money.’
On the subject of the next generation of public safety, Quirke is clear that while TETRA can provide numerous short data applications, and will provide more with TEDS (including low-res video), it will never provide hi-res video, so a broadband solution will be needed.
He sees more and more data applications being used, and provided they are not mission critical, believes these can be run on a commercial network. However, once these applications become mission critical, commercial networks will not be robust, resilient or secure enough to be relied upon by public safety organisations.
That means either a single combined voice and data network or two different, but private public safety networks are needed. The US has designated some spectrum and opted for the latter solution.
Quirke believes that Europe also needs to find private spectrum to run public safety broadband services, but warns: ‘We have to make a really compelling case to regulators at a national level and then at a European level to ensure we have harmonised spectrum made available at the right frequency to allow a decent rollout.’
• Dimetra SR 8.0: A new software release for Motorola’s TETRA system platform that is designed to reduce power consumption by up to 60% with its next generation TETRA platform. It will also help customers cope with space-constrained installations and provides increased resilience, capacity, lower running costs and streamlined system upgrades and maintenance. It can also connect to non-TETRA networks, including LTE.
• TRACES: The TETRA RF Automated Coverage Evaluation System (TRACES) allows operators to automatically collect, visualise and evaluate data from across their network through Motorola end-user radios. It will cut down on drive-testing and allow operators to identify network coverage issues more quickly and more effectively.