Despite all the talk about broadband the traditional critical communications market for professional mobile radio solutions is hardly stagnant at the moment, as research company IHS Technology made clear in its latest sector report.
The critical communications market, which includes police radios and other professional communications equipment, will be worth $18 billion (£13.75 billion) by 2019, which means the market will grow by 33% between 2013 and 2019.
Thomas Lynch, director of critical communications research at IHS Technology, commented: ‘Economic constraints have forced public sector cuts in many countries, yet we are seeing strong growth on a global scale.’
The two largest market segments are command and control solutions, and licensed mobile radio terminals, which together account for more than two-thirds of critical communications revenue.
Among the key trends identified by IHS are: the continued migration from analogue radio to digital; and the growth of what IHS refers to as cost-optimised digital technologies (DMR, dPMR, NXDN and PDT) which are forecast to grow from nearly 5.7 million radios in 2014 to more than 15.7 million radios in 2019 — the highest growth of any LMR (land mobile radio) technology.
The advent of 4G LTE broadband solutions for critical communications has been ‘slow and protracted until now’, according to Lynch. Challenges surrounding spectrum remain at the forefront, especially for mission-critical users in public safety, although there are similar constraints for other mission-critical industries like utilities and transportation. The cost of spectrum also remains an impediment, IHS noted.
‘With more than 74,000 device shipments estimated for 2016, private and public LTE systems for critical communications users will now start to have a direct effect,’ Lynch said. ‘Already, end-users from several sectors are implementing LTE, and some have chosen it over TETRA or DMR.
‘As well as public safety, this is occurring mostly in small and contained networks, often in remote locations — for example, oil and gas platforms and in mining operations.’ This is a trend in Africa, for example, where it has been easier to ‘leap over’ technology generations rather than set up an LMR infrastructure beforehand. The overall market for LTE still remains small, however, although IHS anticipates strong growth over the next three years.
TETRA market growth
Turning specifically to TETRA radio technology, IHS said the market remains healthy with growth predicted in all regions. Eastern Europe in particular is projected to see rapid growth, with new terminal shipments in the industrial sector expected to increase by almost 50%, and in transport by nearly 27%.
Western Europe is forecast to remain the largest world market for TETRA. This prediction has been raised compared with the 2015 IHS report, as data from the IHS EMEA tracking service and ongoing conversations with industry experts indicated ‘positivity on the future of TETRA in Europe’.
‘2015 has been an exceptional year for TETRA in Europe, with the completion of the nationwide networks in Germany and Norway,’ said Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA, the critical communications sector representative and the industry association behind CCW. ‘We are also seeing re-investment in existing TETRA networks, with a huge amount of activity in renewing both infrastructure and terminals.’
Although Europe remains the largest market for TETRA in active radios, with a 53% share of the installed base as at the end of 2015, it will be challenged by the end of 2020 as the installed base increases in other regions including Middle East and Africa (MEA), and the Americas.
The American installed base is forecast to be led by Latin America, although North America, where TETRA was only introduced in 2012, is also forecast to grow substantially.
Wireless caught up with some of the exhibitors at CCW to find out about the latest thinking, products and solutions. Some of the highlights from CCW can be found on the following pages.
Hytera showcases latest TETRA and LTE solutions
Hytera featured a wide range of products and solutions on its stand. The company has now extended its PTTconnect solution to its DMR portfolio, as well as TETRA. The solution enables PMR radio users to interoperate with cellular mobile phone users.
PTTconnect is an app that can be used on Android devices and supports typical PMR functions such as individual and group calls, prioritisation and emergency calls, data and messaging services (SDS, status), security and management services such as authentication, encryption, enable/disable device and server-based device configuration.
The Android user interface also supports an emergency call button, call log, flexible dialling, GPS positioning, phone book, group lists and so on.
A slightly unusual demonstration from Hytera featured a motorbike with a wireless radio head connected via Bluetooth (although a wired connection can be used as well) to a PDT radio located at the rear of the bike; and with a push-to-talk button located on the left handlebar. The solution is something of a prototype, but serves as an illustration of what could be done.
The main new exhibit was a prototype of Hytera’s DIB-R5 outdoor TETRA base station, which is due to be commercially available in 2017. It can be used in both TETRA 1 and 2 and TEDS (TETRA Enhanced Data Services) systems. It delivers a 15W output of TETRA 1 and 10W for TETRA 2 and TEDS.
Its power consumption is under 100W – an achievement that required a lot of engineering to make it work. The company believes it is feasible to power the unit with a solar panel. The product weights just 10kg so is easily mountable on a mast.
Hytera also had an LTE broadband solution on display. The company explained that its policy was different from the likes of Huawei, as it has narrowband technology and continues to support that alongside newer broadband solutions – suggesting that the company, like many of its peers, sees hybrid or complementary narrowband and broadband systems as the future.
‘We have a converged solution for narrowband analogue and digital and broadband. Using our core network solution we can connect to narrowband systems such as DMR, TETRA and PDT and to LTE broadband base stations,’ explained a Hytera spokesman.
‘One base station can support both a narrowband system and an LTE system with a card for each standard. That way, traditional PMR customers can continue to use narrowband mostly for voice and broadband for high speed data applications such as video.’
Airbus unveils dual TETRA/LTE devices and new Tactilon Suite
The most eye-catching new product from Airbus Defence & Space was its Tactilon Dabat dual TETRA-LTE radio. The rugged device features a 4.7-inch mobile phone style touch screen with external antenna and integrates both a fully rugged smartphone and a complete TETRA handheld radio in one form factor.
The LTE part of the Dabat is designed for data only. Voice works via TETRA. However, thanks to applications which run on the Dabat, users are able to exert push-to-talk over LTE. The Tactilon Dabat has the same shock, water and dust resistance as any Airbus TETRA radio.
It supports typical PMR functions such as push-to-talk (PTT) with TETRA device-style buttons, direct and emergency calls, messaging, location based services, man-down detection, cross-authority support, direct mode and end-to-end secure communications.
On the broadband side it supports data, rich media communications and a lot of applications, including mapping. The microphone and speakers are voice-optimised and waterproof with the ability to communicate even in heavy rain.
The Dabat is part of a suite of products and solutions under the Tactilon brand, designed to help public safety agencies mix narrowband and broadband technologies. The portfolio of devices, applications and infrastructure combines PMR and broadband technologies, including Tactilon Agnet, Secure, Broadband, Cell and Suite.
Tactilon Agnet is a group communication solution, which connects broadband and PMR users. The TETRA version has already been deployed, but new features at CCW included group multimedia services, and standards compliant for voice. It also works for Tetrapol networks.
Tactilon Secure is a unified control and security solution designed to enable public safety personnel to communicate securely on a commercial mobile network (Tactilon Secure MVNO).
As an alternative, Tactilon Broadband enables guaranteed coverage and capacity for public safety agencies by using their own LTE base stations – a dedicated broadband solution in other words.
Tactilon Cell is a full LTE service with mission critical applications integrated into a small mobile ‘all-in-one’ box (it can also be vehicle mounted) for tactical, ad hoc, networks, although it can also be integrated into a nationwide LTE network.
The final element of the Tactilon Suite is Tactilon Management — a unified subscriber management and control application, which brings public safety operating models to 4G LTE. Operators can manage and control subscribers, access rights and call/video groups across TETRA, Tetrapol and LTE.
On the purely TETRA product side, Airbus introduced its TETRA Release 7 which comes with support for more TETRA servers providing better geographical redundancy and improved resilience. The ability to carry out remote operations on base stations helps to cut operational costs, and there is more capacity now for applications. It also features an integrated IP security solution.
Airbus also showcased the TETRA Claricor Cell – a 10-minute plug and play deployable TETRA network with everything pre-configured. The small system can be quickly set up for vehicle convoys and firefighting or rescue operations in remote regions.
The fully equipped system works as stand-alone solution, or users can easily integrate it into existing national or smaller TETRA networks. It is transportable in rugged boxes, works in rolling vehicles, and offers a wide range of technical features.
At a press conference at CCW, Eric Davalo, Head of Strategy, Solutions Portfolio and Engineering of Secure Land Communications at Airbus, said the company is driving towards making its offerings more complete with PTT voice over LTE, eMBMS for multi-video broadcasting over LTE and creating hybrid MVNO solutions.
It is also looking at the various licensed shared access (LSA) spectrum sharing solutions, which will open up spectrum to public safety, transport and utilities in particular.
Bittium and Air-Lynx launch public safety eMBMS solution
Rugged device manufacturer Bittium and Air-Lynx also unveiled a public safety LTE evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Solution (eMBMS) at CCW. The eMBMS solution enables efficient use of LTE radio spectrum, delivering huge amounts of data even in a congested network environment.
Real-time video transmissions are data intensive, so they may quickly consume all available radio resources when there are multiple users in a single cell area, all transmitting and receiving at the same time. eMBMS enables multicasting of the same content even to thousands of users at the same time, in a single transmission.
Tero Savolainen, Director Special Devices at Bittium, explained that a unique feature of the Bittium and Air-Lynx solution is that it uses RTP protocol. This protocol has been selected by 3GPP as the standard for public safety eMBMS in Release 13 of LTE.
‘Thanks to our successful partnership with Bittium, we are able to show real demonstration of eMBMS for the first time. Use of a multicast is essential for efficiency of LTE professional use. With this announcement Air-Lynx is positioned on the leading edge of LTE private networks solution suppliers,’ said Didier Raffenoux, CEO, Air-Lynx.
The use cases for eMBMS in public safety LTE include real-time video streaming for situational awareness, as well as mission-critical push-to-talk. It can also be used for non-critical applications, such as file deliveries, software updates and any other uses where a big amount of similar data needs to be sent to multiple users.
Bittium also showcased its latest Android-based Tough Mobile device, a Band 28 variant for public safety, which uses Bittium Secure Suite device management and encryption software, which has received the Finnish National Restricted Classification Level for security.
Huawei evolves its mission critical eLTE solution to be 3GPP compliant
Huawei, like Nokia, also opted to enter the mission critical communications market as a pure broadband player. The company has developed its eLTE mission critical portfolio, a necessarily a proprietary (because it is ahead of the 3GPP standard) solution to provide PMR-type functionality for broadband.
However, Norman Frisch, Chairman, eLTE Industry Alliance at Huawei, told Wireless that the company is evolving its products to keep in step with the mission critical open standard being written by 3GPP: ‘Our eLTE solution will be 3GPP LTE Release 13 compliant and commercially available by the end of the year.’
Frisch said: ‘eLTE is just a Huawei branding term. It is being done for vertical markets where you can have anything from a very small dedicated system you can put in a backpack, right up to a nationwide system the size of a cellular mobile network operator’s network.
‘Public safety moving from a very niche, albeit an open standard into a mainstream technology – 4G LTE, which will provide a lot of flexibility and options for the public safety sector in terms of providing a wider choice of suppliers and improvements for future developments. R&D costs a lot of money, but that cost is shared between billions of consumer LTE subscribers to provide much better economies of scale for RoI,’ said Frisch.
The ‘e’ in eLTE stands for enterprise, as Huawei originally targeted industry sectors rather than public safety customers. Frisch said: ‘There is so much more to it than providing voice trunking and broadband information to improve situational awareness. We are already preparing the next step, which is coming slowly, for other areas such as Safe Cities and the Internet of Things.’
At Huawei’s eLTE Industry Alliance Summit, held in Amsterdam the day before
CCW opened, Jianhua Peng, President of Enterprise Wireless Business Unit at Huawei, commented that the rapid advancement of the LTE-based industry has evolved the meaning of ‘e’ in eLTE to now represent: enterprise, extension, enhancement, and evolution.
Peng explained that Enterprise relates to eLTE private networks specifically designed for government and enterprise customers supporting mission critical applications. Extension involves moving eLTE network into more diverse industries, including public safety, rail transportation, chemicals, water metering, electricity metering, and manufacturing.
It also means harnessing a wider variety of spectrum options, covering licensed spectrum and unlicensed spectrum, and including human-to-human communications and industrial connectivity.
Enhancement refers to designing solutions for specific industries to provide a variety of industry terminals to cater to different industry needs. Evolution means eLTE fully complies with 3GPP standards and is capable of evolving to 4.5G and 5G when that is developed.
The company showcased a number of eLTE solutions at its stand at CCW in areas such as public safety, transportation, and energy.
Sepura expands TETRA and LTE portfolios
Steve Barber, Vice President Group Strategy at Sepura, said that the company had a number of new concepts on its stand at CCW. ‘We have a TETRA radio talking wirelessly to a body-worn video camera, so if you press the emergency button on the TETRA radio it activates the camera. The images are stored and you can download the video later for evidential purposes.’
Barber explained that the solution was there just to demonstrate a proof of concept. ‘In the longer term, when we put LTE into the back of our dual mode products (such as the LTE-ready SC20 hand portable radio) there is no reason why if you press the emergency body you couldn’t stream the video footage back to a control centre.
‘That way, instead of having to deal with loads of video feeds being constantly streamed live to control rooms all the time, you only get video in emergency situations. You then do not have to sift through hours of video to find the relevant moments, and the operator can react immediately and dispatch the right resources,’ said Barber.
Among its new product offerings, Sepura showcased its complete, standalone outdoor TETRA base station, the MBS Lite, at the show. The single box contains both RF and control elements, and its fanless design ‘drastically reduces maintenance costs’ according to the company. MBS Lite delivers the usual TETRA standard functionality, including voice, data and security services.
It can be linked to another MBS to create a two-carrier base station, and availability can be maximised by configuring one of the carriers as a hot standby redundant unit. A complete set of intuitive software tools allows easy remote maintenance, such as real-time provisioning of users and groups, system configuration and network status monitoring.
Sepura describes the product as simple to install either indoors or outdoors. It requires no additional unit or shelter at its base and is designed to provide quick and cost-effective coverage for business critical scenarios such as mines, industry, hotels, commercial centres or sporting events.
Sepura tactical LTE solution
The company also launched a new tactical LTE solution at CCW aimed principally at the public safety and defence markets. The 100% Ethernet/IP-based hybrid TETRA-LTE solution is based on the company’s eNEBULA digital communications network, developed by Teltronic, which became part of the Sepura Group last year.
It is designed to offer first responders and armed forces with a quick response in emergency situations by providing reliable coverage and broadband capacity through professional LTE technology.
The hardware is compliant with military grade equipment regulatory demands and is built to withstand the harshest conditions. The solution allows the sharing of real-time video from urban, mobile and body-worn cameras – vital in the coordination of special operations.
It can also be combined with TETRA technology in a hybrid deployment, offering a full range of TETRA and LTE communication solutions on the same system, including comprehensive mission-critical voice services.
Nokia displays standalone 4G LTE network solutions, including ‘backpack’ product
Nokia (now including Alcatel-Lucent) is another of the four big cellular infrastructure OEMs, along with Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson, to be making in-roads into the mission critical communications sector over the last few years.
Naturally, the company has a huge wealth of experience in broadband communications and at CCW it was showcasing several deployable LTE network solutions. These are purely LTE products with no hybrid solutions incorporating PMR standards such as TETRA, Tetrapol, P25 or DMR.
First up was a ‘fully outdoor capable’ vehicle portable solution comprising eNodeB radio, baseband and power supply with EPC (evolved packet core) and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) embedded. It has the ability to handle two more applications such as push-to-talk (PTT) and a video orchestration based on mobile edge computing (MEC) technology – both unicast and eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services) can be done.
On show was a demonstration set-up showing PTT voice and PT video capabilities integrated into the dispatcher. The dispatcher can handle four video streams simultaneously. The dispatcher system also provides a full audio and video audit trail.
The set-up employed Korean company Cybertel Bridge’s PTT solution with extra large speaker and barcode scanners linked up to several types of devices including a Samsung smartphones, a ruggedised Bittium device, and an ultra-rugged TD Tech device from China.
The aim was to demonstrate how commercial off the shelf devices can be incorporated using the typical BYOD concept.
The idea was to also show the types of devices that public safety agencies might be using, along with a demonstration of the management system to ensure a secure operating system when using commercial OSs such as Google Android (i.e. the management solution will remove applications that link back to Google, for example, to ensure security).
Another Nokia demonstration linked a helmet camera to a drone. An application in the eNodeB allows an operator to manipulate the video feed to provide HD or SD quality depending on need, and it enables MBMS multicast to the number of personnel who need to see the video.
Additional coverage and capacity can be added to the field deployable LTE network by linking the unit into a wider (nationwide) LTE network with backhaul provided by satellite or microwave links. A mesh network can also be created by deploying two or more of the portable LTE units.
Nokia has also gone a step further by coming up with an ultra-compact LTE network, which can be carried by one person in a backpack to provide a highly portable standalone network. The network can provide voice, video and data services in emergency situations, remote locations and events, and act as a hotspot for public safety organisations, industries and operators.
It is based on Nokia’s FlexiZone cellular small cell technology and can utilise cable, satellite or microwave technologies for backhaul to extend an operator’s existing macro network. The embedded LTE core network for Evolved Packet Core functions eliminates the need for additional equipment when establishing a closed mobile broadband network.
It has an output power of 5W and comes with EPC and IMS fully integrated for broadband rich multimedia services. It weighs 5kg and works with any kind of backhaul. It can support 400 active users and transmit up to 75km.
It requires a power supply of about 100W and can be easily powered by a car-based inverter or small portable generator. It will last for two to three hours on a battery, but additional battery packs will extend its life.
Athonet demonstrates live 4G video group broadcast from a portable unit
Italy’s Athonet showcased a full mobile 4G LTE network capable of supporting eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services) – also known as LTE Broadcast. The portable unit weighs just 12kg and it can operate for six hours with two batteries, transmitting for a range of 2km supporting up to 400 simultaneous users.
The unit comprises of an eNodeB (the LTE radio), EPC (Evolved Packet Core), MBMS Gateway (MBMS-GW) and Broadcast Multicast Service Centre (BMSC). Karim El Malki, CEO of Athonet, said: ‘We think this solution will be quite revolutionary. The objective of this demonstration is to show what can be done now using open source, off the shelf solutions including smartphones.
‘What we have done is integrate our LTE base station with an MBMS gateway and a video orchestration capability. We’ve also tried to make our MBMS gateway very flexible and able to interact with other applications.’
He explained that the demonstration at CCW involves using an LTE base station streaming live video from a camera orchestrated by the mobile server. The really smart aspect of the set-up is the fact that users can still access push to talk (PTT) for voice over the same radio channel being used to stream the live video – an example of the solution’s ability to support multiple applications.
‘The operator can decide which users see which video streams and because it is using very little spectrum you can run a lot of different video streams, which users can access using a smartphone,’ said El Malki.
‘It can run as a standalone, independent network, or off a big mobile network operator’s core and infrastructure,’ explained El Malki. ‘You could mount it on a truck and move into an area with no coverage to extend an MNO’s macro network or use it for an ad hoc network at local level and backhaul it by satellite, for example; or just use it to provide a local network backhaul capability.
‘What we are showing here is a full core network with eMBMS running over a rugged server,’ he continued. ‘We can provide eMBMS services now, which no one else can do. It’s the first time anyone has put this capability into such a small package. You could connect to drones with cameras and provide everyone on the ground with the ability to see the same channel.’
El Malki described the solution as providing a next generation collaborative concept for emergency services response. ‘You could use it as a generic set up where everyone can share information and provide PTT services for people on the ground.’
He added that as far as PTT video broadcasting is concerned, Athonet believes it is ahead of the game. This is quite true in so far as the specifications for both mission critical video and mission critical data are still being worked on by 3GPP and its SA6 Working Group. The aim is to get the specifications into Release 14, which is due for completion in 2017.
Both civil contingency organisations and the military are interested in Athonet’s video streaming and multi-broadcast solutions, El Malki revealed. Up until recently, LTE solutions in the field have run into capacity and coverage problems. A 10Mb channel easily becomes fully loaded if you have to use unicast video (individual connections to each device).
‘You could still prioritise transmissions to key people before,’ concedes Karim, ‘but to do that you have to send it via the server. The key difference with our solution is its ability to orchestrate the transmissions at the mobile base station.’
Cobham unveils public safety idDAS
Cobham Wireless announced that its cellular digital DAS (Distributed Antenna System) solution idDAS is being made available for public safety communications. The public safety enhancement to idDAS unveiled at CCW will be made available worldwide in Q4 2016.
By deploying idDAS this will increase the dynamism of first responder systems and enable significant cost-savings for facilities managers already investing in signal enhancement solutions, the company claimed.
idDAS has already been used in prestigious large-scale cellular projects to provide dynamic capacity across areas with sporadic yet high-capacity cellular demands, such as event spaces and multi-use venues.
The ability to share capacity with nearby facilities as and when it is required means facilities managers and owners can significantly lower the OPEX costs associated with coverage enhancement systems.
In addition, this next generation DAS system will support both legacy public safety services and LTE services, offering the opportunity to provide wide bandwidth services to first responders.
Expanding this usage to public safety provides further cost-savings and opens up the possibility of reserving high-capacity bandwidth for emergency service use. These frequencies can then be used for next generation public safety applications such as facial recognition technology, video and data transfer and advanced site mapping.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica showcases Perseus and Puma solutions
The Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES) critical communications portfolio is built around its PERSEUS CSP (Communications Service Platform) infrastructure platform. PERSEUS CSP provides personal mobile radios and multimedia capabilities independently of the technology used and is able to integrate legacy networks with new-generation ones such as 4G LTE.
The company also presented its new PUMA T4 TETRA/LTE dual mode handheld terminal. The PUMA T4 combines TETRA security features with new applications made possible by the use of broadband LTE networks and an Android-based software platform.
Also on show were the company’s family of terminals including the MR4000. The system supports TETRA and TEDS (TETRA Enhanced Data Service) wideband data services and LTE data routing capability in addition to Wi-Fi access point features, allowing for the provision of short-range, around-vehicle connections with dismounted officers.
Tait demonstrates UnifyVehicle comms solution
Tait UnifyVoice integrates push-to-talk applications over broadband 4G LTE cellular technology (and Wi-Fi) with Tait narrowband PMR systems. The solution enables radio users to extend coverage outside of PMR range, and allows those without radios to communicate with PMR users.
The company has now extended the solution to vehicles with UnifyVehicle. This combines Tait mobile radios with the UnifyVehicle platform. The operating system uses Linux (OpenEmbedded) and connects with Wi-Fi 802.11g, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and Ethernet. The solution is available on the Tait TM9400 and TM9300 mobile radios and is coming to the TM9100 and TM8200 models.
‘It is not a radio, it’s a mobile computer platform,’ explained Jamie Bishop, EMEA marketing manager. ‘It has the processing power to run apps and enable wireless connectivity of all types, as well as providing a router capability between different bearers. It provides an in-vehicle IP platform so it can connect VoIP calls to DMR radios, or connect a tablet via Wi-Fi, or it could be wired too.
‘You can have an app on a Wi-Fi enabled device connected to the router and send data on elsewhere,’ he continued. ‘It can also record calls, so if you miss one you can access a playback service in the field. The same service could be linked to a function key on a traditional radio to repeat a missed call too,’ said Bishop.
Data such as maps and plans can be stored in the router’s memory (which can be augmented with a Micro SD Card) and transferred to users in the field with a tablet. The Bluetooth and BLE can be hooked up to RSID tags – to check the location of equipment on a fire tender to ensure it is in the right place, for example.
‘Now we’ve developed the hardware we will continue to develop the Linux software, so users can develop customised apps and the like.
Of course, UnifyVehicle connects into UnifyVoice, so the vehicle can roam between cellular, Wi-Fi and DMR and act as a mission control vehicle,’ said Bishop.
Motorola unveils mini-TETRA radio and integrated body-worn video solution
Motorola introduced three main product launches at the show: the ST7000 small TETRA digital radio (co-developed with Nippon Airport Services); the latest iteration of the company’s WAVE PTT voice and data services solution, designed to bridge PMR and cellular LTE systems; and a new Si500 body-worn camera integrated solution.
At CCW, the company showcased WAVE 7000, the newest and largest product in its WAVE portfolio, which is a software technology that enables optimised PTT technology across talk-centric communications in both public and private networks.
The existing WAVE 3000 product is aimed at small to large businesses (it enables Motorola’s Mototrbo DMR portfolio to communicate over broadband too), while WAVE 5000 targets medium to large businesses, public safety agencies and defence organisations. It provides PTT, rich IT integration and full LMR interoperability.
The new WAVE 7000 is the highest capacity version. It is aimed at service providers, carrier networks or organisations that have their own private LTE network.
It enables network-linked PTT and prioritisation and pre-emption across the carrier’s public network or a provider’s private LTE network. It will be used on the UK’s new Emergency Services Network (ESN), which will operate on mobile operator EE’s national 4G network and provide an interoperability link to the existing Airwave TETRA network during transition.
ST7000 TETRA Radio
The new compact ST7000 TETRA hand portable terminal was developed following a request by Japanese airports operator NAR for a smaller radio. NAR’s Mr Sakai explained that they contacted Motorola a little over a year ago to see if it could make a smaller TETRA device for use by airport staff.
‘We had been using a bigger Motorola radio and while users liked the sound quality and performance, they wanted something smaller. This is because they were being used by NAR ground staff, who are mostly female,’ said Mr Sakai.
Katja Millard, Director of Growth & Innovation for Devices at Motorola, said: ‘Initially, the requests were for the same quality, but smaller and lighter. They wanted an elegant and smart radio. One of the problems with the older, larger radios is that the staff used to hold it out to the side, so as not to obscure their face when talking to customers.’
The result is a small, sleek radio with a four button capacitive touch and a deliberately simple interface with options for: set talk group (now a toggle switch on top, rather than the traditional knob); push to talk; and change the channel.
It supports Bluetooth accessories with a jack that enables it to be customised with other vendors’ accessories if required. It also has a USB charging jack, which makes it easier to charge up.
It was envisaged that the ST7000 can be carried on a belt and used with accessories. ‘The antenna is integrated into the devices. We did consider integrating it entirely, but customers said it must look like a work device,’ said Millard.
The terminal is IP54 certified and has an 18-hour battery capacity, while Millard describes it has having ‘one of the best speakers for its size’.
Digital Evidence Management Solution
The new body worn camera system is designed to be an end-to-end product extending to a cloud-based data storage and management solution. The Si500 is a shoulder-mounted video camera with integrated speaker mic, plus PTT and alarm buttons.
This reduces the number of accessories required and keeps things simple. The idea is that a TETRA radio is worn on the belt and connects to the shoulder-mounted video/mic via Bluetooth or a wire.
The touch zones on the body-worn camera are designed to be operated on the shoulder without having to look at it. Users get haptic feedback to let them know whether they have executed the operation properly.
Data is stored on the device in flash memory, but secured and encrypted. Once in the police station the video and voice recordings are uploaded to a secure cloud storage – the CommandCentral Vault.