Kenwood has announced that it will be introducing both dPMR and DMR two-way radio products in 2013, alongside its Nexedge digital radio technology. The move marks a major change in strategy for the company.
Beyond Nexedge - which remains at the forefront of Kenwood's digital strategy having recently achieved a market penetration of in excess of 500,000 units since its launch in 2008 - the company announced the introduction of ETSI compliant, dPMR products scheduled for Spring 2013, and will mark its entry into TDMA in Europe with DMR products during the latter part of next year.
The announcement was made during the PMR Expo in Cologne last month (November) at an exclusive briefing, dinner and awards event attended by 140 of Kenwood’s top distributors, dealers and solutions developers from EMEA.
Manabu Aoki, director, JVC Kenwood Professional Systems, Europe and Mike Atkins, managing director of Kenwood European HQ, Communications Division, announced that the brand would significantly extend its footprint in the industry through entry into additional digital technologies and protocols.
Atkins hinted at a comprehensive review of Kenwood's approach to participation in other existing and emerging digital platforms by stating: ‘We have a dynamic ongoing programme of developments for Nexedge, we will have ETSI compliant Nexedge dPMR, ATEX certified Nexedge and finally a new range of DMR equipment; all in the space of the next 12 months. We are also actively evaluating other platforms and protocols for possible product development - in essence, if there is sustainable customer demand and the technology delivers the optimum solution, we'll be involved.’
At a moderated panel session, Atkins, along with S. Niina, general manager and Jens Toobe, systems sales manager, also revealed the schedule for further development of the Kenwood’s Nexedge digital system. This will start with the introduction of a new mid-tier mobile radio, the NX-720/820, which will also be available with GPS option for lone-worker and workers-at-risk applications.
Deliveries of the NX-720/820 are imminent while other Nexedge developments for 2013 include the roll-out of the Kenwood Solutions Developer Programme with some 17 developers already signed, an ATEX certified hand portable radio by Summer 2013 along with a series of firmware upgrades such as the enabling of composite control channel functionality and increasing the capacity of fully roamed Nexedge sites.
The PMR Expo event also included the inaugural presentation of the Nexedge Innovation Award for EMEA 2012, judged by Kenwood Communications Division sales and technical staff from across the region to the following winners:
• Benelux - EES Mobiele Communicatie of Rotterdam, with the support of Kenwood distributor, Koning & Hartman
• France - Ouest Communication Mobile
• Germany - Schmidt Funktechnik
• United Kingdom - Northwest Radio Communications
• UK Export - Sectron Security & Communications Systems of Sofia, Bulgaria
The evening was rounded off by the presentation of a traditional Bulgarian bronze statue to Mike Atkins by Georgi Videnov of Sectron to mark the 20th year of close association between Sectron and Kenwood.