Sepura unveiled its next generation TETRA SC2020 hand-portable at Critical Communications World Congress (CCW) in Barcelona. The revolutionary hand-portable is the first product to be built on Sepura’s future-proof next generation platform.
The SC2020 is the first of its kind, combining TETRA’s mission critical advanced performance with an optional second high speed data bearer: it is the first TETRA hand-portable which can claim to be LTE data ready, according to the company. It features smarter menus, more intuitive operation and outstanding performance, even in the toughest environments and conditions.
Mark Barnby, senior product manager for Sepura, said: 'The SC2020 is designed to meet the toughest communication challenges, now and in the future. It combines a high-speed data bearer capability with TETRA’s proven mission critical secure voice and data capabilities. Not only it is the most powerful and also the most sensitive TETRA engine we have ever designed, it can also uniquely exploit a high speed data network, such as Wi-Fi or LTE.'
Barnby told Wireless: ‘The first thing to say is this is not just a new radio; it is also our first device on our new technology platform, which has been five years in the making – everything about it is new. The SC2020 is a hybrid device. Why a hybrid? Because mission critical LTE is not ready yet.
‘There is a lot of hype around broadband bearer technology at the moment, which would be great if LTE was mission critical already but it is not. Any solution now is proprietary. The 3GPP open standard release 14 will be mission critical, but the standard is not yet complete and the time table means devices won’t be available until around 2023 or 2025 at the very earliest.
‘If you purchase an LTE solution now, you run the risk of expensive vendor lock in,’ argued Barnby He continued: ‘The SC2020 is designed to be broadband data and LTE data ready. But it is not voice over LTE (VoLTE) ready. We will look to incorporate VoLTE if there is market demand and only when it is standardised.’
End users are keen to use the every-widening range of applications digital technology brings. Barnby said: ‘People want to add more value and get more out of their existing investment. The SC2020 has an embedded Linux system, so we can build in advanced features and integrate apps on the radio bringing backend intelligence into the hands of the user.
The SC2020 has the most powerful TETRA engine Sepura has ever designed at 2.7W and comes with the most sensitive receiver it has ever developed, several dBs beyond the ETSI specification.
‘What that means is that if you are in an area with patchy network coverage, you are more likely to achieve communication using the SC2020,’ explained Barnby. ‘We’ve also increased the audio capability so it is both louder and clearer at 2W and it has a much flatter frequency response using our enhanced fidelity (EN-FI) technology, so in a very loud ambient noise environments the message is far more likely to be heard.’
If typical radios are used in very heavy rain the mic ports and speaker can rapidly become muffled. Sepura has developed water-porting technology that sheds water in torrential rain ensuring the audio does not get muffled and critical communications gets through.
Resilience and durability
The SC2020 has an IP67 environmental protection rating, which means it is completely dustproof and submersible in water and is capable of being simply rinsed under the tap to clean it, which makes it ideal for use in construction or mining industries.
The SC2020’s 2.4-inch high resolution screen, the largest on the market today, is specifically designed to provide a richer user experience. The larger screen enables a much richer user experience for easier applications usage; it is also viewable in all light conditions, including direct sunlight.
At CCW, Sepura had a prototype of a broadband model on show. It has designed a modular approach enabling a broadband unit to be slotted inside the radio. Barnby explained that another reason for the modular approach is that it will make it easy to cope with the wide variety of different LTE bands around the world, as what’s viable in one region might not be in another.
He added: ‘We will be steered by the market to see what is really wanted. We have demonstrated a lot of different possible capabilities.’ What is on the road map is a Wi-Fi capability that will come with the second release of software in 2016.
Barnby concluded: ‘The SC2020 is more than a radio. Its powerful combination of impressive functionality and wealth of performance enhancing features, combined with Sepura’s market leading accessories, make it the solid choice today, and also in the future. The SC2020 is the most advanced product Sepura has ever brought to market.’