LAS VEGAS — EF Johnson Technologies yesterday announced its next-generation dispatch console and an information-assurance offering on the company's Project 25 systems.

EF Johnson's StarGate dispatch console features a new user interface that is designed to make operator more efficient — a change that is sorely needed in the industry, said David Lukeson, EF Johnson's director of systems.

"If you look at the dispatch-console market, it hasn't changed a lot in the last 20 years," Lukeson said during an interview with Urgent Communications.

The StarGate console leverages touch-screen technology in its execution interface, Bose speakers and an enhanced vocoder to deliver a high level of sound quality, Lukeson said. This new console is designed to enable customers to "join the digital world, in either P25 conventional or trunked," he said.

Because EF Johnson has licensed Motorola's SmartNet/SmartZone protocol, the StarGate console represents an excellent value proposition for agencies moving from the proprietary Motorola systems to a P25 architecture, Lukeson said.

"We can go to that customer and talk to them about a transparent, painless migration solution that allows them to continue to work with their existing SmartNet/SmartZone systems and migrate them — without any forklifts — to a P25 system," he said. "It is important to note that our single console … does both P25 trunked and conventional."

In addition, EF Johnson announced it will provide information assurance — a service designed to provide security and accuracy on networks — on its IP25 family of Project 25 systems, said Jim Lyon, EF Johnson's director of system engineering. The expanded role of modern systems makes such technologies increasingly important, he said.

"In the past, networks tended to be more standalone from the LMR side, but now they're asking them to do more in terms of data and things like that, so we're being required to interface into existing networks and the Internet," Lyon said during an interview with Urgent Communications.

"It's being driven real hard by the federal government, but we're also seeing more interest on the state and local side. As networks become more IP-centric, the IT guys are having more say in what networks can and cannot do."

Information assurance will be commercially available during the third quarter of this year, according to company officials.