Harris today announced its entrance into the digital mobile radio (DMR) arena with the introduction of Momentum, the company’s new platform that is designed to provide private radio operators with a lower-cost option to technologies such as P25.

A standard that was approved first in Europe, DMR has gained significant traction in the United States, and one industry analyst report estimates that the market for the technology will continue to grow by 36% annually through 2015, according to Harris spokesman Steve Frackleton.

“It’s a growing market, and our dealer network has asked us to provide product,” Frackleton said. “We agreed.”

The Momentum portfolio — available immediately — includes DMR portables, mobiles and repeaters for conventional UHF and VHF operations, but Harris plans to expand the offering to include 800 MHz trunked solutions during the second half of the year, Frackleton said.

Momentum solutions cost significantly less than P25 systems, but they are very robust and comply with the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate that UHF and VHF operators are required to meet by the end of the year, making it a potentially attractive option for myriad enterprises, Frackleton said. While Harris would recommend P25 to metro-area public-safety agencies, smaller first-responder organizations and other government enterprises not needing features such as over-the-air rekeying and AES encryption may find Momentum to be an appropriate alternative.

“Different localities that don’t have that as a specific requirement I think will be pleasantly surprised at the capability available from a Momentum system,” he said. “They’re digital radios. They’re 6.25 [kHz]-equivalent efficiency. There are capabilities in terms of integrated GPS for AVL fleet-management types of applications.”

Jim Foley, CEO of Tactical Public Safety — a New Jersey-based radio systems integrator and network-solutions provider for Harris — said his company has been pleased with its early internal deployment of the Momentum solution.

“It’s been awesome,” Foley said. “It’s very easy to work with. It makes deployment very easy for an enterprise solution. We’re very excited about the advanced feature sets that it has, and it gives the customers a lot of flexibility without having to buy solutions that are much more cumbersome and expensive.

“We’re excited about the prospect of being able to get back into the medium- and higher-end enterprise solution and have something we can offer and be competitive.”