Motorola Solutions today announced its purchase of Twisted Pair, the Seattle-based company that enables voice interoperability across multiple technology platforms, including LMR and LTE. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Motorola Solutions evaluated several providers of over-the-top voice solutions for LTE before choosing Twisted Pair, said Bob Schassler, Motorola Solutions’ senior vice president of government solutions, who added that many of the over-the-top solutions were not reliable and were designed only for consumer-grade performance. However, after 10 years of research and development, the Twisted Pair WAVE product is used by federal agencies and is a “higher-tier type” of push-to-talk solution, he said.

“We always do an evaluation: Do we just develop this ourselves, which we could have done and spent [research-and-development funds] in doing that,” Schassler said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “But it takes a while to develop all of the features, functionality and reliability. We looked at it and felt it was a better business decision to do this acquisition with [Twisted Pair].”

Despite the robust nature of the Twisted Pair solution, it falls short of being a solution for mission-critical use, according to Schassler.

“We don’t want people to get confused,” he said. “We’re working on it, so it is reliable and there’s some security on it, but not to the level of mission-critical [voice] … That’s not what it’s designed for.”

“Does it create some interoperability in that public-safety network? Yes. But it does not have the same level as mission-critical voice, in terms of reliability, audio fidelity and audio quality. … We don’t want customers to feel like we’ve developed it for that purpose, because they’re not going to be happy with the product.”

The purchase comes just a couple of months after Motorola announced MotoTRBO Anywhere, a push-to-talk solution that enables voice interoperability to MotoTRBO systems from commercial cellular devices. Motorola Solutions also provides the push-to-talk client for Verizon Wireless, Schassler said.

During the next year, Motorola Solutions plans to enhance Twisted Pair's WAVE voice-interoperability platform and integrate its best features with Motorola's own push-to-talk clients, Schassler said. Meanwhile, Twisted Pair will continue to operate in its Seattle office with no workforce reductions, and the WAVE product will maintain its brand for the next year—a situation that could change after Motorola Solutions’ marketing team evaluates the best long-term plan, Schassler said.

“We’ve had a number of acquisitions; some have gone good, and some not as good as we’ve wanted, but we’ve learned a lot about how to do it the right way,” Schassler said. “We want to make sure all the employees are comfortable, so we’ll spend a lot of time making sure we integrate them into the company the right way.

“We want them to keep doing the things that they’re doing. Now that they’re part of the company, we can really dig into sharing information with them about the things we’re thinking about doing, and they’ll obviously share with us some details about future roaming plans they have.”

Talks between Twisted Pair and Motorola Solutions began more than six months ago, when Motorola Solutions officials initially proposed a partnership arrangement between the two companies, Schassler said. However, as negotiations continued, it became evident that an outright purchase would make more sense, he said.

With the purchase of Twisted Pair, Motorola Solutions is positioned well for the future migrations of private LMR and LTE networks, Schassler said.

“We really believe, from a strategic perspective, that there will be a convergence of public and private [networks],” Schassler said. “We have to have shared networks, and clearly broadband networks will be shared networks—some private and some public—and this is another step to creating more interoperability, because we want to create the ultimate interoperability environment for our customers, so they don’t have to think about what network they’re on and having all the devices really interoperate together.

“This is an important component to get us to where we need to be to create that environment for our customers.”