Harris today announced that its BeOn software application now delivers mission-critical push-to-talk (P2T) voice over 3G and LTE networks during the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference in the Philadelphia.

Previously announced as a enterprise-focused P2T application designed to run over carrier networks, BeOn now includes an integrated P25 feature set for mission-critical communications that would allow an Android smartphone user to participate in an LMR talk group.

“This is our P2T solution for mission-critical applications,” Paul May, senior product manager for LTE solutions at Harris, said during an interview. “What we’re doing here is taking a product offering and essentially making it compatible with all of our existing VIDA-based LMR installations. We also have it available for folks who don’t have our existing infrastructures. But, for folks that do have our existing infrastructure, it becomes a very easy add on to put P2T services over both 3G and LTE.”

While BeOn is designed to provide mission-critical communications, the reliability can be limited by the network used, said James Teel, director of business development for LTE at Harris. For instance, running BeOn over a capacity-constrained 3G or LTE network that lacks prioritization for public-safety traffic — a commercial carrier network, for instance — likely would not provide reliable mission-critical communications at all times, he said.

“The real value of this is when you mate BeOn with a private LTE network, which you see coming into the market. Now, the agencies deploying those private networks have that control,” Teel said during an interview. “With the quality of service and ruthless pre-emption that’s inherent in the LTE technology bound to an application like BeOn, you start to move toward true mission-critical push-to-talk services.”

In addition, the BeOn solution does not address key public-safety functionality like peer-to-peer communications, because that will depend on changes to devices, Teel said. Once the device hardware supports such communications, BeOn could be leveraged to provide talk-around voice in that environment, as well.

Demonstrated at the APCO show, the mission-critical BeOn offering is expected to be commercially available near the beginning of 2012, May said.