Motorola this week will announce the commercial availability of Connect Plus, the latest version of its popular MOTOTRBO platform that will provide multiple-site trunking capabilities primarily to enterprise customers.

Last year, Motorola announced Capacity Plus, which enabled single-site trunking on the MOTOTRBO platform. With Connect Plus, that trunking capability can be expanded to as many as six sites immediately, and Motorola plans to increase the number of sites in systems in the future, said Paul Cizek, Motorola’s director of professional and commercial radio in North America.

“We’re now expanding into wide-area trunking, where Capacity Plus was single-site [trunking],” Cizek said. “This is taking us into the dimension of wide-area, multiple-site, digital trunking — and we’re not just talking about additional sites, but more talk paths and feature capabilities.”

Connect Plus uses dynamic-site-assignment technology “to optimize the channel utilization where we only require talk paths where people or groups are actually registered, as opposed to always lighting up a channel at every site for every call,” Cizek said. In addition, GPS tracking and text messaging capabilities are included in Connect Plus systems.

Current MOTOTRBO operators will be able to leverage their existing investments to upgrade to Connect Plus, which requires only one new piece of hardware, Cizek said.

“If you have MOTOTRBO here today — mobile, portables and a repeater — all of those elements are software upgradable to Connect Plus, so there’s not a hardware requirement to change those elements,” he said. “The one component that we do add to the system in this tier is an XRC 9000 site controller. So there is a new element that would be added at the site, which would then connect with IP to the repeaters.”

By having a controller — listed at $40,000 to $44,000 retail — at each site, Connect Plus systems have the ability to continue working even if one site on the network is damaged, Cizek said. Connect Plus systems for UHF and VHF bands are shipping today, while 800 MHz and 900 MHz systems are scheduled to ship during the next couple of months, he said.

Since MOTOTRBO’s introduction in 2007, the popular LMR system has been adopted into every vertical market that Motorola serves, with the system being particularly popular in the education, manufacturing and public-administration sectors, Cizek said. Utilities, petrochemical and transportation enterprises are expected to be among those with the highest interest in the Connect Plus solution, he said.