Urgent Matters

Recent events underscore significant market impact of LMR-LTE convergence

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Many of the key trends that were displayed and discussed during IWCE 2017 promise to have a significant impact on the critical-communications industry throughout the rest of the year and into the long-term future.

PoC has existed for decades and has been discussed as a fringe offering that frankly was dismissed by many LMR proponents. But at IWCE 2017, users and vendors seemed to acknowledge that PoC will be a significant contributor to enterprises’ overall communications strategy. There were plenty of debates about how much PoC should be used—for example, whether LMR replacement is appropriate—but there was little doubt that PoC is playing a significant role and will continue to do so.

This conclusion was not just something that was limited to conference sessions exploring theoretical possibilities; it was manifested by tangible actions throughout the industry.

LMR giant Motorola Solutions highlighted its latest PoC solution—WAVE OnCloud—at both its dealer meeting and throughout the IWCE 2017 show. Last week, Motorola Solutions announced an agreement to buy Kodiak, which boasts the most successful carrier-integrated POC platform on the market.

JVCKENWOOD, another LMR stalwart, announced a $10 million investment in Sonim Technologies—a maker of hardened LTE devices with a dedicated push-to-talk button—as rumors swirled that other LMR companies were contemplating similar moves with Sonim or other LTE device manufacturers.

In addition, LMR vendor Hytera displayed a prototype for a DMR/LTE hybrid radio in its booth, and multiple LMR and 911 vendors demonstrated that their offerings were interoperable with myriad PoC solutions.

Dave George, president of accessory manufacturer Pryme, said he is seeing PoC solutions have a significant impact on his business. Pryme has been known for years for its speaker microphones, headsets and push-to-talk buttons that enable easily accessible use of LMR functions, but providing similar solutions to PoC providers has given his company new opportunities.

In fact, accessories for PoC solutions represented less than 1% of Pryme’s sales prior to 2016, but more than 10% of the company’s sales during 2016 were associated with PoC use—and that is trend that is continuing during 2017, according to George.

Amid this move toward convergence has been recognition between disparate communities about the expertise of others, which is helping to create exciting alliances that promise to benefit all types of customers in the future.

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Insights from Donny Jackson concerning the most important news, trends and issues.

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Donny Jackson

Donny Jackson is editor of Urgent Communications magazine. Before joining UC in 2002, he covered telecommunications for four years as a freelance writer and as news editor for Telephony magazine....
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