Kenwood Communications’ APCO exhibit reflects corporate public safety strategy
At the Kenwood Communications booth at the APCO national conference in Nashville, Tenn., the company is showing a new 800 MHz Project 25 trunking and conventional public safety portable and a new model of VHF and UHF FM mobile transceiver.
The TK-5400 digital portable is expected to be available by the end of this month, said Mark Jasin, the company’s national sales manager. Jasin said that the unit is targeted at medium-to-small-size public safety agencies.
“As a mid-tier portable, the unit is the first engineered product that encompasses all of Kenwood’s features sets, including AVL, mobile data terminals and FleetSync text messaging in a small package with a remote head capability. The product will be as comfortable in a police car as it will be in a department of transportation truck. It’s a brand new platform for Kenwood that’s still designed to meet Mil specs C through F,” Jasin said.
Jasin said that the product represents Kenwood’s own technology; it isn’t licensed from any other manufacturer.
He said that the product introduction represents Kenwood investment of “a tremendous amount of resources toward our corporate strategy in public safety.”
Regarding the size of the public safety market, Jasin said that it should gauged by the development of interoperability, saying that, in that sense, the market is nationwide. He said that it is difficult to put a dollar figure on the market size, although through the homeland security initiative, the market is growing for all suppliers to public safety agencies.
“If an interoperability initiative is achieved, that would exponentially increase the market in public safety. Without it, it would remain a cherry-picked, fragmented effort where one agency uses VHF conventional, another may be using some other type of system and someone else has gone digital, and we have a patchwork quilt. The public safety market ties into homeland security with Project SafeCom to create interoperability with all agencies nationwide,” Jasin said.
Expanding on his comments about Kenwood Communications’ market direction, Jasin said that the company traditionally has participated in the business and industrial two-way radio segment. He said that the company made a corporate investment to seek out higher-end public safety opportunities, and that the Project 25 line is evidence of that.
“We expect to be fully engaged in public safety at all levels well into the future,” Jasin said. “Our primary growth will be in public safety while we remain strong and growing in the commercial sector.”
With respect to growth in the commercial sector, Jasin said that what’s important in business and industrial two-way radio products are layered features and services along with voice communications, which he said have been redefined by the variety of wireless services available to a commercial customer.
“Instead of push-to-talk voice communications, you now need to offer PTT voice and text messaging, or you may want to offer GPS capabilities within a mobile or portable system. Commercial two-way radio communications is not just simple PTT anymore,” he said.
The TK-7150/8150 VHF/UHF FM transceivers are expected to be available within a few months. The 50-series mobiles are compatible with FleetSync, Kenwood’s text messaging technology for fleet management. The transceivers offer a single-head remote option. The mobiles operate on conventional systems with dual priority scan or LTR trunking systems or a combination of both. They have an input port to integrate with mobile data equipment at speeds from of 4800 to 9600 bps.
The VHF model offers 50 W operation, and the UHF, 45 W. In conventional mode, the units offer 128-channel operation and in LTR mode, a maximum range of 32 zones X 250 talk groups. The radios have a high-resolution 12-character alphanumeric display and include six programmable function keys, each programmable for one of 24 functions.