IWCE: JPS, Clarity partner on radio-cellular interoperability
LAS VEGAS–Raytheon JPS Communications is demonstrating at IWCE 2008 this week, in collaboration with Clarity Communications Systems, a solution that leverages the company’s ACU-2000 IP gateway device to deliver interoperable communications between land mobile radios and cellular handsets.
In January, Clarity introduced the software-based, push-to-talk (P2T) inTouch solution can be used on any cell phone with Qualcomm’s BREW application programming interface, version 3.1 or later.
The solution lets any radio connected to the backplane of the ACU-2000 IP gateway receive a cellular P2T transmission, said Roman Kaluta, JPS’ director on interoperability solutions. “We can have multiple radios connected to that … regardless of radio type,” Kaluta said. “Plus we can bring in other radio over IP connections. So, anything that’s on the ACU, we can bring to that connection when they initiate it.”
Kaluta said that the capability puts into play “hundreds of thousands” of cellular handsets that could be leveraged in an emergency, and added that security won’t be a problem.
“This can be done securely,” Kaluta said. “There is control. There are properties and protocols within their server that determines who gets to talk to who.”
The capability is ideal for city officials who would need to quickly be brought into the loop when a major event occurs, said Bill Jenkins, Clarity’s vice president of strategy and product development.
“This expands the communications circle much more broadly, to other echelons of the organization—people who it doesn’t make sense for them to carry a radio, or it’s took costly,” Jenkins said.
Kaluta said the capability also would be ideal for search-and-rescue operations. “Say you have a lost child, and you have people out there with cell phones that can connect with public safety radios. … It’s another tool in the toolbox,” he said.
In other news, JPS also is demonstrating an emergency alert capability in partnership with Invizeon. The capability leverages JPS’ ACU gateway and Invizeon’s Chain software-based emergency alert application to let organizations deliver text and voice messages to radios, cellular handsets, PDAs and pagers.
Lynn Churchill, Invizeon’s chief technology officer, called the capability the “missing piece” of the emergency response puzzle.
“JPS has a done a good job with interoperability, and we can contact the radios of all first responders—police, fire, EMT, etc.,” Churchill said. “What’s been missing, if you look at the overall response team—pulling in volunteers, pulling in supplies, all of the things that are necessary for a large response effort—most of the people don’t have radios. They have cellphones, PDAs and pagers—all kinds of other communications devices.”
Now, support organizations, such as the American Red Cross, and government officials at the city, county and state levels, can receive alerts at the same time that the first responder community receives them. “Anyone who needs to know,” Churchill said. “It’s not just the first responder. It’s all the different agencies and offices that need to be engaged in order to respond to a situation.”
Chain is a managed, hosted service that lets organizations create pre-defined response plans tailored to specific events, Churchill said. “On a by-situation basis, we can give each department either permission, or not, as to what channels they can actually talk to,” he said. “The intent here is to build response plans that are permission-driven.”