Motorola’s noise suppression technology shows promise
I spent some time in Motorola’s booth this week during the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference in San Diego. I was most interested in the company’s demonstration of wireless broadband applications for public safety over a 700 MHz, Long Term Evolution-based system. The demo was impressive—and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Harlin McEwen, chairman of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, which holds the license for the airwaves that would be paired with commercial spectrum to form the spectral foundation for a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders, also came away impressed. (This will become more relevant should a miracle occur and Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, which both have chosen LTE for their 4G migrations, decide to bid on the commercial spectrum when it is re-auctioned next year.)
I also took in a demo of Motorola’s APX multiband radio. The noise suppression capability was impressive. I immediately thought about the problem firefighters are having with because the vocoder used in most of them are unable to distinguish between voice and background noise in very loud environments. I asked Motorola spokesman Steve Gorecki whether the noise suppression technology engineered into the APX might be the answer to the fireground problems. He told me that the technology was developed well before the fireground problem jumped onto the radar screen, so it’s way too early to tell whether it could be adapted to solve the fireground problem, which he said is a complicated, industry-wide challenge. That said, Motorola demonstrated the technology at APCO’s conference in August using a fireground simulation and it performed well. Yes, real life is very different from a simulation. But, it seems as if Motorola might have a leg up on figuring this out.