Reporter’s notebook – November 13, 2008
Raytheon unveiled a spread-spectrum radio that provides coverage without infrastructure such as base stations or repeaters, company CTO Leland Langston said. The radio recognizes and connects to identical devices within range to form a mobile ad hoc network, Langston said, making it ideal for use by officers patrolling on bicycles or motorized scooters. During this week’s International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference in San Diego, the company demonstrated the radio, which was connected to a small mobile computer and surveillance camera mounted on a Segway. According to Langston, the radio transmits video at a rate of 250 kb/s. “It’s not HDTV, but it’s pretty good video,” he said. The radio also features a GPS receiver and transmits the location of the user every second, which aids situational awareness, Langston said …
Shotspotter debuted version 6.2 of its gunshot-location solution. The update lets dispatchers easily extract data—including when the shots were fired, the number of shots fired, the sequence of the shots, the number of shooters and the direction of the shots fired—that the solution collects. Having such information at their fingertips will improve situational awareness and help dispatchers make better decisions in terms of the personnel and resources they send to an event, said Greg Rowland, Shotspotter’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. It also lets dispatchers share key information that will give first responders a better idea about the situation they’re encountering. “This is about giving them as much data as possible to keep them safer,” Rowland said …
EF Johnson Technologies introduced the Lightning control head for its 5300 ES series of Project 25-compliant mobile radios. The device features a large, brightly illuminated and clear display similar to that found in the cockpits of military aircraft, said company spokesman Kevin Nolan. Users can choose between three levels of brightness. Other features include a navigation pad that lets users toggle between eight levels of function screens, each of which contains five options.
The FCC has type accepted Pyramid’s SVR-P250 vehicular repeater. The device is compliant with the Project 25 Phase 1 common-air-interface protocol, and is backwards-compatible to operate with legacy analog radios, said Bill Carlin, the company’s owner. The device provides secure communications by utilizing AES and DES encryption and is PC programmable for up to 20 channels, with P25, wideband/narrowband, CTCSS/DCS and emergency signaling on a per-channel basis.
AT&T Mobility will launch a satellite service next year in partnership with Terrastar. The service will operate on AT&T’s 3G network. The service will cover the U.S. and Canada and extend to 150 miles offshore. Terrastar plans to launch its satellite in June of next year, with service expected to begin in the fall. The satellite weighs 17,000 pounds and has a 60-foot main reflector disk. “This is a really big satellite,” said Terrastar’s David Primmer. A satellite that large enables small form factor devices to receive the signal. In fact, AT&T plans to provide the service first to PDAs, with full voice and data functionality. Devices will roam onto the satellite network should the terrestrial network become unavailable. The transition won’t be seamless; users will have to reinitiate the call after the terrestrial signal is lost. “We’re excited about adding increased reliability and capabilities for our customers,” said AT&T’s Jeff Carl.
Cisco Systems debuted a high-definition video-surveillance camera. A key feature is that personnel viewing feeds from the camera can change the direction in which the camera is pointed and zoom through a series of mouse clicks, eliminating the need for the slower pan/tilt/zoom function. (However, pan/tilt/zoom will be utilized for feeds viewed on iPhones.) Also, Cisco is working with gunshot-location solution vendor Shotspotter and middleware provide Augusta Systems to automatically pan/tilt/zoom the camera in the direction of gunfire, according to Morgan Wright, Cisco’s global industry solutions manager for public safety and homeland security. “This brings intelligence to the cameras,” Wright said. “Many times, when you have shots fired, someone is fleeing. The camera will capture that and detectives will be able to go back and replay that.”