Tait demonstrates unified-communications capability
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Tait Communications is demonstrating its Total Connect unified-communications solution, which lets public-safety personnel automatically access the best network — from private 4G LTE systems, commercial networks and narrowband LMR systems — for their communications needs at a given time and location.
Total Connect’s capabilities will be on display this week at the Tait Comunications booth (#345) at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference, according to Brian Kirkham, vice president of marketing for Tait Communications.
“When you’re talking to public-safety agencies, they really just want to get their job done and be able to do it well,” Kirkham said. “They should be able to get the critical information they need — whether that be voice or data — and they should be able to do it off of any device and across any type of network.
“So, we’re moving toward this idea of, ‘How do you worry more about the data you need and when you need and worry less about the infrastructure, the carrier and the device? Why can’t you say, ‘I’m just stepping out of my squad car with my iPad, but I still need to get a dispatch, and my best signal around is P25 or — in some cases — it’s 3G.’”
With Tait Total Connect — a box that functions like a router and a “decision-maker” to the best network, based on signal strength and throughput needs—this scenario can become reality, according to Kirkham.
“It decides what I need and what’s available,” he said. “Maybe I’m inside my private LTE network and I’m fully open and broadband-ready, so I can take anything. But now, if I go behind a couple of skyscrapers, and the LTE connection is dropped, I flip over to 3G or — if [the 3G signal] is not strong — flip over to LMR.
“Meanwhile, I’ll hold in the network all of the data and cache all of the information that were going to be transmitted via broadband. When I’m back in a [broadband] coverage area, it starts to send that [cached data] to me.”
Currently, Total Connect is being trialed as an in-vehicle solution, providing a vehicle-area network that allows first responders to maintain broadband connectivity while within approximate of range of their vehicles — a capability being tested by the New Zealand police’s forensic team, according to Kirkham. However, Tait Communications eventually hopes to develop a smaller form factor of Tait Connect that can provide first responders with the same functionality, regardless of their location.
“What we’re working on is a personal-area network … [to] take that connectivity box that’s in the car and make small enough that it mounts on my hip,” Kirkham said. “Then, I can pick up any device — whether it be a PDA, an iPad or a P25 portable — and I’m just connected, because I’m a walking network.”
Also during the APCO show, Tait Communications will demonstrate its P25 Phase 2 TDMA system operating over 6.25 kHz channels, Kirkham said. In addition, the company will be participating in a demonstration of open standards and interoperability
“You really can pick best of breed,” Kirkham said. ‘You can say, ‘I really like Tait’s base stations, but I really like Motorola’s high-end portables, and I really like Avtec’s consoles’ — you should be able to put together that system.
“We’re demonstrating live what’s very possible, if people would just think about it. We’re having a Tait P25 base stations running, and we’ve collected five or six different vendors transmitting over it … They’re communicating freely, and it’s not magical; it’s just the adoption of open standards.”