Motorola Solutions says new UK deals coming soon on Airwave, ESN
Motorola Solutions officials believe that a deal extending United Kingdom (UK) first responders’ use of the Airwave TETRA system will be signed within two months and that the Home Office will utilize a Kodiak push-to-talk solution on the LTE-based Emergency Services Network (ESN), according to Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown.
During the Motorola Solutions quarterly earnings call yesterday, Brown said that Motorola Solutions is making “good progress” negotiating a deal to extend UK public safety’s use of the Airwave system. Three months ago, Brown said he believes the Airwave deal will be extended by at least five years beyond the end of 2019, when the ESN originally was supposed to replace Airwave as the mission-critical-voice platform for public safety.
“We still anticipate agreement by the end of the quarter,” Brown said during the conference call, which was webcast. “I think it's worth noting that we're now negotiating both Airwave and ESN agreements in tandem. And, while term and conditions are still fluid, our view and my view is unchanged—I think Airwave be in place many, many years beyond 2020.”
Brown declined to speculate on the revenues that Motorola Solutions would realize from a new Airwave agreement. One UK government report estimated that the cost to extend the Airwave deal could cost £475 million annually, but Home Office officials have said that figure also includes the expense of using the ESN simultaneously.
Brown made his remarks as the UK Home Office is expected to release a report detailing the conclusions of an investigation examining a new approach to the ESN, a project that is well behind schedule. The investigation was supposed to be finished by the end of July.
Brown did not discuss the findings of the investigation, but he did express his belief that the Home Office will use a mission-critical-push-to-talk (MCPTT) solution from Kodiak—the PTT-over-cellular (PoC) firm that Motorola Solutions purchased last year—as the LTE push-to-talk service. Motorola Solutions officials previously have stated that WAVE 7000 would be the LTE push-to-talk solution for the ESN, FirstNet and the LTE system being built by Southern Linc.
“ESN is now looking to be more like a standards-based Kodiak solution,” Brown said. “And I think, at the end of the day, the UK Home Office solution between those two will look more and more like FirstNet here in the [United] States.”
As for FirstNet, Motorola Solutions again realized “virtually zero” revenue during the second quarter from the FirstNet initiative, Brown said.
In contrast, Brown continued to express optimism about Motorola Solutions’ land-mobile-radio (LMR) sales, citing “good demand” for mission-critical voice via LMR, citing LMR growth—Motorola Solutions has built more than 13,000 LMR systems worldwide—as the top reason for the company’s strong second quarter.
Brown also said that Avigilon—the video-surveillance and video-analytics company that Motorola Solutions purchased earlier this year—already is “exceeding our expectations,” registering a second-quarter growth rate of more than 15%. This performance is especially encouraging given the fact that Avigilon sales in the quarter do not include the government customers that Motorola Solutions hopes to help the new unit gain in the future, as government procurements typically have a much longer sales cycle than enterprises.
Meanwhile, Motorola Solutions officials expressed optimism about the company’s position in the 911 and control-center arena, with Brown noting that Motorola Solutions is “building the only end-to-end public safety command center platform in the industry.”
Bruce Brda, Motorola Solutions executive vice president for products and solutions, echoed this sentiment and said that the company’s versatility in the call-center space will help it, no matter what area entities choose to address first as they upgrade their systems.
“With the footprint that we have from the assets we've either bought or built, we're in over 70% of the public safety command centers in North America,” Brda said during the earnings call. “That gives us the ability as we platform to cross-sell across applications. So, we think we're extremely well positioned.”