Motorola Solutions EVP Molloy highlights company’s video, data offerings, as well as CBRS promise
Motorola Solutions built its reputation delivering LMR voice communications, but the company is using video and software solutions today to “solve a different level of problems” while exploring the 3.5 GHz CBRS band as a platform to provide a new kind of push-to-talk offering with robust data, according to a company executive.
“I would say, without question … that these are historic times for us,” Jack Molloy, Motorola Solutions executive vice president of products and sales said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications conducted at the recent IACP 2019 event in Chicago.
“I think about when I was knocking on doors and selling this technology, what we had to sell—to government or to enterprise—was voice. I think if you look at some of the investments we’ve made organically and some of the acquisitions we’ve made—namely Avigilon Technologies, and most recently in July, we acquired WatchGuard [two video-solutions companies]—we’ve squarely put ourselves into [a position to ask,] ‘How do we solve a different level of problems?’”
By combining the new video assets with a software-based record-management system and analytics tools, Motorola Solutions is able to provide public-safety customer with situational awareness that goes well beyond voice communications, Molloy said.
“We’re putting investigative tools into the hands of our customers that are truly proactive,” he said. “To me, on the public-safety side, that’s probably the most exciting thing.”
Transitions also are happening in the enterprise arena, where most communications discussions once revolved around analog LMR voice offerings and little else, Malloy said. Today, Motorola Solutions is having much more nuanced conversations with enterprises that involves integrated data and video capabilities, on top of voice, he said.
With this in mind, Molloy expressed excitement about the company’s MOTOTRBO Nitro solution that provides Kodiak LTE push-to-talk communications and broadband data via a private network that leverages 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum that the FCC recently made available.
Molloy acknowledged that MOTOTRBO Nitro is still in its very early days, with several trial systems being deployed. But the initial feedback has been encouraging, he said.
“We’re really excited, because it enables us to solve and really go after a market that we weren’t going after before,” Molloy said. “When you look at it, this was a customer who was basically using a provider of Wi-Fi. Now, basically, they have thrown them out and basically said, ‘With a radio infrastructure, we can do more. We can enhance data on top of voice, because we think voice is foundational,’ so it provides a different set of opportunities for us.”
A key advantage of CBRS systems compared to Wi-Fi is that CBRS allows the network operator much greater control of quality of service and security, whereas Wi-Fi typically is limited to best-effort performance, Molloy said.
“It [CBRS] brings all of the inherent security, priority and preemption capabilities that one would come to expect from Motorola—either enterprise, critical or a public-safety system,” Molloy said.”
Leveraging CBRS with MOTOTRBO Nitro also provides a way for Motorola Solutions to address the needs of enterprises that recently are migrating from LMR solutions to lower-cost communications systems that support data and text, Molloy said, citing maid services in hotels as an example.
“Within a hotel, they may have even done a bring-your-own-device [BYOD] to work—maybe they were doing stuff on a smartphone or maybe they gave them a low-end, less-than-smartphone type application, like dummy terminal—to say, ‘Go to Room 123. Somebody threw up there.’” Molloy said.
“Now, what do we do? As we always do, we’ll build a portfolio of devices. You have a CBRS solution in a hotel. Security needs to talk—probably the preeminent solution they need is voice. For someone like a maid, there is data capability. You can do it all on one network—one investment, one set of architecture.
“We think that, if over the years, we may have lost some of that maid service, some of the people at a loading dock, per se, we’ve got an opportunity to bring them back and port them back to the architecture. We actually have an opportunity to sell them a device, which is one of the reasons why we said, “This makes a lot of sense for us to invest in CBRS.’”
Molloy repeatedly emphasized the importance of Motorola Solutions’ purchase of Kodiak, which provides a popular carrier-integrated broadband push-to-talk solution, and clarified the role of the technology within Motorola Solutions, which previously had acquired WAVE push-to-talk technology via its purchase of Twisted Pair.
“We’re not going to have two different [PTT platforms]. It would be inefficient, to say the least,” Molloy said. “Here’s the funny thing: We were doing our own solution in house. Kodiak was doing a lot better. We acquired Kodiak. We like the platform. In fact, it’s probably the best software, from a software-architecture perspective—it’s quite elegant, and they have a really good development team.
“You’ll hear the term WAVE, but it’s really a brand. Ultimately, it’s all built on what we’ve acquired from Kodiak. We’re doing it in the most synergistic way and the most focused way, and we’re delivering—layer upon layer—new features in Kodiak, as well.”