Mutualink launches LNK360 interoperability platform
Mutualink recently announced the launch of LNK360, a revamp of its interoperability software platform that includes new features and an architecture that is designed to improve both resiliency and flexibility, according to Mutualink Chairman and CEO Mark Hatten.
“Products evolve, especially in the software world. You get to a point in the evolution of your product that you learn that it might be better to start over, in a sense, with the product than to keep adding to it,” Hatten said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.
Hatten said Mutualink officials reached that conclusion with its Edge interoperability solution a few years ago, and the development work since that time resulted in LNK360 being launched earlier this month. Although backward-compatible with peer-to-peer architecture found in the Edge offering, LNK360 leverages an “advanced architecture” to work in a variety of cloud and data-center models, he said.
“It’s all microservices. It’s something that could be deployed across multiple data centers for scalability and resiliency,” Hatten said.
“Its focus is maintaining the highest standards of security that we maintain in our platform to start but to really allow it to be more cost effective to operate, more flexible, because it can be operated in an Amazon cloud and, soon, a Microsoft cloud. It’s in the AWS market right now, and we’re looking to put it in the Microsoft market.”
This microservices-based approach allows LNK360 to be deployed in numerous ways, which also can increase reliability, according to Hatten.
“Some parts of the software can exist in one center, and another part can exist in another,” he said. “It [LNK360] has full fallover across multiple data centers, so the packets can move between multiple data centers. Think of it as the best of breed for resiliency … where Edge has a fallover to a site, LNK360 could fallover to many sites or many data centers.
“It also allows us to bring it into the private-LTE market, where we have some customers that are talking about systems that literally are disconnected from the Internet. It can completely live in that environment.”
This means that LNK360 also positions Mutualink to participate in smart-cities and other Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.
“That [IoT sensor support] is embedded in LNK360,” Hatten said. “You don’t have to go buy another platform. Just buy LNK360, add your sensors, and you’ve got it.
“We built this from the ground up with a whole new vision, it was all about that. Why keep buying different softwares for different things? Why not have a product that you can just add your sensor to, add your cameras to, and you’re done?”
But this IoT capability does not mean that Mutualink has lost focus on its core mission of enabling interoperable communications between first-responder agencies—particularly as it relates to push-to-talk communications, whether they are transmitted over LMR network or LTE systems, Hatten said.
“Public safety and security should have the freedom to connect their PTT applications and/or LMR to other PTT applications—it should not be restricted,” Hatten said. “That’s our belief. It’s not right for public safety to restrict them.
“Mutualink right now can connect multiple PTT apps from different companies and manufacturers together. We can do PTT to MCPTT. We can PTT to LMR to MCPTT. Think of it as a big mixmaster—we can mix them all up to a Mutualink session, and they’re all interoperable with each other.”