Airbus U.S. launches Tactilon Agnet MCPTT/MCX offering for North America
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense Inc. is offering its Tactilon Agnet platform—built on 3GPP standards for mission-critical-push-to-talk (MCPTT) and other mission-critical (MCX) services—to U.S. and Canadian customers.
Herve Dussart, director of secure land communications at Airbus U.S Space & Defense, said that some vendors leverage technical standards at the core of solutions but then stray from the standard, but Airbus does not take that approach.
“If you’ve followed Airbus, then you know that on P25 and TETRA, we always contributed and comply with the standard,” Dussart said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We always want to be open and compliant with the standard to bring flexibility and future-proof solutions to customers. We don’t want to have a proprietary standard—having some standard [in a solution], but … It is always the ‘but’ that is a problem, because it creates vendor locking. We want customers to benefit from an open ecosystem.”
Already widely deployed in Europe, Asia, and in Mexico, Tactilon Agnet is now available to U.S. customers, both as a cloud-based service or as an on-premises offering with the promise of integrations with both legacy radio systems and modern digital applications, Dussart said.
“We have the P25 [integration] that is in progress and will be ready soon,” Dussart said, noting that company plans to have this P25 integration in place later this year. “We have full TETRA infrastructure integrated. We also have DMR and mapping.
“We are working with the big vendor—Google Maps—for customers with more limited budgets. Some cities don’t necessarily have the funds to fully integrate their dedicated map solution, so we can use that [Google Maps] in those scenarios. We also have technology to integrate a full mapping solution that is dedicated for a city, a county, or a state. We have multiple solutions, and the customer will pick the solution that best fits the budget and need.”
Cloud-based Tactilon Agnet is hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform, and the Airbus agreement with Azure is designed to ensure that the Airbus solution for mission-critical push-to-talk communication (MCPTT) meets the strict mission-critical requirements associated with MCX services, which also include MCData and MCVideo, Dussart said.
“This product is really mission-critical grade,” Dussart said. “We’ve tested it in real conditions and to make sure that it fits every recommendation and mission critical requirement. I don’t believe that someone can come back to us and say, ‘You are not meeting some minimum requirement.’ That’s not going to happen.”
Airbus has conducted a demonstration for a North American customer that supported control of a drone flying over Helsinki, Finland, as well as voice communications, and the users experienced “no latency” during the test, Dussart said.
Airbus hopes to simplify the decisions that agencies have to make about integrating or transitioning to MCPTT, MCData and MCVideo, according to Dussart.
“We wanted to create a turnkey solution,” he said. “If you want to have a cloud-based solution, once we have a contract, we can have you up and running the next day. Everything is available immediately. The client is available through the Google and Apple Stores. You can connect through a tablet, Android phone, iPhone or iPad. We also have a solution that is browser-based, for a dispatch position. We can have a dispatch to a browser that is running on any platform—Mac, PC, Windows.
“We are working with partners to bring a complete proven ecosystem to the market to make it easy to get to the market, to please the customer and to ensure an easy transition for the customer. We want to avoid having a customer spend months and months trying to figure out what is going to work for them.”
Airbus has been relatively quiet in the North American critical-communications market during the past three years after the sale of Airbus DS Communications to Motorola Solutions that was announced in July 2017 and completed in March 2018.
Airbus is now bringing to the North American critical-communications market its broadband portfolio, beginning with the Tactilon Agnet announcement, according to Dussart.
“We wanted to come back with the right product, which we were working on—a 3GPP-based MCX solution,” he said.