The Results Are in: Catalyst to unveil the results of Year Long Research on LMR – LTE Interworking Standards at IWCE

Conclusions from DHS S&T Funded research highlight new First Responder technology at IWCE 2019

IWCE  2019, Las Vegas NV – March 5, 2019

  • Interworking between LMR and LTE (including FirstNet™) is feasible
  • Most radio systems can be Interworked; P25 ISSI is not required
  • Interworking features vary with each radio system

These are some of the conclusions reported by Catalyst Communications Technologies after a year long study of LMR – LTE Interworking requirements and existing standards.

Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of Radio Control over IP Dispatch, Interoperability and Incident Command solutions for the mission critical / first responder community, has completed the research study they began in early 2018 to analyze how a standards based Interworking Solution could enable mission critical communications between users of Land Mobile Radio systems and users on mobile / cell phones with push to talk applications. The research was the result of an Award by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Initiative in support of a solicitation won by Catalyst in competition with other US businesses.

The need for an Interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems is substantial. As users discover applications where push to talk on a mobile phone will support essential new capabilities and be less expensive than LMR subscriber radios, this migration will need interoperability and dispatch systems that can ensure communications among First Responders and others that are using these different systems.

The Research was undertaken to determine the feasibility and the architecture of a reliable, secure and standards-based LMR/P25 – LTE Mission Critical Network (e.g. MCPTT) interface service for both:

1) The different LMR systems in use today

2) The current LMR systems and new LTE systems being deployed, including FirstNet™

As part of the research, Catalyst determined how well Public Safety Requirements could be met using existing standards, including Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for LTE and Project 25 (P25), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), and Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) for LMR.  The company also considered the viability of Interworking LTE with current analog and proprietary based LMR systems. Catalyst concluded that existing standards did support Interworking and made recommendations for Inter Sub-System Interface (ISSI) extensions.

The research foundation was the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) report “Public Safety Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Interoperability with LTE Mission Critical Push to Talk”. Of the 56 Core Requirements identified in the report and other documents, Catalyst research determined and scored a 76% conformance using ISSI with a Phase 2 P25 trunking system on the LMR side. Catalyst determined and scored different conformance results for other radio systems and quantified each system’s  rating, primarily dependent of its interoperability interface.

Conformance Chart

The research also uncovered the need for a non – ISSI based Interworking solution for users that did not have, or could not afford, the P25 ISSI interface on their current LMR system. Catalyst conceived an “Adapter” product that expands access to MCPTT Interworking for LMR without ISSI and for LMR-to-LMR interoperability. Catalyst will develop an interface service/server, anticipated to be a software product running on a standard networked computer or computers that will satisfy the interworking requirements defined in the NPSTC Public Safety LMR Interoperability with LTE Mission Critical Push to Talk report.

Research findings and Catalyst technology that can be brought to the marketplace to improve MCPTT, Interworking, and the deployment prospects of FirstNet™ are not the only highlights at IWCE. In Catalyst’s booth 1240, the next generation of the company’s innovative Incident Commander Element (ICE™) will be demonstrated. This compact, transportable communications tool includes 2-4 multi-band radios, Gateway technology to control and patch them, Dispatch, audio recording, and power options. Its primary application is for Fire Ground personnel, typically in direct mode while battling a fire, with PTT voice patched back to the Dispatch Center.

Catalyst personnel at the show will also demonstrate InterLoc™, Catalyst’s innovative location services solution. InterLoc™ obtains location and other meta data from LMR subscriber radios using standards-based equipment, including P25 and DMR. InterLoc™ is an application that integrates into Catalyst’s IP|Console™ and Propulsion™ families of Dispatch solutions, which will also be demonstrated at the show.

Catalyst expertise is on full display at IWCE and not just at the Catalyst Exhibit. Robin Grier, Catalyst president, is speaking on a panel about the DHS Award titled “Initiatives for LMR/LTE Interworking”, on Wednesday, March 6, from 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm. And on Tuesday morning, Robin will join other members of the Project 25 Technology Interest Group (PTIG) for “P25 for the Future: New Products, Applications, Interoperability and Security”. That Tuesday session is from 8:30 am – 11:30 am. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jack Kelly will be on the panel “RoIP Gateway: An Alternative to ISSI and CSSI” to be held Friday, March 8, from 9:45 am – 11:00 am.

IWCE 2019 is being held March 4-8, 2019 in Las Vegas and the Exhibit Hall is open March 6-7. Stop by and visit Catalyst Communications Technologies at booth #1240.

 

Catalyst Preparing for IWCE

2019-01-15_0941

The major trade shows are important events for vendors in the critical communications space and Catalyst has been hard at work planning for this years International Wireless Communications Exposition, held in early March in Las Vegas. It’s our chance to meet with so many of you that have supported Catalyst, make new business friends, and show off the technology we’ve developed over the past year.

This year’s IWCE promises to be one of the most important in years, as FirstNet(tm) has gained traction and lots of companies will announce FirstNet(tm) ready products and solutions. Catalyst has been working on research sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and we’ll be describing the results of that research at IWCE.

In addition to descriptions and explanations at our booth (1240) Catalyst will present at three sessions at IWCE. Initiatives for LMR-LTE Interworking will have Robin Grier on a panel moderated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Program Manager Sridhar Kowdley.  The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has invested in two projects (one of these is with Catalyst) to solve the technical challenges to standards-based LMR – LTE Interworking. DHS funded feasibility studies were completed in November 2018 and this presentation provides the results of these studies from the two organizations funded by DHS S&T for the creation of a standards-based solution for LMR – LTE Interworking. In addition to Robin and Sridhar, representatives from the other award winner and The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) will present.

Robin is also a presenter on a panel P25 for the Future: New Products, Applications, Interoperability and Security. This panel is a product roundup from the major P25 vendors of new products developed in the past year.

Jack Kelly is also presenting at IWCE. He’s on a panel RoIP Gateway: An Alternative to ISSI and CSSI, which will explore the Radio over IP Gateway interoperability solution, and discusses the relative advantages and disadvantages when compared to ISSI and CSSI solutions.

If you’re attending IWCE this year, be sure to check out one or more of these informative sessions, and follow up with Catalyst at our booth on the show floor.

 

Growth Opportunities for Catalyst are Strong

A September webinar  – Can LTE Replace LMR for Critical Communications? —  Demystifying the Convergence of Mobile Communications  Networks – included some healthy growth statistics for our industry. Data provided by presenter Jesus Mario Gonzalez, Senior Analyst from research firm IHS Markit, showed healthy growth in two key markets of importance to Catalyst.

Picture2

The first good news is the healthy growth of public safety land mobile radio users. Virtually ALL of these users communicate with Dispatchers, and growth here is a strong indication for additional Dispatch Consoles, a key market for Catalyst. And these new users will occur on varying types of radio systems and frequencies, driving a need for interoperability solutions, another market served by Catalyst technology.

Picture1

Another chart presented by Mr. Gonzales  described the even stronger growth of new LTE devices that will be used by public safety. In addition to the Dispatch Console needs of these new users, public safety users on LTE Networks, including FirstNet(tm), will need to communicate with public safety users on LMR (Land Mobile Radio) networks.

This latter requirement, dubbed INTERWORKING by the LMR – LTE public safety community, is being solved today by Catalyst through our contract with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. (https://bit.ly/2D3hs1Q)

We intend to develop Interworking products for deployment in 2019, increasing the growth prospects of Catalyst and cementing our position as a leading supplier of innovation, technology and solutions to First Responders and the public safety marketplace.

CATALYST HONORS FIRST RESPONDERS IN LOCAL FIELD OF HONOR EVENT

Flags

Here at Catalyst we’re all about supporting First Responders and we couldn’t be more proud to support the local Bedford County Field of Honor event.

This event was coordinated by the Rotary Club of Forest VA which arranged over 500 U.S. flags to honor Police, First Responders, EMTs, Firefighters, Active Duty Military and Veterans. These flags were proudly displayed on the lawn of a local sponsoring company. Each flag was sponsored by area businesses and individuals to honor their chosen first responders.

To support this event, we chose to honor two individuals.

Hilbish
We honored Sgt. Ryan Hilbish in the Field of Honor event. Sgt. Hilbish has served the citizen’s of Bedford County with distinction since October 1, 2000. After the flags were displayed, Catalyst president Robin Grier presented Sgt. Hilbish with his flag in a small ceremony.

We also honored our own John Kramer.

Kramer
John is a marine and has strongly contributed to Catalyst’s mission to serve First Responders with his dedication to our customers and sales activities.

Congratulations to Sgt. Ryan Hilbish and John Kramer and thank you for your service!

Catalyst again at Burning Man

Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. This year, it starts on August 26 and preparations are already underway.

IMGL9523

Once again, Catalyst technology is in play at the Burning Man festival this year,  as our Dispatch and Interoperability solutions are used by Bureau of Land Management (who administers the land on which the festival takes place. BLM provides critical support services, including law enforcement, to insure a successful and safe event each year.

 

DHS Science & Technology Directorate Contract for LMR / LTE Interworking leads Catalyst APCO 2018 Announcements

DHS announcement highlights Catalyst Communications Technology Innovations on display at booth 1618 at the premier conference for public safety officials

At the 2018 Association of Public Safety Communications Professionals (APCO) Conference in Las Vegas this week, Catalyst Communications Technologies, a leading provider of dispatch, interoperability and incident command solutions for critical communications, announced that they had been awarded a contract by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate for LMR  / LTE Interworking.

Interworking will enable mission critical communications between First Responders using Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems and cellular devices over Long Term Evolution (LTE) Networks with push to talk applications. This contract is the result of an SBIR solicitation won by Catalyst in competition with other businesses. Catalyst’s experience and expertise with Project 25 (P25) technology, Broadband PTT, and interoperability using Internet Protocol makes the company uniquely qualified for the project.

The objective of this three-phase project is to investigate and develop a reliable, secure, and standards-based LMR/P25 – LTE Mission Critical Network (e.g. MCPTT) interworking service for both:

1) The different LMR systems in use today

2) The current LMR systems and new LTE systems being deployed, including FirstNet™

DHS S&T is interested in technology and solutions that take advantage of existing standards in P25 LMR and 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) LTE technologies to create seamless communications between users on these systems. As FirstNet™ continues to advance the schedule for deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the need for a feasible Interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems is critical. Especially as users discover applications where push-to-talk on a mobile phone or other broadband device may be more practical and less expensive than LMR portable radios, this migration will need interoperability and dispatch systems that can ensure unified and reliable communications between First Responders who are using these different systems.

Catalyst Analytics Engine

Catalyst also announced that they had developed an Analytics Engine for their IP|Console™ and Propulsion™ line of Dispatch solutions that provides insights into dispatch operations to aid first responder dispatch centers. This new tool, included in new installations and for customers upgraded as part of their annual maintenance program, delivers a data and graphs package to help Dispatchers and Dispatch Center managers better understand their environment today, and how it evolves over time.

These powerful controls provide simple visual indications for understanding changes in radio traffic over time. As a tool that tracks call volume over time, this information can help Dispatch Centers load balance their work environment, identify resourceful dispatchers, and provide insight for planning additional (or reduced level) resources. These analytics can highlight radio system degradation before failures shut down communications.

Information about the new DHS Contract for Interworking, the Catalyst Analytics Engine, and a variety of other leading-edge technologies designed to support First Responders in their pursuit of Public Safety, can be seen and demonstrated at Catalyst’s booth 1618 at the APCO Conference Monday and Tuesday, August 6 & 7.

 

Catalyst Selected for LMR / LTE Interworking Project by US Department of Homeland Security

The following post is a PRESS RELEASE describing an award from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to develop an LMT / LTE Interworking solution, announced at the APCO 2018 Conference in August 2018.

Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT) between LMR and LTE Networks seen as a vital component of FirstNet™ deployment  

APCO 2018, Las Vegas NV – August 6, 2018

Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of Radio Control over IP Dispatch, Interoperability, and Incident Command solutions for the mission critical / first responder community, has been awarded a contract by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate for Interworking that will enable mission critical communications between First Responders using Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems and cellular devices over Long Term Evolution (LTE) Networks with push to talk applications. This contract is the result of an SBIR solicitation won by Catalyst in competition with other businesses. Catalyst’s experience and expertise with Project 25 (P25) technology, Broadband PTT, and interoperability using Internet Protocol makes the company uniquely qualified for the project.

As FirstNetTM continues to advance the schedule for deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the need for a feasible Interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems is critical. Especially as users discover applications where push-to-talk on a mobile phone or other broadband device may be more practical and less expensive than LMR portable radios, this migration will need interoperability and dispatch systems that can ensure unified and reliable communications between First Responders who are using these different systems. DHS S&T is interested in technology and solutions that take advantage of existing standards in P25 LMR and 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) LTE technologies to create seamless communications between users on these systems.

The objective of this three-phase project is to investigate and develop a reliable, secure, and standards-based LMR/P25 – LTE Mission Critical Network (e.g. MCPTT) interworking service for both:

1) The different LMR systems in use today

2) The current LMR systems and new LTE systems being deployed, including FirstNet™

In Phase II of the project, Catalyst would develop an interface service/server, anticipated to be a software product running on a standard networked computer or computers.  Catalyst is following the recommendations of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and its supporting organizations including the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).  By analyzing documents such as the 2018 NPSTC Public Safety LMR Interoperability with LTE Mission Critical Push to Talk report, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) P25 Standards, and the 3GPP MCPTT standards, Catalyst is creating a comprehensive set of requirements and features for Interworking.

Mike Schools, Vice President of Engineering at Catalyst and the technical lead for this project, said, “Catalyst is very well positioned to provide insight and technology for Interworking, as we’ve been deploying interoperability solutions for the first responder community for more than 15 years. We understand the application requirements of Mission Critical Push to Talk and the complexity of internetwork communications. Solving interoperability challenges for the first responder community is a core competency of Catalyst.”

Catalyst’s contract with DHS Science and Technology Directorate is for Phase I of a three-phased effort as defined by the SBIR Guidelines. Catalyst looks forward to our continuing efforts, working with Public Safety agencies, DHS S&T, and other partners to provide commercially available solutions.

Catalyst Dispatch Analytics provides Communications Insights Helpful to First Responder Organizations

The following post is a PRESS RELEASE describing new Capabilities from Catalyst, announced at the APCO 2018 Conference in August 2018.

Traffic Patterns, call volumes, data analysis and activity insights are tracked by Gateway / Radio Site and across systems

Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of Radio Control over IP Dispatch, Interoperability and Incident Command solutions for the mission critical / first responder community, has developed an Analytics Engine for it’s IP|Console™ and Propulsion™ line of Dispatch solutions that provides insights into dispatch operations to aid first responder dispatch centers. This new tool, included in new installations and for customers upgraded as part of their annual maintenance program, delivers a data and graphs package to help Dispatchers and Dispatch Center managers better understand their environment today, and how it evolves over time.

The primary statistical data is call volume over time. Call volume can be tracked for each Gateway on a Catalyst Radio Control over IP system, or for the entire system. (Catalyst Gateways connect to radio resources, either directly to donor/mobile radios or to radio infrastructure through wireline P25 or DMR interfaces). Calls are measured at user defined intervals including calls per minute, calls per 60 minutes, etc. Typically, calls are captured over 24 hours, and each session can be archived for historical analysis.

 

 

The meta data can be applied to chart rendering tools (Like MS Excel® chart tools) which also allow for color and design configurations for different presentations and to simplify the visual understanding of the information provided to the user.

These powerful controls provide simple visual indications for understanding changes in radio traffic over time. As a tool that tracks call volume over time, this information can help Dispatch Centers load balance their work environment, identify resourceful dispatchers, and provide insight for planning additional (or reduced level) resources. These analytics can highlight radio system degradation before failures shut down communications. In addition to the graphic displays provided by the Catalyst Analytics Engine, the meta data can be extracted and applied for custom analysis -percentage change in total call volume by month, for example. Or, calls by hour measured over time (which hour of the day generates the most dispatch traffic). Analytics empower managers with essential information to best re-allocate resources when some Dispatchers are more busy than others.

 

 

The meta data from Catalyst’s Analytics Engine can be imported into Graph rendering tools, including Microsoft Excel Graph Tools, where a variety of visual presentations and color and format options can be used.

 

 

Safe in Marshalltown

RACOM, in Marshalltown Iowa, helps keep the public safe and secure by providing Rugged, Resilient & Robust communications solutions backed with the most Reliable, Responsive & Relentless implementation and support to first responders everywhere. They are a Harris® Regional Center of Excellence — one of only four in the world — selected as the distribution, project implementation and customer support partner for the upper-Midwest and Pacific Northwest. RACOM is a long time Catalyst partner.

Yesterday, July 19, a strong tornado ripped through Marshalltown, https://weather.com/storms/severe/video/marshalltown-iowa-courthouse-steeple-no-match-for-tornado causing extensive damage to the town and the RACOM facility.

Good news from our friends at RACOM: Nobody hurt. All systems (P25 and EDACS) stayed completely operational. 2 floors now alfresco.

Thank goodness!