New White Paper “The Compelling Case for Standards Compliant Interworking” Available for Download

A new White Paper to help explain why Interworking between LMR and LTE public safety users needs to be based upon standards, and the dangers of using proprietary Push to Talk over cellular services, can now be downloaded from the Catalyst website.

Head over to https://www.catcomtec.com/download-interworking-white-paper/, and you have two choices. Select The Compelling Case for Standards Compliant Interworking – FINAL to download this Interworking White Paper.

This paper is comprehensive and 20 pages long. TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)? Then Select the 6 page summary The Compelling Case for Standards Compliant Interworking – abridged.

These papers provide valuable education for First Responders and other public safety officials as we navigate new, uncharted waters with FirstNet and other mission critical push to talk services on LTE Networks. Contact us at interworking@catcomtec.com if you have any questions or comments about LMR LTE Interworking.

Catalyst contributes to Mission Critical Services Standard testing at ETSI MCX Plugtest #5

LMR LTE Interworking Services from Catalyst compliant with 3GPP Standards for Mission Critical Push to Talk

Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of IP-based Dispatch, Interoperability and Incident Command solutions for Critical Communications, demonstrated its solution with other leading vendors of mission critical communications services at the recent ETSI sponsored plugtest. Catalyst was able to demonstrate LMR LTE interworking and dispatch while conforming with the Mission Critical Push To Talk (MCPTT) standard as defined in 3GPP Releases.

ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute), with the support of the European Commission, EFTA, TCCA and UIC, organized the fifth MCX Plugtests event. This year’s testing took place as a remote-only event from 21st September to 9th October 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

According to ETSI, Plugtests events serve two main purposes: They provide essential feedback to our technical committees to help us improve our standards and to accelerate the standards-making process, and they enable engineers to get together to test the interoperability of their implementations – which can reduce a product’s time-to-market. The benefits of such events include: improving the interoperability of products and services, supporting the deployment of new technologies, enabling networking between partners, competitors and other experts, and validating our standards. The concept of “Mission Critical Push To Talk (MCPTT)”, “Mission Critical Data (MCData)” and “Mission Critical Video (MCVideo)” started with 3GPP Release-13 and is ongoing in current Releases. Interoperability and Mission Critical service harmonization are critical challenges for the successful deployment and operation of Mission Critical Communication. Catalyst provides LMR LTE Interworking services that are compliant with the 3GPP standard for mission critical voice, and on the LMR side, compliant with standards developed for P25 and DMR, and a number of vendor specific radio communications and control interfaces.

For the 5th ETSI MCX Plugtests Event, Catalyst’s goal was to connect our MCPTT Gateway to other vendor’s MC Application Servers to test interoperability through several test cases that make up the 3GPP Release-15 MC Services standard. Our primary focus was to configure our product and demonstrate MCPTT functionalities with different MCS Application Servers while also gaining access to MCX Services that are not available in our lab. Catalyst has tested compatibility with a significant number of other vendors who are building mission critical applications in conformance with the 3GPP standard.  Catalyst believes that these types of collaborative events between different manufacturer’s and their solutions is instrumental in creating and maintaining Mission Critical interoperability that is technology and vendor agnostic.

Catalyst to Exhibit at Virtual IWCE 2020

Online Virtual Trade Show and Conference transformed from an in-person event into a digital experience due to Covid 19 restrictions

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Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc., will participate Virtual IWCE 2020 to be held Monday through Thursday, August 24- 27. Catalyst will be part of the Virtual Expo Hall, a fully interactive experience allowing attendees to engage with Catalyst professionals and learn of our recent product and technology contributions to the critical communications industry.

The virtual booth platform simulates the experience of a face-to-face meeting. Catalyst sales professionals will be on hand to engage visitors through the live video chat functionality which will facilitate real-time interaction. The virtual booth serves as a private session between Catalyst and attendees. Catalyst can receive visitors live, and we’ll have both pre-recorded demonstrations to guide the conversation as well as scheduled presentations of our IntelliLink™ Interworking solution at specific times. The virtual booth platform supports 1-to-1 conversations in separate breakout rooms where your specific questions can be answered fully.

In addition to IntelliLink™ Interworking, we’ll be showcasing InterLoc™, our location services solution; ICE™, our Incident Command and advanced vehicular repeater solution; and our impressive line of Mission Critical Dispatch solutions. Our demonstrations will have a strong LTE/FirstNet™ flavor, as IntelliLink™ Interworking enables standards compliant communications between LMR subscribers and users on LTE cell phones with Mission Critical Push to Talk applications, and our Dispatch solutions will demonstrate dispatch to both LMR and LTE devices.

Catalyst will also participate in the virtual online conference. “Tech Talks” are short, 15-20 minute sessions to bring attendees up to speed on the latest technology development, and on Wednesday, August 26, from 1:30 pm – 1:45 pm, Catalyst president Robin Grier will join Sridhar Kowdley from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and Chris Kindelspire from Grundy County (IL) 911 / Sheriff’s Office to talk about Bridging the Gap: LMR/LTE Interworking. Also, Robin is a panelist on an exciting session exploring MCPTT and PoC over Broadband – Are They Really Mission Critical? Donny Jackson, Editor of IWCE’s Urgent Communications magazine, will be moderator of this session, to be held on Thursday, August 27, from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

More information about Catalyst and our participation in Virtual IWCE 2020 will be release over the coming weeks. We hope to meet you – virtually – during the show!

 

 

More Details about Catalyst’s Interworking Announcement – How Nemergent helps the Catalyst Development Team

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With the excitement about our IntelliLink™ Interworking announcement, we have received many inquiries about our development process. We’re using development tools and software libraries from Softil, our Israeli partner we identified in our IntelliLink Interworking launch (and a separate Press Release from Softil, also announced on our blog). However there’s another technology partner that’s critical to our success, so get to know Nemergent.

Some of you have asked how we can develop and test our products to insure they are compliant with 3GPP LTE Networks, and FirstNet™ specifically. And that’s where Nemergent comes in. Nemergent provides a development and test environment that includes a complete software suite of 3GPP MCS-compliant components. Their tools provide an Application Server that “behaves” like a LTE network, and a Management Server that provides a number of required background tasks necessary for making an Interworking connection to LTE, including Identity Management, Configuration Management, Group Management and Key Management. These management tools are just as important as passing voice and meta data between the networks! Catalyst can be confident that software developed using Nemergent tools will be compatible with 3GPP LTE Networks like FirstNet due to Nemergent’s expertise with a fully standard MCPTT ecosystem. Nemergent is headquartered in Spain, demonstrating that best in class technology, and the development of mission critical communications over LTE Networks, is a global challenge.

The participation of multiple partners is critical to achieve the best results. No one company can tackle these challenges alone – and if they can, they cannot be taking advantages of best in class technology and innovation that derives from companies with excellence in their area of expertise. Catalyst is proud to lead the effort to develop standards compliant LMR LTE Interworking, and we couldn’t do it without our technology partners!

 

Catalyst Chooses Softil Technology for DHS LMR/MCPTT Interworking Gateway and Dispatch Consoles

Pioneering communications gateway IntelliLink providing first MCPTT voice interoperability bridge between LTE and LMR systems

Radio Control over IP solutions provider Catalyst Communications Technologies and the world’s leading enabler of mission-critical communications (MCC or MCX) Softil today jointly announce that Softil’s BEEHD technology has been selected to build Catalyst’s  IntelliLink™ Interworking  solutions as well as Dispatch Consoles for FirstNet™ and other standards-based MCX networks around the world.

First responders currently rely upon Land Mobile Radio (LMR) analog and digital radios to communicate in the field. Radios offer familiar simplicity and reliability when it comes to emergency communications. While MCX technologies offer much greater capabilities, enriching traditionally voice push to talk communications with video, message chat and file exchange, the transition from radio communications to MCX communications will not be instantaneous.

As with any new technology, it will require time for first responders to migrate to MCX technologies. Switching to MCX will also require investments by first responder organizations. A transitional bridge between LMR and MCX allows first responders to start using new MCX technologies gradually without abandoning previous investments.

Intellilink™ Interworking solutions are that bridge and the first in the emerging MCX landscape. They have been developed by the Catalyst and Softil teams under a contract to Catalyst from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) under its Small Business Innovation and Research program.

“Catalyst chose Softil as its technology partner for the DHS program following careful analysis of available MCX-enabling solutions and we concluded that Softil’s BEEHD SDK solution was clearly ahead of the competition,” says Catalyst’s President, Robin Grier. “Our teams have since collaborated closely to develop our IntelliLink Interworking Solution in just a handful of months.”

“Enabling interworking communications between First Responders using existing public safety LMR radios and those using mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) compliant devices on the new FirstNet™ National Public Safety Broadband Network is a win-win for all involved in public safety,” adds Pierre Hagendorf, Softil’s CEO. “The pioneering IntelliLink™ solution is an accelerator for widespread deployments of 3GPP standards-based MCX networks.”

Softil’s BEEHD technology is a cross-platform client framework designed for chipset vendors, device manufacturers, system integrators, application developers and service providers to develop IP-based mission-critical voice and video communications over LTE (VoLTE and ViLTE) solutions.

Catalyst’s Dispatch Consoles are FirstNet™ ready and allow dispatchers to control interworking between LMR and LTE/MCPTT talk groups through an intuitive graphical user interface.

Catalyst Introduces Intellilink™ Interworking – Innovation in LMR LTE Communications for FirstNet™

Standards Compliant solution enables communications between MCPTT devices on LTE Networks including FirstNet™ and legacy Land Mobile Radio subscriber units

Catalyst Communications Technologies, a leader in mission critical dispatch, interoperability, and incident command solutions to the First Responder community, today announces a new platform that enables Land Mobile Radio subscribers to communicate with users of Mission Critical Push to Talk applications on LTE Networks through standards compliant interfaces. IntelliLink™ Interworking leverages Catalyst’s 20 years’ experience with sophisticated radio control and interface technology with new development using the 3GPP Standards to interface to LTE Networks, including FirstNet™. The result is the first interworking solution in the market based upon these standards and follows the industry trend toward standards-based solutions and away from today’s profusion of incompatible PTT over cellular solutions.

A Migration to FirstNet™ for P25 – and everyone else

 Interworking is the term for communications interoperability between Land Mobile Radio devices used by First Responders today and new Mission Critical Push to Talk applications on mobile phones running on LTE Networks including FirstNet™. Interworking has long been considered a key component of FirstNet™ adoption, as public safety organizations will need a migration strategy as they and allied agencies move to FirstNet™. They will require simultaneous dispatch and device to device communications between LMR and LTE during the transition.

Industry groups are working on an Interworking approach based on the Project 25 (P25) Inter Sub System Interface (ISSI) standard for the LMR interface and the 3GPP MCX standard for LTE. While that model may be appropriate for many larger agencies, the cost will be high and the low deployment rate of ISSI will make it impractical for the broader market of public safety organizations. These organizations, many with older technologies, will also need an interworking solution to migrate to FirstNet™. Catalyst’s Intellilink™ Interworking solution is flexible and will support a wide variety of LMR radio networks. Catalyst’s IntelliLink™ Interworking Solutions roadmap provides a vision for how interworking will likely develop and how Catalyst plans to augment existing efforts to define a P25 ISSI to LTE interface with a solution that also enables other LMR technologies. This includes other standard LMR interfaces such as the P25 Common Air Interface (CAI) and Digital Fixed Station Interface (DFSI), the Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Application Interface Specification (AIS), analog FM, as well as proprietary radio protocols including Smartnet™, EDACS™, and Nexedge™.

Interworking

As part of the overall IntelliLink™ Interworking solution, two simple user interface platforms for managing Interworking talk groups and channels are provided, both “infinitely” configurable.  One of these tools is for Interworking only and one is a complete Mission Critical Dispatch Console for both LTE and LMR.

Development History – a Department of Homeland Security Initiative

In 2018, Catalyst was awarded a contract by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to investigate standards-based 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 was the result of a Small Business Innovation and Research program solicitation won by Catalyst in competition with other businesses. DHS S&T was 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.

With the announcement in April 2019 that Catalyst had been awarded a Phase II, $1.0 million contract from DHS S&T to develop a prototype based upon the results of the Phase I research, Catalyst has firmly established its position as a leading contributor to the maturation of FirstNet™ and other next generation critical communications services based upon LTE technology. Today’s announcement of IntelliLink™ Interworking Solutions is the first public unveiling of the Phase II research and prototype development efforts from this program.

The Compelling Requirement for a Standards Based Solution

FirstNet™ and the First Responder community are committed to standards-based interfaces for both LMR and LTE networks to enable communications between Mission Critical Push to Talk devices on these networks. Catalyst IntelliLink™ Interworking Solutions are a complete departure from existing “Over the Top” PTT over LTE solutions because:

  • We are compliant with the MCPTT Standard, not “almost mission critical”.
  • True MCPTT provides the performance that Public Safety needs (minimal delay, protecting against lost syllables and words, and meta data).
  • True MCPTT can be integrated with the carrier’s broader solution so that, for instance, subscribers can manage their device so that PTT audio is not lost when someone places a telephone call to their cell phone.

The Catalyst approach best meets the needs of Public Safety including:

  • Catalyst’s technology protects against dropped syllables and hung channels.
  • Catalyst’s standards-compliant console provides a high level of symmetry to what First Responders are currently receiving, including Unit ID, Alias, and Emergency Indication from users on both networks.
  • Catalyst’s radio interface technology supports a wide array of LMR radio systems, not just ISSI.
  • Catalyst provides an intuitive User Interface for managing Interworking that does not require a Catalyst console.

To complement our extensive technology and knowledge of Land Mobile Radio networks, Catalyst partnered with Softil Communications Services https://www.softil.com/ for key technology relating to the 3GPP MCPTT/MCX Standard interface for LTE Networks. Catalyst chose Softil’s BEEHD suite of development tools after a comprehensive review of available technology to interface to LTE, concluding Softil is best in class. Softil’s MCPTT BEEHD Framework offers Mission Critical Communication solutions including Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT), Push-to-Video, and other emerging applications for the First Responder community. BEEHD is a cross-platform client SDK designed for developers like Catalyst, looking to accelerate the development of IP-based communications over LTE for mission-critical applications.

To promote the various Interworking solutions, Catalyst has branded IntelliLink™ Interworking with a new graphic to identify Interworking Solutions. Catalyst expects that the technology developed in support of the DHS S&T Award will produce a family of products solving specific Interworking problems, promoted and identified under the new Intellilink™ Interworking brand.

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The design captures a popular symbol of the first responder community and the interaction between LMR, Catalyst, and LTE.

 

2020 VISION

Here at Catalyst Communications Technologies we’re looking forward to 2020 with more energy and excitement than ever! We’ll be introducing our IntelliLink(tm)  Interworking solution at IWCE this year, and have a strong promotion campaign to let everyone know what’s coming and how it will help users take advantage of FirstNet(tm) by providing interworking between subscribers on LMR and LTE networks.Up first, a NEW AD promoting the usefulness of our DISPATCH SOLUTIONS for managing communications to both LMR and LTE subscribers.

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You can expect more information as we launch INTERWORKING SOLUTIONS with the foresight of our 2020 VISION and you’ll learn about it here at THE DISPATCH BLOG!

Catalyst Joins Star City Communications at Virginia’s APCO Conference

Star City Communications, https://www.starcityinc.com/the-company/ a Bedford VA Authorized Catalyst Dealer, attended the 2019 VA APCO/NENA/Interoperability Conference last week with the support of Catalyst Communications Technologies. Here’s a shot of Ron Lee, Star City president, at the booth:

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In addition to the terrific education sessions afforded to the attendees, visitors were able to learn about Star City Communications, Catalyst Communications Technologies, and the services and solutions we jointly provide to the First responder community here in southwest Virginia.

 

John Hilliard Joins Catalyst Communications Technologies as Vice President of Sales

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Robin Grier, president of Catalyst Communications Technologies, announced that John Hilliard has joined Catalyst as Vice President of Sales. John is charged with leading the effort to continue Catalyst’s growth and will also be responsible for deploying Catalyst’s LMR LTE Interworking solution beginning in 2020.

John Hilliard brings extensive experience leading communications technology sales organizations in the public safety marketplace. He has a solid track record of building successful sales teams, is a skillful negotiator, and has deep industry experience in both the global telecommunications marketplace and the First Responder Community.

Speaking about John, Robin Grier said “We’re excited to have John on our team and especially the skill sets and experiences he brings as we roll out our LMR LTE Intellilink™ Interworking solutions in 2020. These solutions will require close coordination with FirstNet™ and the FirstNet™ network provider AT&T, as well as other Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) systems. John’s carrier experience will be crucial for the successful deployment of Catalyst Interworking solutions, as well as growth and management of our core Dispatch, Interoperability and Incident command solutions.”

More details about John Hilliard can be viewed at his Linked In profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jvhilliard/ .