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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

FREE Passes to APCO from Catalyst Communications Technologies

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Catalyst is pleased to once again extend APCO International “Exhibit Hall Only Passes” to all members of the Catalyst Community. If you’re going to APCO, you can get into the Exhibit Hall FOR FREE and check out all the new technology and capabilities.

And hey, some of the coolest new tech will be at the Catalyst booth, #1618.

The pass gets you into the Exhibit Hall, not the professional development tracks, ticketed events or other conference related events outside the expo.

Here’s how to register for APCO and get your Free Pass:

1. Go to https://www.apco2018.org/registration/
2. Select the “Register” button
3. Enter your email OR member number if known OR
4. Select the “Add Myself” button and enter information
5. Answer APCO’s General Data Protection Question
6. Complete APCO 2018 Attendee Registration Form, Select Exhibitor Hall Only Complimentary Pass, highlighted in red.
7. Complete the Demographic Profile
8. Purchase Tickets to Events. Special event tickets are NOT included with this registration category but are available at this time for purchase
9. Review the Registration Summary page and enter this code: LolRk0UO in the “Discount Code” field
10. Select Apply to remove the cost of the registration price
11. Select the box to accept the Cancellation Policy
12. A confirmation will be sent to the email provided and to the CC email if applicable

That’s it. see you in two weeks in Las Vegas at APCO 2018!

 

Getting Ready for APCO

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APCO is one of two (IWCE being the other) major trade shows that Catalyst attends, as it speaks to our roots supporting public safety officers and first responders. Especially for new product announcements that involve our Project 25 product suite and other capabilities that address the needs of first responders, APCO is the premier venue to demonstrate our mission critical communications technology.

This year, one focus will be our continuing developments in the area of location services. We are convinced that, in the near future, the location information of first responders will be a requirement for most public safety dispatch systems. In the past, the low data rates available on land mobile radio systems has limited data applications like location to be included with most dispatch systems. Location data has primarily been transmitted over cellular networks, not LMR. However, with the emergence of LTE and FirstNet(tm), which can handle much higher data rates and therefore many different applications, location services will become a much more prevalent requirement. We are taking the initiative, as technology leaders, in developing location services today, and have engineered a solution that minimizes the impact of passing location data over low speed LMR networks.

We will also continue to show how both LMR and LTE networks can coexist. This will be the second APCO show where we have demonstrated interoperability between a portable radio on a land mobile radio system, and a cell phone running a push to talk application on an LTE network. Our dispatch solutions can also dispatch to both the portable radio and the cell phone. This is a precursor application to FirstNet(tm),  and as FirstNet(tm) will evolve through transition, interoperability between both radio and cellular devices will be critical. We will have more announcements about this capability as we get closer to APCO.

APCO is in one month, in Las Vegas, and for those who are planning to attend, please stop by and say hello. In addition to showcasing our technology, it’s also a terrific opportunity for us to catch up with our public safety friends. Thank you for everything you do to help keep us safe, and we are proud to develop solutions that help you do your job.