News Release: NIST Awards $2.99M to Commercialize DHS S&T-Developed Interoperable Public Safety Communications System

Release Date: June 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
S&T Public Affairs
NIST Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded $2,988,950 in a new round of funding for new interoperable communication systems for public safety. Initially funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), through its Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program, Catalyst Communications Technologies of Forest, Virginia, was provided this Phase III SBIR award for commercialization of its interoperable communications solution.

S&T previously provided Phase I and Phase II SBIR funding to Catalyst to develop interworking solutions for land mobile radio (LMR) and long-term evolution (LTE) communication systems for public safety. Catalyst established a roadmap for effective interworking during Phase I and is just now concluding Phase II work building prototypes for a variety of LMR systems and a public safety-grade dispatch console that seamlessly supports both LMR and LTE.

The Phase III award from NIST will allow Catalyst to continue the work begun at S&T in 2018 to commercialize a standards-compliant solution that will permit new mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) applications on LTE mobile phones to communicate with both existing subscribers of public safety LMRs and dispatchers.

“First responders rely on interoperable communication tools to make life-saving decisions. S&T’s partnership with Catalyst, and soon their continued work with NIST, are steps toward ensuring that public safety using MCPTT apps on LTE devices can seamlessly communicate with counterparts on their LMRs,” said S&T Program Manager Norman Speicher. “The last thing they should have to consider when responding to an incident is whether they are able to reach out to fellow responders—that should be a given.”

NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division provided the funding under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. This award is part of PSCR’s three-pronged approach to improving LMR to broadband (LTE/5G) capabilities and providing them to first responders. This SBIR effort represents a Radio over Internet Protocol/bridging systems interface technology approach; the other two efforts support Project 25 Radio 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Interworking Function development and the creation of software-defined radio capabilities to bridge broadband with legacy LMR systems.

“Commercialization is a key priority for NIST and the Department of Commerce,” said PSCR Division Chief Dereck Orr. “This SBIR effort not only provides public safety with another capability to bridge their existing mission critical voice systems with new broadband systems, but it also represents a significant investment in a small American company to put innovative products in the marketplace.”

Finding interoperable communication solutions for public safety is a priority issue for S&T. Multiple vendors have developed communication tools between LMR and LTE platforms for public safety. Trying to communicate among multiple LMR systems from different vendors during public safety events has often created barriers to effective first responder emergency response. S&T’s Office of Mission and Capability Support and the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility Technology Center have been working to achieve interoperability with partners like Catalyst.

The S&T, Catalyst and NIST collaboration is a step closer to implementing and standardizing an interface to successfully enable interoperable MCPTT networks over both LMR and LTE. These efforts will help ensure that LMR, LTE and the next generations of communication technology enable first responders to connect instantly and effectively.

New P25 E-Book includes Catalyst article “A Case for Standards-Compliant Interworking”

There’s new, very comprehensive E-Book published by Mission Critical Communications magazine and the Project 25 Interest Group (PTIG) – Advances in P25: Standards | Interoperability | Security. Catalyst has a contributing Article “A Case for
Standards-Compliant Interworking”. Download the E-Book for free here:
https://www.rrmediagroup.com/eLearning/e-Books

Catalyst President Robin Grier featured in upcoming Webinar: P25 for the Future | June 16, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Catalyst continues to educate the Critical Communications community about the work that we have completed under the DHS Phase II SBIR and that we are taking further via the NIST/PSCR Phase III contract. Our next webinar is June 16 at 2 PM and is being hosted by Urgent Communications in conjunction with the P25 Technology Interest Group (PTIG).

Project 25 (P25) remains critically important to public safety users. With over 2800 systems on the air and 42 State-wide Networks, its continued evolution with new standards, capabilities and applications will be relevant, even as FirstNet and other public safety broadband networks roll out. In this WEBINAR, hear how P25 is adapting and interworking to meet the changing technology marketplace. Hear what’s new…..Hear what is coming…..Hear how it will help you.

This session will offer a view of what has recently been completed and what is ahead for the P25 Suite of Standards.  Details of what new capabilities and applications will be available this year and in the future will be shared. The key benefits of Project 25 as a Public Safety Grade communications technology will be defined. The Project 25 Technology Interest Group (PTIG) full library of P25 resources and whitepapers including P25 System lists and P25 product and services suppliers will be included.

Many are asking “What Interworking will be available between my P25 system and the new LTE  MCPTT Systems? To that end, a view of future Interworking Standards between P25 LMR systems and Public Safety LTE Systems will be covered by Catalyst. In addition, many are asking “How can I test P25 radio signals and coverage inside buildings and structures.  The latest P25 Testing technology applications will be offered by PCTEL.  The P25 Digital Fixed Station Interface (DFSI) can maximize integration with data-driven technologies like video, MCPTT, and AVL over LTE networks.  A description of what Quality of Service means in the context of P25 and LTE and discuss what performance metrics may be most important will be covered by Zetron.

Interested? Register for the Webinar at https://urgentcomm.com/2021/05/18/p25-for-the-future-june-16-2021-at-2-pm-et/?partnerref=P25

Catalyst is Moving!

Growth Drives Relocation to Larger Facilities

Catalyst Communications Technologies, a leader in mission critical dispatch, interoperability, and incident command solutions to the First Responder community, today announced our relocation to new headquarters facilities at:

107 Vista Centre Drive

Forest, VA 24551

The new headquarters is close to Catalyst’s prior building, and the phone number stays the same: 434-582-6146.

The move to larger facilities was driven by the growth Catalyst has experienced over the past few years. Robin Grier, president of Catalyst was gratified to acknowledge “A growth driven move is cause for celebration and reflection on the success we’ve had over the years. I am grateful to the Catalyst Team, Customers and Partners who have supported our mission. I’m looking forward to hosting you at our new headquarters – the invitation is open!”

Catalyst Solutions Engineer Jerry Adams promoted to IEEE Senior Member

Jerry Adams has earned a promotion within the IEEE community as Senior Member. Amarnath Raja, Chair, IEEE Admission and Advancement Committee, acknowledged “IEEE Senior Membership is an honor bestowed only to those who have made significant contributions to the profession.”

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

When Jerry is not engaged with activities that improve the future of humanity, he can be found on his bass boat in tournaments throughout Georgia and the Southeast.

Here at Catalyst, we’re proud of Jerry and his accomplishments. Pass along a CONGRATULATIONS when you see him.

Catalyst’s Professional Organization Participation

Catalyst has been an innovator and leading technology proponent to the critical communications market space for over 20 years and more evidence of that position is represented by our contributions to the leading technical and professional organizations that serve our industry. Some Catalyst employees are members of IEEE -the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology – and take advantage of the technical and educational opportunities offered by this worldwide organization.

Catalyst has been a member of PTIG – the Project 25 Interest Group, for many years. The purpose of the group is to promote the P25 standard and educate interested parties about the benefits of the standard. In addition to Catalyst’s wide portfolio of P25 standard products, we participate with PTIG during seminars and trade shows where PTIG has a presence.

Another influential standards creating body is TIA – the Telecommunications Industry Association. TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a standards developing organization (SDO). TIA’s engineering committees create standards and technical documents based on guidelines established by the ANSI Essential Requirements. Catalyst participates in the TR8.18 Wireline systems (ISSI) Working group to keep our customers current with standards for that LMR interface.

ATIS – The Alliance for Telecommunications Standards – is another professional organization with Catalyst Association. We sit in on the JLMRLTE meetings (In North America, the ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications
Industry Solutions) TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) TR-8.8 (Broadband Data Solutions) Joint Project Committee (JLMRLTE) is defining the LMR interface for Interworking. At its core, the organization exists to support a competitive, interoperable market. Their work creates the critical common base upon which our members can further their own innovation. Catalyst observes in working group meetings to further interoperability between different vendor radio systems.

NPSTC – the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council – is a federation of organizations whose mission is to improve public safety communications and interoperability through collaborative leadership. NPSTC regularly submits comments, ex parte communications, and filings to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) via the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and speaks as a voice for it’s community to FirstNet(tm). NPSTC produces reports that are developed by the cumulative efforts of many volunteers’ time, energy, and knowledge to benefit the public safety communications community. Catalyst participates in working group meetings that help craft the positions that NPSTC takes on behalf of its community.

Catalyst has developed a number of interfaces to the Digital Mobile Radio standard and are members of the Digital Mobile Radio Association – DMRA. The Association works with members, worldwide, to ensure that DMR Digital Mobile Radio is the most widely supported digital business radio standard. Members are companies, organisations and individuals who use or build DMR products professionally or those working to support the DMR standard in other ways. 

While many individuals contribute to, and take advantage of, the information flow back and forth between Catalyst and these professional organizations, the effort is led by IEEE member Jerry Adams, Catalyst’s solution engineer. Jerry’s ability to synthesize volumes of data, and to represent Catalyst’s position on competing ideas put forth for standards consideration, help insure that Catalyst customers are at the leading edge of technology developments in the critical communications industry.

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

logo_h_NemergentSolutions

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!