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

Hilliard

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/ .

 

Catalyst’s Role in the FirstNet(tm) Roadmap

The FirstNet(tm) Responder Authority have produced a document outlining a roadmap for FirstNet(tm) deployment, and it’s clear they are planning for solutions to the problems that Catalyst is addressing through our DHS funded research and development for an Interworking solution. Specifically, the roadmap expresses what the FirstNet(tm) Authority will do to evolve and advance the FirstNet(tm) Experience, and identifies a framework for progress in 6 key domains:

  • The Core
  • Coverage and Capacity
  • Situational Awareness
  • Voice Communications
  • Secure Information Exchange
  • User Experience

Readers can view the Roadmap at https://www.firstnet.gov/network/roadmap

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Catalyst is most active today in the area of Voice Communications, as the key technologies to support this domain include:
Mission-critical Push-to-talk (MCPTT): A standards-based, group-enabled PTT function that is designed for public safety’s use of mission-critical voice communications.
MCPTT to LMR Interworking: Ability for interworking of LMR systems with the FirstNet MCPTT solution

Interworking is key for FirstNet(tm) deployment and Catalyst intends to lead the deployment of LMR LTE Interworking solutions under our IntelliLink(tm) brand of interoperability solutions. We’re developing these solutions as part of a  Department of Homeland Security funded project to define and develop this needed capability.

Going forward, Catalyst expects to also impact the Situational Awareness domain. Location is a key technology for Situational Awareness and our Location Services solution InterLoc(tm) is positioned to integrate seamlessly into both our FirstNet(tm) interface and our Dispatch solutions. When you consider the data capacity of FirstNet(tm) and it’s ability to not only capture the location of First Responders but also present the location of nearby First Responders to other via a map application on a LTE mobile device, the advantages of integrated locations services into the FirstNet(tm) solutions matrix is obvious.

Visit the APCO 2019 Exhibit Hall on Us!

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Meet Catalyst Communications Technologies at APCO in Baltimore!!!

 

Catalyst Communications Technologies will be a major exhibitor once again at APCO 2019 August 11 – 14 in Baltimore. Please visit us there at Booth 1113 to see our newest products, announcements, and our coolest giveaways! We look forward to seeing you!

For complimentary exhibit hall registration:

  1. Go to https://www.apco2019.org/registration/
  2. Select the “Register” button
  3. Enter your email OR APCO member ID if known
  4. Select the “Add Myself” button and enter information
  5. Answer APCO’s General Data Protection Question
  6. Complete APCO 2019 Attendee Registration Form, Select “Complimentary Exhibit Hall Only Pass (Received Code from an Exhibitor)”, highlighted in red. LAh6CaPx
  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 code received from exhibitor in “Discount Code” field The CODE for CATALYST is LAh6CaPx.
  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

 

And, our “disclaimer” … this is for the Exhibit Hall only, no tracks or other events.

Public Safety Can’t Wait… Neither Should You!

See Us At APCO Booth 1113

Catalyst wins DHS contract to develop internetworking for MCPTT-LMR communications

A nice article from Donny Jackson with Urgent Communications about our DHS Award and his follow on interview with Robin Grier, president of Catalyst Communications Technologies 

Interworking LogoCatalyst Communications today announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded the company with a contract worth as much as $1 million to develop an interworking solution between LMR and 3GPP-standard mission-critical-push-to-talk (MCPTT) offerings that could be commercially available next year.

Catalyst President Robin Grier said that the company’s solution would be compliant with the 3GPP interworking standard and would support interoperability between MCPTT and all LMR systems.

“While we all support Project 25 and recognize that it’s the gold standard, we also recognize that many, many public-safety agencies and critical communicators don’t have Project 25—and many who do [use P25] don’t have ISSI or don’t have the capacity on their ISSI to support all of the talk groups that they would like to have interoperate with FirstNet or another networks that support MCPTT,” Grier said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“Catalyst is building a solution that will allow interoperability not just with P25 and not just P25 with ISSI, but different types of P25—including conventional P25—using the Digital Fixed Station Interface, as well as being able to connect to legacy trunked systems, to DMR systems and other systems.”

DHS awarded the Phase II contract to Catalyst after a selection process that was conducted after the company competed in the Phase I feasibility stage of the project last year. Catalyst hopes to demonstrate its interworking product at IWCE 2020 next March and make a commercial offering of the solution “soon after that,” Grier said.

“We’re certainly looking for those initial agencies that would like to begin using interworking interoperability between MCPTT and LMR,” he said, noting that entities interested in participating in the development of the internetworking solution should contact Catalyst. “We’re eager to engage with those folks to get initial versions out as carriers fully implement supporting infrastructure that will be able to do more and more on our side.”

MCPTT has not been deployed yet, AT&T has announced that FirstNet subscribers will have a choice of at least two MCPTT offerings from different vendors during the second half of this year. Near-term adoption of MCPTT could be impacted by the ability for users to interoperate with legacy LMR systems, which is why DHS is helping fund development of an interworking solution, according to Grier.

“I believe [MCPTT] is coming, and I believe the demand for it is going to be high,” Grier said. “But it’s not going to be successful until there is the ability to interoperate between our bread-and-butter land-mobile-radio systems and these new MCPTT devices. Without some way to connect push to talk on those multiple system, [MCPTT] is not going to go very far.

“This is critical work for our country to be able to have this capability. We’re honored to be selected.”

Having a commercial MCPTT offering in the marketplace will play a big role in helping Catalyst develop a real-world interworking solution, Grier said.

“We can begin the development in our lab,” he said. “Our plan is to test our solution on the FirstNet system before we bring it out to a public-safety agency and tell them, ‘We’re ready to try this at your place.’”

While Catalyst officials are confident that an interworking solution can be developed, Grier noted that there some items still need to be “sorted out,” such as where the solution would reside.

“I think the carrier needs to decide how they want that to work, in terms of where they want it to sit,” Grier said. “Obviously, public-safety agencies need to have a lot of control over their talk groups and particularly their LMR channels—what gets routed to them and how busy they get.”

Catalyst Sponsors National D-DAY Memorial 75th Anniversary

 

June 6, 2019 is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Project Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men. When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.

The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA – right next to Catalyst’s headquarters in Forest, VA – is planning “The Final Salute”, an expansive  program combining the best of the Memorial with the best of the D-Day story: a gathering of veterans and the general public at the nation’s memorial to the invasion of Normandy for reflection and remembrance – the story of ordinary people in extraordinary moments.

Catalyst is a proud sponsor of “The Final Salute”, and our sponsorship include much more than a financial or advertising contribution. Catalyst technology is a critical and active component of the day’s events, as we are providing essential radio and dispatch communications for the many activities planned for the day.

Catalyst equipment in support of this event is installed at locations serving Lynchburg Airport, Roanoke Airport, and at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford. Air Traffic Controllers using our Propulsion(tm) Dispatch software communicates with AM Radios that will be used to coordinate air traffic for the many flyovers of historical aircraft planned and enables intercom – like communications between the Air Traffic Controllers and dispatch attendants at LYH, ROA and at the memorial. We’ll also help communications for ground operations with Gateways connected to Harris P25 radios that communicate over Virginia’s Region 2000 radio network for administration and security support. Throughout all this, Catalyst support personnel are available to insure smooth operations.

Paul Perrone, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Lynchburg Regional Air Show, Inc., the organization responsible for the Aerial Tribute, commented “We are very fortunate to have access to the Catalyst technology which has given our Air Boss a suite of communication tools enhancing his ability to precisely synchronize the aircraft movements with the program events and, most importantly, allow for coordination with adjacent air space controllers, to ensure safe conduct of the event”.

More information about “The Final Salute” can be found at  https://www.dday.org/75th/. And if you happen to attend the day’s events, know that Catalyst Communications Technologies is a proud sponsor and technology contributor to this important remembrance.”

 

 

 

Catalyst Awarded $1.0 Million Phase II SBIR Contract from Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to Advance Development of LMR LTE Interworking Solution

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

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, today announced it has been awarded a contract by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate to develop an Interworking solution 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 a Phase II Award and extends the research and development activities initially funded by DHS in a Phase I Award in 2018.

When FirstNetTM deploys the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the need for a feasible Interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems will be 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 subscriber units, this migration will need interoperability and dispatch systems that can ensure unified and reliable communications between First Responders who are using these different systems.

The Award provides funding to continue development of Catalyst’s IntelliLink™ family of LMR LTE Interworking solutions. The roadmap for effective Interworking was established during the Phase I Award and completed in November 2018. Once developed and commercialized, these Interworking solutions will improve communications for First Responders and facilitate the migration to FirstNet™, where a host of new applications that can take advantage of the greater bandwidth capacity is expected to develop. More than 80,000 First Responder organizations, including police, fire, EMS, and government organizations that use mission critical push to talk (MCPTT) can take advantage of this new technology.

In Phase II of the project, Catalyst will develop an interface service/server, anticipated to be a software product running on a standard networked computer or computers.  Catalyst is following the roadmap it presented to DHS as part of the Phase I project deliverables. This roadmap was, in turn, based upon recommendations from the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and its supporting organizations including the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).

Mike Schools, Vice President of Engineering at Catalyst and the technical lead for this project, said, “This Phase II Award is a significant accomplishment for Catalyst. It provides up to $1 Million to support the further development of our Interworking innovations and will accelerate the development of a prototype that can be tested and deployed into First Responder communications networks. Solving interoperability challenges for the First Responder community is a core competency of Catalyst.”

Initiated in 2004, the DHS S&T SBIR Program is a competitive contract awards program designed to increase the participation of innovative and creative U.S. small businesses in federal research and development initiatives and to increase private sector commercialization of SBIR-funded solutions. To learn more the DHS SBIR Program, visit the DHS SBIR Program Portal: https://sbir2.st.dhs.gov

NEW CATALYST VIDEO EXPLAINS DHS FUNDED INTERWORKING RESEARCH

If you have been following Catalyst over the past year you know that Catalyst has won a contract with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to research Interworking requirements between Land Mobile Radio LMR and Long Term Evolution LTE Networks. This Interworking solution will be required to support the transition to FirstNet(tm) and other LTE networks that will support mission critical networks, including Mission Critical Push to Talk MCPTT.

We completed this research in November 2018 and announced the results of this research project at IWCE in March 2019.

While at IWCE, we filmed a few short videos about our IWCE announcements, including one on Interworking. You can watch this video on the Catalyst YouTube Channel by clicking HERE. It’s 4 minutes long, very informative, and a good overview.

We also wrote a White Paper explaining this research effort. It’s 6 pages long (a short read!!) and you can download this white paper from the Catalyst web site HERE.

We’re proud of our work supporting mission critical communications and FirstNet(tm). Stay tuned for more information on this topic as we’ll have ANOTHER MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT in the next few weeks.

New Videos from IWCE Highlight Catalyst Innovations

 

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IWCE was a success for Catalyst. Each year it presents Catalyst with a new opportunity to showcase our innovative technology. This year was especially fruitful on that front – we introduced the results of our Interworking Research Grant, and also demonstrated new capabilities with our existing product line.

New innovation was definitely evident with our ICE™ and InterLoc™ products. ICE™- our Incident Commander Element – is achieving unprecedented market acceptance and we are on track to deliver more than 50 units in 2019, and we are seeing RFP’s for many hundreds more. ICE™ is unique in the marketplace and solves a critical problem for fire ground personnel by re-establishing communications between fire personnel and Dispatch during fire incidents.

InterLoc™, our location services solution, is also receiving renewed interest, especially as users consider the advantages of an LTE based communications system like FirstNet™. While InterLoc™ is applicable to today’s land mobile radio portable and mobile radios, the increased data transmission capacity of LTE networks is expected to drive increased interest in capturing location.

At IWCE, Catalyst engaged a videographer who filmed three short videos about Catalyst innovations, and two of them are introduced here. They are up on YouTube and you can catch ICE™ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2grpwtk5ho&t=6s and Interloc™ at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ty2R5Mo5Zw&t=1s

Both are short (2-3 minutes) and provide an excellent overview of these innovative solutions. After viewing, you’re sure to have questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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.