Catalyst and the Harris – Tait Relationship

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Harris customers wishing to migrate from their legacy systems to Tait radios now have an elegant migration solution. Since Catalyst has developed Dispatch and Interoperability for EDACS via XG-75M, XG-100M, Opensky via M5300, and P25 via XG-75M, XG-100M and CSSI, and for Tait, DMR Tier III via Wireline Interface (AIS or Application Interface Specification) and Conventional P25 via Wireline Interface (DFSI or Digital Fixed Station Interface), seamless interoperability through our Intellilink gateways can be achieved.

This can be accomplished without a console! Of course, if you’re looking for a console that integrates the whole system, we have you covered here also.

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What do you know about AppComm?

Once upon a time, the most popular functions of phones were calling and sending texts. Today, mobile applications are powerful and popular. The first Apps on first generation mobile phones – at least those with small, monochrome displays, date back to the end of the twentieth century. Typically, they were small arcade games, ring tone editors, calculators, calendars, and so forth.

The beginning of the new millennium saw a rapid market evolution of mobile content and applications. Operating systems for smart phones (Windows Mobile, Symbian, RIM, Android, Mac iOS), are open to the development of third-party software, unlike the conventional programming environment of standard cell phones.

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Fast forward to today and public safety and … Apps. Ever heard of AppComm? AppComm is APCO International’s online Application Community.  The website tracks a collection of mobile applications related to public safety and emergency response for use by the general public and first responders.  AppComm is also a forum where public safety professionals, the general public, and app developers can discuss and rate apps, identify unmet needs, and submit ideas for apps they’d like to see built.

AppComm segments Apps into 9-1-1, Alerts, EMS, Police, Fire, and Other. There are Apps for both the general public and for First Responders. Most are free, some charge a small price. You can’t download Apps from AppComm. You still have to go to Google Play or the iTunes store to download the App. However, AppComm lists over 180 Apps that have been developed for the public safety marketplace.

There is a terrific forum on AppComm to present ideas for public safety Apps. This part of the website explores ideas for developers who want to build and app for 9-1-1, Public Safety Field operations, including guidelines for police, fire and EMS Apps, and there’s a section where AppComm presents ideas for Apps that could be useful to the community.

Check out AppComm http://appcomm.org/ when you can and learn about one new frontier of the Apps world – Public Safety!

 

That’s a lot of Gear!

 

Our Shipment to the Honolulu Police and Honolulu Fire Departments, where Catalyst supports these First Responders with our critical communications Dispatch Consoles. This is a hardware upgrade we’re executing for them – A total of 7 pallets, approx. 2,708 lbs. 36 gateway computer servers at 8 radio sites, and 33 consoles at 4 sites.

And, some of our lucky techs get a trip to Honolulu to support this installation. Work! Work! Work!

 

 

Catalyst and The Burning Man

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100 miles north of Reno, in the Great Basin area of northern Nevada, lays the Black Rock Desert. The region is notable for its paleogeologic features, as an area of 19th-century Emigrant Trails to California, as a venue for rocketry, and as an alternative to the Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah, for setting land speed records.

It is also the location for the annual Burning Man Festival.

Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary community erected in the Black Rock Desert. First held in 1986, Burning Man 2016 was held between August 28 and September 5, 2016.

At Burning Man the community explores various forms of artistic self-expression including experimental and interactive sculpture, building, performance, music , art and other mediums, often inspired by the yearly theme, chosen by organizers. Participation is a key precept for the community. Close to 70,000 people attended the 2016 Burning Man Festival.

A crowd of that size needs – temporarily – safety services commensurate with a city the size of Lynchburg (pop.78,000) and the Bureau of Land Management(BLM), who manage and protect the Black Rock Desert lands, looked to Forest VA’s own  Catalyst Communications Technologies for their safety and administration Radio Dispatch needs. On short notice, Catalyst built and installed a Dispatch Operations center with 6 console positions that could communicate with fire, law enforcement, EMS, BLM Staff and Burning Man staff organizers during the 10 day Festival through a radio network of eight tower sites.

Catalyst implemented an unique design concept for the Dispatch system. BLM wanted a system they could easily deploy, pack up, and re-deploy year after year in their temporary command center. To simplify setup, Catalyst installed a Dispatch Console that included a monitor, computer, speakers and microphone assembled as a single unit. The unified console system drops into a storage box as a unit and can be re-deployed simply next year. The computers that control each of the base station radios were similarly designed for easy implementation, using new, compact computers in a simple to deploy rack.

During the Burning Man Festival, radio dispatch was in operation 24 x 7 to process radio communications; everything from vehicle registration and license checks, to ambulance calls, to law enforcement. Next year, Burning Man Festival attendees can expect safe and reliable radio communications thanks in part to technology developed right here in Forest VA from Catalyst Communications Technologies.

Harris Tait Partnership provides new opportunities for Catalyst

Earlier this month, Harris and Tait Communications announced an exclusive exclusive agreement between the two companies, including integrating the two vendors’ distribution channels.

Under the agreement, Harris becomes the master exclusive distributor for all of Tait’s Picture1products, including Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) and Project 25 (P25), in North America. The announcement comes at the end of Harris’ DMR agreement with Hytera, whereby Harris was reselling DMR equipment from Hytera under the Harris name.

Harris and Tait are in the middle of their integration rollout plan, and it will be interesting to learn how the two companies products are positioned vis-a-vis each other, especially in mixed networks. This is where Catalyst can provide a major role for customers looking to take advantage of the new partnership.

One strong application for Catalyst is with current EDACS customers wishing to migrate to TAIT DMR. Since Catalyst has intelligent user interfaces to both Harris and Tait radios, including AIS, DFSI, CSSI, & Control Station Interfaces, these radios can exist on a single IP network managed with Catalyst Consoles. And, 2016-08-29_1035 Catalyst Interoperability solutions provide a migration path for customers who wish to move from EDACS to DMR, EDACS to P25 Conventional, Etc. with or without Catalyst Consoles.

Another strong use case for Catalyst solutions is with Tait Conventional P25 radios.  Catalyst Consoles and Interoperability solutions control Tait DMR Trunking Systems and Tait P25 conventional base stations today. The same cannot be said of the current line of Harris Consoles, including Symphony(r).

The industry should be pleased with the partnership, as consolidation can often simplify service and solution choices. Knowing that strong third party solutions that complement these partnerships exist and enhance application capabilities is especially helpful to customers.

APCO 2016

A really successful APCO 2016 last week in Orlando FL. We showed lots of great technology to help First Responder communications, met more great people in the public safety space, great meetings, and lots of follow up from interested organizations.

Here are some pictures of the booth and a little flavor of this trade show.

 

Catalyst’s Patent Application will help First Responder Critical Radio Communications

Today at the APCO Show in Florida we announced that we have a patent pending for our invention of a system to allow an Incident Commander to coordinate personnel from disparate units that are using incompatible and different communication devices.

Our patent application describes an innovative process for combining field deployable dispatch and control of radio systems with various control capabilities of radio communications protocols. We believe that this innovative intellectual property will combine the benefits Catalyst technology with standards based radio communications protocols in a way that will uniquely improve communications between First Responders during an Incident.

The technology is particularly powerful as it includes innovative methods for determining when a target communications device is idle or busy and, if busy, managing the audio to prevent the loss of syllables.

Catalyst at APCO -New Tech to Show Off

Described as a first for public safety radio technology, Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc. will demonstrate routing the Unit ID from legacy and current subscriber radios to the P25 subscriber unit’s display. This innovation leverages the messaging capabilities of the P25 Digital Fixed Station Interface (DFSI) standard to deliver Unit ID information to a device manufactured by RELM Wireless Corporation, and then on to P25 subscriber radios using the P25 Common Air Interface (CAI) Standard. This is the first time legacy radio Unit ID’s have been available to P25 subscriber radios without expensive, limiting infrastructure.

Routing Unit ID’s between different manufacturers and different frequencies is an important capability for public safety P25 users and a technology breakthrough. During public safety incidents involving multiple organizations on different radio systems, including multiple P25 frequency bands, or in direct mode, it is often critical that first responders know exactly who is speaking over the radio. Similarly, when an organization is transitioning from a legacy radio system to P25, first responders need to know to whom they are talking. The transmission of Unit ID’s enables a new level of communications capabilities previously unavailable to First Responders and others requiring critical communications.

The technology development accomplished by Catalyst is an innovation breakthrough, as it is radio manufacturer agnostic and infrastructure independent. The technology allows for the capture of the Unit ID of legacy radios from a broad range of manufacturers using signaling like SmartNet, EDACS, LTR, and MDC 1200, as well as more recent protocols like DMR, NXDN, and P25, across various frequency bands, and routes them all the way to the display of portable and mobile P25 radios in VHF, UHF, and 800 MHz, regardless of the P25 manufacturer.

The demonstration at the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 82nd Annual meeting will take place in Catalyst Booth #1063 throughout the day on August 14 & 15 at the Orlando Convention Center.

And, we’ve issued a Press Release on this important technology. You can read the Press Release on our web site here.

Maintain Dispatch Autonomy and take advantage of Regional Public Safety Resources – The Wake Forest Story

For Wake Forest, it started in 2007, when Forsyth County and the City of Winston-Salem Wake Forestcompleted a trunked digital 800 MHz public safety grade radio network and offered to lease radio frequencies to Wake Forest. The department accepted the offer because using the same radio system allowed interoperability, and soon its police and EMS transmissions were on the 800 MHz system.

As the system was used, however, gaps in radio coverage began to appear on campus and became more apparent daily, particularly when the radios were used indoors. Many of the school’s concrete and brick buildings were impenetrable by the 800 MHz radio waves, so the radios were often inadequate when the officers found themselves needing to use their portables indoors.

To solve the problem, Wake Forest investigated having their own radio system, however they did not want to give up access to the regional 800MHZ service.

An article here in Campus Safety Magazines describes the innovative solution – from Catalyst, of course!