3 New Trends and 1 Long-Standing Tradition Predicted for 2016 and Beyond
Industry thought-leader Dave George, engineer and President of Pryme, which holds over 35 patents and was awarded the Communications Solutions Product of the Year, publishes the 4th annual trends forecast for communications and technology.
Trend #1: Convergence is now Commonplace
The IWCE 2016 Conference proved that the convergence trend and evolution toward network-based wireless communications, which Dave George predicted last year, was indeed becoming a reality. “At the end of the day, it’s really about the network, not the technology,” George said in a recent interview with RCR Wireless. “I’ve been seeing this coming for quite a while and the IWCE Show confirmed we were 100% right in our decision to invest our resources in wireless accessories.” A plethora of partnerships between major wireless carriers, software application developers and hardware manufacturers were prevalent at this year’s Expo. Pryme alone announced alliances with 4 different PTT application developers: Zello, Motorola’s Wave, Kodiak , ESChat. In addition, Pryme is developing projects with Cellular Carriers: AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. The devices being used may vary, whether Android or iOS phones, iPads/tablets, or land mobile radios, but in all cases, the end goal is the same—faster, farther and more secure wireless communications. PTT over Cellular (PoC) technology has begun extending beyond business enterprise to first responders. “These software apps facilitate instant worldwide communications via WiFi or Cellular Networks, without the limits of two-way radio channel range,” states George. Security doesn’t appear to be an obstacle either—Most PoC applications feature sophisticated encryption and can even be hosted on private, secure networks. For example, the US Government already operates such networks worldwide.
Meanwhile Bluetooth has been the driving force behind wireless accessories, mainly because of its wide acceptance and versatility. Long before anyone else, Pryme saw the need for specialized adapters that would give existing two-way radios Bluetooth capability and, unlike others, Pryme decided to invest in engineering and equipment allowing them to develop their own Bluetooth technologies. Although this investment was initially only for two-way radios, ultimately it put Pryme in an advantageous position. About 5 years ago, word of this technology reached the Belgian Police Department and they approached Pryme to develop a remote PTT device for PTT over Cellular application. Says George, “This marked the beginning of Pryme’s expansion from being a leading two-way radio accessory manufacturer to being the leading design, engineering, and manufacturing partner for PoC wireless accessories.” Today, Pryme may have the most comprehensive line of universally compatible, open protocol Bluetooth wireless headsets and accessories for Android or iOS cellular and two-way radio devices in the entire industry. In fact, JVC Kenwood recently announced new radios and software updates to existing radios with built-in Bluetooth, that will be compatible with PrymeBLU® (Pryme’s registered trademark for its Bluetooth product line) accessories.
Trend #2: Emergence of More Hybrid Equipment
Land mobile radio usage isn’t going away, but it is changing. The industry is already evolving and companies with foresight will take advantage of the many new product development opportunities that will arise. “The emergence of simultaneous LMR and LTE capabilities, along with PTT apps on smartphones, tablets and WiFi only devices, opens up a world of potential new products, such as more robust phones for industrial use, dual or triple band radios with LTE phones built inside, possibly even with a USB port on the side for uploading data, etc,” said George. “So if LMR, LTE or WiFi is the channel best suited to the user’s requirements , they can easily switch networks. It’s simply a matter of choosing the optimum ‘channel’ to communicate on.” Integrated systems are already in the works and new radio equipment will soon follow. As Dave George predicted last year, regardless of whether it’s voice or data, communicating the message is more important than the device or network used to transmit it.
As always, Pryme’s newest product introductions at IWCE were inspired by customer demand, but they were also an indication of the growing need for wireless in every field. One key example is Pryme’s set of three new Bluetooth Dual Muff Headsets for aviation/ground services, racing, construction, and other high-noise environments like crowd security and shooting ranges. Originally very popular as wired versions, this professional grade line now comes with built-in Bluetooth technology that has a range of up to 10-meters, 12+ hours talk-time, and dual pairs to both cellphones and two-way radios at the same time.
Trend #3: Long View—Merging Multiple Devices
As George likes to say “We stay ahead of the curve because we see the curve.” Communications convergence is here, but what’s down the road? “Fewer devices that do more,” predicts George. “One device will fulfill a combination of needs, whether it be communicating, internet, computing, body cam or more.” Case in point— Pryme is already assisting in the development on a new speaker mic with an LTE phone inside for those that prefer traditional looking equipment, but want advanced PoC communications capabilities. “It’s all about convenience and uninterrupted communications,” says George.
While in the midst of an interview with the UTC Journal at IWCE, George suddenly had an idea. He plugged a prototype of Pryme’s new iPhone compatible Heavy Duty Speaker Mic into his personal phone and, with the use of Zello’s app, was able to talk to his technical manager in their Brea California office from the show floor in Las Vegas making his phone look and act like a portable radio. “In the future you might never know when someone is speaking on a two-way radio, when in reality they’re using a phone,” said George. Like a kid in a candy store, Dave George has always loved electronics. He’s all the more enamored with the exciting times that lay ahead.
Trend #4: Value, Service and More Service
“This is the one trend that hasn’t changed and never should,” states George. No matter the product or provider, the value of premium quality, specialized customization, unparalleled service and affordable price points will always separate “trendy” from “permanent.”