Lte | P25 | 2020-11-16

Motorola Solutions Helps to Address Australia’s Most Complex Public Safety Challenges

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Motorola Solutions is launching APX NEXT radio in Australia that includes viQi, a first of its kind, public safety virtual assistant that enables users to quickly manage radio controls through simple and intuitive voice commands.

As Australia takes careful steps to re-open its borders and economy, public safety personnel have continued to serve on the frontline throughout the nation’s lockdown.

This year has delivered extraordinary challenges for Australia’s public safety agencies, from managing safety and physical distancing in the field, to maintaining interoperable communication across state borders during the intense pressure of natural disasters as well as cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

Motorola Solutions is launching APX NEXT in Australia: a next-generation, mission-critical Project 25 (P25) public safety radio with LTE for enhanced communications and secure, data-centric applications.

The smart radio features ViQi, a first of its kind, public safety virtual assistant that enables users to quickly manage radio controls through simple and intuitive voice commands. The highly rugged smart radio is also built to military standards, is fully submersible and has a touchscreen that can be operated in any weather and while wearing gloves.

Motorola Solutions vice president and managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Con Balaskas, said the purpose-built smart radio is designed to combat the unique challenges posed by Australia’s tough public safety environment.

“Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communication has always been a first responder’s lifeline. That’s never more apparent than when disaster strikes and teams depend on instant, reliable voice communication to safely manage emergency response,” Balaskas said.

“APX NEXT increases both the value and reach of reliable, mission critical communication, providing interoperable access to voice communication as well as essential application services to pinpoint the location of officers in the field, collaborate via multimedia services and help to keep people and communities safe,” Balaskas said.

“With first responders facing new challenges including the need to maintain safety and social distancing in the field, ViQi enables them to control the radio hands-free using voice commands. This helps to ensure they can protect their focus on what’s happening around them at all times”, he said.

The smart radio is one of the newest mission-critical P25 radio offerings in Motorola Solutions’ purpose-built APX portfolio. With embedded LTE connectivity, the radio provides a range of application services to increase safety and productivity, with rich data capabilities and extended voice coverage to improve users’ situational awareness in the field.

“APX NEXT was created after more than 2,000 hours of extensive field research and testing with numerous law enforcement agencies,” said Scott Mottonen, Motorola Solutions senior vice president of Products.

“In today’s highly challenging public safety environment, we know that first responders need their technology to deliver reliable communication at all times as well as allow them to work with their eyes up and hands free in any situation.”

The purpose-built smart radio designed for emergency services recently won two Good Design Australia Awards - one for the radio’s design and features and another for the APX NEXT Ownership Experience, which provides seamless management and support for the entire fleet of radios deployed into the field.

APX NEXT was also named in Fast Company’s Top 10 Product Innovations of 2019.

APX NEXT APPLICATION SERVICES

The new smart radio uses LMR for mission-critical voice communications and LTE broadband to power new application services including:

  • ViQi: With ViQi, first responders can control key features of the radio via voice command. ViQi Virtual Partner, available from 2021, will enable radio users to retrieve information from remote databases. For example, saying “ViQi, run a number plate” to retrieve information from back end systems using the smart device’s artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • SmartConnect: APX NEXT detects when it is leaving P25 coverage and automatically switches to LTE broadband, ensuring continuity of PTT voice communications. It then switches back to LMR when the signal returns without the need for user intervention.
  • SmartLocate: An officer’s location data is automatically sent over broadband to a dispatcher’s mapping console, providing dispatchers with up-to-date location information as fast as every 3 seconds. Leveraging broadband to send frequent location updates frees up your valuable LMR system resources.
  • SmartMapping: Built on the same platform as CommandCentral Aware, this application service provides precise location information in a map view on the radio’s display. For example, a police officer can see the location of other officers as icons on a map, quickly locate officers in distress and tap on the icons to send alerts or communicate with colleagues via the radio.
  • SmartMessaging: A multimedia communication tool allows users to securely share videos, pictures, texts and voice notes across extended teams. A dispatcher, for example, can send pictures of a suspect to a group of officers in a specific location, or videos can be shared with a group of officers before they arrive at the scene of an incident.
  • SmartProgramming: The radio’s software and configuration data can be rapidly updated over broadband, even when a police officer is using it. This means APX NEXT users spend less time at the station and more time in the field.