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Hendon Publishing

First Responder Radios—the simpler, the better

Advances in Project 25 narrowband interoperability and equipment compatibility go a long way toward providing public servants with the functionality and reliability they need to perform their duties effectively. But if radio operation is complicated, confusing or time-consuming, it can jeopardize the mission.

The Human / Machine Interface

There are compelling reasons for designing a first responder radio to be easy to operate. When a radio is easy to use, it’s easy to quickly turn recruits into competent users. Even seasoned veterans benefit from an easy interface—one that leaves them free to carry out their primary duties in high-stress scenarios rather than manipulating their radios. Creating an easy-to-use radio requires an enormous amount of field experience and feedback—based on human nature and real-world conditions. Thales radios are a prime example.

Seeing How Easy It Is

The keypad and display screen on the front of a radio are important user interface elements. Rather than using cryptic blinking numbers to convey information, the Thales radio displays plain English and readable icons that give vital data at a glance, without menu navigation or button pushing. Here’s what it looks like:

Programming, Made Simple

Another example of Thales’ user-friendly thinking is the PC Programmer. The model of the industry, it comes with a manual few will ever need to open. Thanks to the simplicity of the software, programming Thales radios can be accomplished in a matter of minutes while others can take many hours. Programming a channel at the scene of an incident is also extremely easy with Thales radios. The actual programming for a new channel takes a minute or less. Programming authorization is assured by a password system that a radio technician can use to restrict access.

Published in Public Safety IT, May/Jun 2007

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