In an emergency, everyone knows communication among various emergency services is critical and can be the difference between life and death. While proven to be effective, current systems such as Land Mobile Radio (LMR) can still leave gaps in the lines of communications. A new mobile app developed by Raytheon aims to close some of those gaps by enabling first responders to communicate without LMR.
Raytheon Company developed a mobile application for PCs, tablets and smartphones that allows first responders to interact and communicate without the use of land mobile radios (LMRs). As a part of Raytheon’s Interoperability Communications Suite, this new mobile application allows authorized personnel to use tablets and smartphones as “virtual radios.” Raytheon demonstrated the new application at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 2012 annual conference and exposition in Minneapolis.
“This versatile mobile application allows first responders to communicate over the data network when they are out of LMR coverage range or when a redundant form of voice communication is needed,” according to TJ Kennedy, director of Public Safety and Security for Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems business. “Responding officers can now establish direct voice communications with officials and experts who aren’t on the public safety radio system, thereby providing valuable, real-time collaboration.”
Raytheon’s application also allows a commander to monitor and communicate, through his / her PC or smartphone, with a responding unit, even when the commander is out of the LMR coverage area. For officers within coverage range, it lets less important side conversations occur over the data network, reducing non-essential radio traffic and freeing LMR channels needed for critical communications.
Raytheon’s Interoperability Communications Suite expands the company’s industry-leading product offering, providing interoperability between LMR radios, landline and VoIP phones, P25 systems via ISSI, and 4G/LTE. Media control server operators control and dispatch to the system via a touchscreen-capable, Web-based user interface. Users can initiate conversations between one another, or request the operator tie them into radio links.
Rather than replace existing communications tools, Raytheon’s software is designed to complement the traditional methods used to facilitate communication between government agencies and emergency workers. “These devices essentially become ‘virtual radios’ with the new application and greatly reduce communications gaps for first responders,” Kennedy said. “It also allows personnel to reach back to their home network from anywhere in the world that they have PC, tablet or smartphone access.”