Raytheon Company announced on Monday an extension of its Interoperability Communications Suite of products with a new technology that allows first responders in emergency situations to interact and communicate when and if they are without access to their traditional land mobile radios (LMRs).
The application, which is being demonstrated at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) annual expo in Minneapolis from August 20-22, allows authorized individuals and first responders to use PCs, tablets and smartphones as new "virtual radios."
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"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," TJ Kennedy, director of Public Safety and Security for Raytheon's Network Centric Systems business said in a statement. "Responding officers can now establish direct voice communications with officials and experts who aren't on the public radio system, thereby providing valuable, real-time collaboration."
This new application enhances traditional communications through the LMR public safety network. When in the network, first responders can use conventional radios but when they are not within coverage zones they can now opt to use other devices, including PCs and smartphones, through which they can communicate.
The application enables the responding unit to establish direct voice communications with commanders, officers and other users in real time. Also, for those individuals within LMR coverage range, this technology allows them to carry on non-essential side conversations without tying up LMR channels that are needed for critical incident communication.
"These devices essentially become 'virtual radios' with the new application and greatly reduce communications gaps for first responders," Kennedy said in a statement. "It also allows personnel to reach back to their home network from anywhere in the world that they have PC, tablet or smartphone access."
As part of the Company's Interoperability Communications Suite, the new application expands on offering interoperability between LMR radios, landline and VoIP phones, P25 systems via ISSI, and 4G/LTE. The product, which touts a touch screen-capable, Web-based interface, allows its users to initiate calls between each other or opt to have operators patch them in through radio links.