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Motorola Offering Beefs Up Public Agency Communications

Motorola unveiled services and products Monday designed to beef-up the ability of public safety agencies to operate in emergency situations. Two services enable public safety officials to communicate in crisis events while the third solution gives smaller public safety units the sophisticated features previously available only to large public safety operations.

Motorola said it will distribute MeshNetworks Enabled Architecture (MEA) for inclusion in systems sold by Motorola and its reseller network. MEA is a self-forming, self-healing mobile broadband network with position and location capability "MEA's self-forming networking enables first responders to create an instant incident data communications system by simply turning on their radios," said Nick Rendone, vice president of Motorola's Broadband Solutions Operations, in a statement.

Users equipped with any Motorola-enabled device -- including PDAs and laptops -- join in creating an ad hoc broadband network that can operate in harsh conditions in the absence of an existing radio infrastructure. Each MEA-enabled radio functions as a router/repeater for the other radios extending the network's range. MEA operates in the 2.4 GHz band and Motorola said the MEA capability can be extended to cover the 4.9 GHz band in the future.

At the same time, Motorola said its new software-based Soft Switch Radio Network (SSRN) will give different public safety agencies the capability of communicating with each other over different systems and frequencies. SSRN utilizes an IP-based design that operates across different voice networks and offers distributed control points, which helps eliminate single points of system failure. SSRN also permits users to immediately replay voice communications.

In a statement, Chuck Jackson. a Motorola vice president and director of system operations, said: "SSRN simply redefines the concept of the gateway switch. Until now, the issue was having to accept the limitations of a specific switch. SSRN erases most of those limitations. It responds to the two key concerns of public safety agencies everywhere -- capability and cost." Jackson works in Motorola's Communications and Electronics unit.

Finally, Motorola said its new Digital Justice Solution Select (DJSS) for small- and mid-sized agencies will be available later this year. The Windows-based technology will enable smaller agencies to quickly access and deploy standards-based computer-aided dispatch, records management systems and mobile data computing systems.

The low-cost DJSS features standard pre-configured options.

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