When it comes to First Responders, the last thing you want to do is have your hands tied up with phones. Keeping your hands free to protect and defend is essential. However communication to keep coordination is also essential. The use of Land Mobile Radio [LMR] systems with Push to Talk [PTT] solutions is how first responders communicate. Today each organization uses disparate systems and a variety of devices. Pryme specializes in making Push To Talk peripherals designed to work with most LMR devices. Building for First Responders has special requirements such as rugged, water – proofing, and other agency specific solutions.
Talking with David George (Pryme’s President and Chief Engineer), we discussed his history as a radio engineer and the need for Push to Talk [PTT] solutions over cellular.
George says, “In recent years, public safety users have been adopting push-to-talk over cellular (PoC), driving the development of more ruggedized devices similar to what they were using on their LMR radios, as well as many new PoC app compatible wireless PTT accessories.”
Now if any of my readers have followed me from my days in VoIP, you would know that Cisco acquired Dynamicsoft, specifically for it’s push to talk capabilities in support of Sprint/Nextel. However, when it comes to today’s most popular cellular phones the ability to deliver PTT capabilities with wired accessories has some hoops to manage; particularly with Apple’s iPhone. Pryme has solved this problem by using the iPhone’s interface (accessory connection) and imbedded micro-controller along with some special sauce software to make the push function work without interfering with other native functions (i.e. phone control, voice assistants, shutter controls, etc.) but still allowing normal phone call operation.
“Although Bluetooth wireless PTT products are still a mainstay, first responders often find this unacceptable due to pairing issues and device charging,” said George. “Wired accessories are more reliable but had the PTT operation issue, but Pryme has developed a solution to the PTT problem with our new PICO™ Wired Surveillance Kit with a PTT button that reliably accesses many PoC applications on smart phones or other devices without Bluetooth”
In the future David George sees the opportunities for first responders to communicate and use more data centric capabilities using FirstNet’s broadband LTE network. He believes we will see additional peripherals and equipment which will provide first responders with functions never imagined such as: isolating gun sounds, streaming body cameras, and systems using facial recognition systems, sensors, location tracking, biometrics, etc.
At this year’s IWCE event, the emphasis was most certainly on First Responders and the FirstNet network, but there are also many commercial and industrial users of two – way radio systems as well. Pryme currently has over 5,000 different products available. If you are looking for Heavy Duty two-way radio, cellular, or tablet push to talk accessories, you can look at other companies, but I would check out Pryme first!