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Next generation IP-based smart Push-to-Talk communication device for public security

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - IPCOM (Next generation IP-based smart Push-to-Talk communication device for public security)

Période du rapport: 2017-07-01 au 2019-01-31

Paumax, doing business as “AINA Wireless”, is a Finnish developer of wireless communication devices for professional users of Push-to-Talk (PTT) over IP. Paumax aims to drive the convergence of Walkie-Talkie Radios with modern Mobile Broadband technology.
Mobile Broadband (Wi-Fi/LTE) offers a wide array of versatile usage: PTT, Video recording, geo-locating, emergency dispatch and other functions can be applied to public safety operations. Governments and businesses have invested billions into IP based communication from network infrastructure to smartphone PTT apps, yet innovation for the usability lag behind.
Even though smartphones can run versatile applications, in practice they are little useful for public safety officials, because their job requires them to stay hands free.
You cannot chase a criminal and operate a touch screen phone simultaneously. Remote-Speaker-Microphones are indispensable. For this reason many public safety authorities continue using Walkie-Talkie Radios for PTT - despite the high costs - and use a smartphone for anything else.
Paumax recently launched a Bluetooth Speaker-Microphone, solving the immediate demand from public safety. Designed as a remote control of public safety smartphone apps, it features multiple buttons for PTT, Emergency, and programmable buttons to assign tasks of an app to the remote device.
In continuation Paumax plans to further develop and commercialise a market-disrupting device that combines the resilience of a Tetra Radio with the versatility of smart technology: The IP Communicator. This handheld device will run any PTT app directly loaded onto the speaker-microphone and connects directly to a wireless network. This eliminates the need for smartphones, Radios and Bluetooth all together, takes full advantage of Mobile Broadband while maintaining decades of grown user habits. And it is capable of maintaining critical communications, even when commercial networks fail due to natural or terrorist catastrophes.
Below is the WP based progress of the project:

- Operating system build process defined and automatized via scripting
- Display and audio control applications design and skeletal implementation
- 3rd party application interface specified
- Test systems designed

- Macroboard (alpha) has been designed, ordered and manufactured
- 1-on-1 -board (beta) based on Macro board has been designed
- 1-on-1 -board is for trial usage and base for production HW
- Approved PWB release for certifications and sales demos will be ordered and manufactured once macroboard functionality is verified.

- All parts modelled in 3D to CAD system.
- Industrial design of IPCOM has been verified by manufacturing partners
- Simulation made from durability – drop tests from 2m height
- Production plastic injection mould verified and ordered

- Valuable market- and functional feedback from pre-piloting
- Negotiations with Airbus for white labelling IPCOM

- Sales force has been built.
- Active dissemination and communication of the IP communicator.
The foreseen trend on the market from Land-Mobile-Radios (LMRs) to IP/LTE based communication is faster than expected. In March 2017 FirstNet announced to award the mobile carrier AT&T with the building and operating of a nationwide first responder network in the United States. Motorola Solutions, a Paumax partner since January 2017, announced to acquire Kodiak Networks, the provider of AT&T’s current PTT solution. Simultaneously in the United Kingdom the Emergency Services Network (ESN) is estimated to launch in 2020. Both networks’ implementation lead to a decreased investment in radio networks, already in 2017 and sparked a discussion around needed technology. a public safety dedicated news page, wrote on July 7th of 2017 in an article titled: “UK public-safety LTE network targeted for completion in 2020, with LMR providing early direct-mode solution“ about the importance of a direct mode in communication. The direct mode is used when a network is unavailable and public safety officials transmit audio directly from one device to another. While this requirement seems to make a case to keep LMRs in use for quite some time after FirstNet and/or ESN have launched, the trend shows otherwise.
According to statistics from the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) online database the demand for spectrum to support U.S. land-mobile-radio (LMR) networks is at its lowest level since 2001, with the number of license approvals projected to drop by more than 50% since the 2013 narrowbanding deadline and by more than 40% during the past two years.
During the IPCOM project it crystalized that the Direct-Mode-Operation has become one key issue for public safety customers to transition from LMR to broadband communication. The initial plan by Paumax to use off-the-shelf Proximity Services built-in LTE chipsets wasn’t possible due to the fact that none of the major chip-makers launched such services. As a result Paumax developed it’s own proprietary DMO service which turned out to be a competitive advantage over others who were also waiting for DMO enabled LTE chips.
Investments and licensing for LMR are in rapid decline, yet the need for a certain communication styles maintains. The IPCOM project and its direct mode concept are therefore ahead of any competitive solution known to Paumax. And the demand for it is higher than Paumax has anticipated. Paumax will therefore pay an increased attention to the direct mode functionality in the development and also marketing efforts as a unique selling point (USP) at the launch of the world’s largest LTE/IP based public safety networks. The attention is currently still focused on the network and mission critical standards, therefore Paumax is spearheading innovation for the end-user-devices.