In the fourth and final installment of our short series On the Radio with Rob, emergency communications administration specialist Rob Radtke returns to discuss communications in public-safety, public service, and high-end commercial applications.
Contact Rob or any of our experts to discuss custom two-way communications and wireless security-technology solutions in St. Louis, Southeastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Chicago, San Antonio, and Houston.
Mark: Hi, and welcome to the family! Today, we're joined again by Rob Radtke in Houston, Texas for the fourth and final installment in a short series we're calling "On the Radio with Rob."
Hi, Rob, and thanks for joining us again. Today, we're set to wrap up this informational series, and we're going to discuss communications in public safety, public service, and high-end commercial applications; is that right?
Rob: Yeah, Mark, and thanks for having me; I appreciate it. So what I'm going to talk about today is something that is industry-specific in the communications universe called P25, or Project 25, and it really... it goes back to the late '90s and into the early 2000s when there was a lot of issues with communications and interoperable communications, which essentially means that one agency is able to talk to another and no matter where those agencies are. Some of this actually came out of the September 11th Commission and all of that — there was more of that kind of thing needed — but this was discovered a long time ago. And there's an organization called APCO — and that's the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International — and they worked with several other groups including the the NSA and the DoD to come up with a standard that eventually came to be known as P25, or Project 25. And, essentially, what that did is it created a standard for public safety, for public service — so think, you know, electrical companies and municipal electrical outfits. You know, your... even sometimes your refuse collectors or your garbage men, or, you know, any of those — like public utilities... things like that. And even like oil refineries and some other ones will use Project 25 because of its ability to utilize both intrinsically safe radios — which means they're safe in dangerous environments like, you know, high-vapor environments or, you know, explosive vapor environments... things like that — as well as the ability to apply encrypted security that is as close to military grade as possible with respect to encryption, and also to utilize data across that same network as opposed to just simply, you know... just simple two-way communication; you can also send text data, location data depending on your equipment — things of that nature. So it's designed and has evolved since then to create a standard that allows us to — in the communications world and in public-safety and public service — to utilize one specific type of technology. In Europe, the... in something like 50 or 60 countries , there's another... there's a different — just a slightly different — standard called TETRA, or the terrestrial radio standard, and it's very similar, although a little bit a little bit cheaper of a technology than... but it's... it does a very similar thing, so it's something that's been recognized for a while as being necessary. But it's also... it's, you know... P25 systems are growing, and in some places it's just... smaller municipalities — things like that — didn't always have access to them, but they're becoming more available. And the devices to attach to those networks are becoming cheaper, which is definitely a good thing. And, you know, with Warner and Voceon, we do quite a bit of P25 work, with communications centers, and, you know, police departments, and large-scale customers that need the kind of benefits that P25 systems can provide. And also there are open interfaces that allow... like Common Air Interface, which allows a type of... specific type of content to be shared over radios. And you can... it will go between manufacturers. So that's one of those things that — in the radio business, sometimes you'll have one manufacturer that can't talk to another — and that was meant to... P25 is meant to open that up a little bit. And there are other things that you can do with it: data network interfaces, and you can connect them to computers or telephone system networks. So, someone... something that you might have seen, you know, in old TV shows — and, you know, "Patch me through on the radio!" Well, it was a little different than what it showed; it was a little bit futuristic of the... a little bit of future license there. But P25 makes that significantly easier to do. And, it's... although it's not done frequently, it makes it a lot more possible. And it's... there are future phases of P25; we're in phase two, generally speaking, now. And it's... there are some future phases that are yet to be finalized. And we don't know where, entirely, it's going to go, but what we can... what we assume is that, you know, your public-safety personnel will have full access of... a full suite of network access over P25 devices. And, so network bandwidth and all that will make all the difference. So there's a there's a lot of... a lot in the future. And phase two, especially, talked about trunking... it talks about trunking and focuses on trunking, which means you've got a lot of... essentially, a lot of different access and a lot of different channels in a single pipe, and you don't need the same level of infrastructure. So it makes it a little bit more cost-effective, and the operators can do a little bit more and be safer in the process.
Mark: All right! Well, thanks for that, Rob. Considering all that, what would you say to our viewers who are interested in a custom P25 solution of their own?
Rob: Well, if, you know... if they're looking for something that will give them the ultimate standard in reliability and capability, then you can reach out at warnerfamilybrands.com. Talk to me or any one of our communication specialists, and we can we can get you what you need. If you're already currently utilizing a P25 system, we also sell network infrastructure and install that, as well as P25 radios of most major manufacturers.
Mark: All right! Well, thanks again, Rob. I appreciate your time on this whole series; it's been helpful. And thank you all for watching. That's it for now! Stay tuned for more news and views you can use.