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Analysis of radio systems for emergency services.

Research And Markets : 08 February, 2008  (New Product)
Report covers technology assessment and specification development for radio equipment used by emergency services personnel.
Research and Markets has announced the addition of 'Project 25 Radio-Phased Development - Assessment of Technologies and Markets for First Responders Radio' to their offering.

Requirements for public safety and homeland security mobile communications systems are rapidly evolving as a direct result of recent world events. Many government organisations are contemplating significant capital investment in upgraded communications systems while hoping, if possible, to leverage systems already in use. However, law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level have, over time, employed a range of independent and sometimes proprietary systems. These systems' differences have often times precluded fast and easy sharing of information between departments or even limited basic interdepartmental communications.

This report addresses issues that are important to our homeland security. It provides marketing and technology analysis of public safety radio, a necessary component of the homeland security infrastructure. The report addresses a phased approach to the development of P25 PSC (Public Safety Communications) radio; this approach allows to grateful migration from existing PSC networks based mostly on FM analogue technology, to modern all-digital technology.

Recent events in the US and all around the world showed that the existing public safety radio characteristics do not satisfy new requirements. In particular those events demonstrated that our first responders are not able to communicate with each other in a case of crisis. The decentralised structure of the public safety agencies and their desire to control means of communication inside of one agency without any planning to communicate with other agencies created a dangerous situation. This situation is characterised by:

- Absence of coordination between government entities to equip first responders with compatible radios and to create homogeneous networks.
- Absence of adequate redundancy to support emergency services communications.
- Absence of continuity of operation planning.
- Difficulties to fund new PSC networks.

This situation required immediate reaction, and governments of the civilized world were pressured to allocate significant funds to create the infrastructure for emergency services communications.

As public safety agencies evaluate their two-way radio needs for the future, many are reaching some similar conclusions:.

- Radio spectrum is becoming more congested.
- The demand for data transmission is more pronounced.
- Systems need increased functionality.
- Secure communication is a growing necessity.
- Incompatible systems prevent communications between different agencies.
- Improved voice quality is essential over more of the coverage area.

Government efforts resulted in gradual shifting from diversified technologies used in public safety radio to two standard technologies, P25 and TETRA. The first one was developed and deployed in the US and there are many countries around the world that are deploying it as well; and the second one was developed in Europe, and spread to the rest of the globe. As it often happened (good analogy is SONET and SDH technologies), P25 and TETRA, at the present time, are incompatible, but efforts are in a way, which may result in compatibility between these systems.

This report analyses phased development of P25 technique, its market and technological specifics. Particular, it provides details of:.

- Phase I: Vendors of P25-compliant equipment are shipping radios at the present time.
- Phase II: As the result of this development, P25 and Tetra radios may become compatible (development can take several years).
- Phase III (Project MESA): Further compatibility and performance improvements on a country or even global level.

The report provides results that are useful for first responders' organisations, technical department of security agencies and vendors of public safety radio.

Considerable research was done using the Internet. Information from various Web sites was studied and analysed; evaluation of publicly available marketing and technical publications was conducted. Telephone conversations and interviews were held with industry analysts, technical experts and executives. In addition to these interviews and primary research, secondary sources were used to develop a more complete mosaic of the market landscape, including industry and trade publications, conferences and seminars.

The overriding objective throughout the work has been to provide valid and relevant information. This has led to a continual review and update of the information content.

This report is important for the government agencies involved in the first response to critical situations. It is necessary for technical departments of such agencies to have a document, which in simple language explains radio technology and architectures of networks supporting public safety radios. They also need to have a picture of the market with the major players and their portfolios to select the right equipment.

For vendors, this report provides valuable information on competition. It also supports these vendors with the market assessment.
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