Submitted by Bill Witt
From August 14, 2016 through August 19,2016 I attended the APCO (Associated Public-Safety Communications Officers) 82nd Annual Conference and Expo and also MTUG Meeting (Motorola Trunk User Group) in Orlando. While at the Conference I was able to attend sessions on many different topics such as FirstNet the Public Safety Broadband Network which should be awarded to a vendor for development sometime around November. But even after the Bid has been awarded it could be a year or so before it is in place and ready for use, there is still a lot of work to be done to get guideline and policy in place for use. LMR (Land Mobile Radio), Tower Construction and Maintenance, and Encrypted Talk Groups and Interoperability and also how to grow a radio system without impacting operations. With Knox County E911 getting ready to start installing a new P25 digital radio within the next few months all the information and knowledge that I came away with will be very beneficial in making the new system the best it can be for all of our users.
I was also able to see some of the newest equipment and latest technology from some of the leading vendors in Public Safety. With Knox County installing a P25 Radio System and after talking to several radio venders there are many options and choices for Public Safety and non-Public Safety users to look at which could result in reduced cost for some departments. There is also technology being developed so cellular carrier and Public Safety can work together as another avenue for communications.
While in Orlando I attended the annual MTUG meeting (Motorola Trunk User Group) this is where Motorola Users come from across the county to discuss issues they may be having with products they are using with department heads from Motorola and also see and discuss new products Motorola is working on. Some of the new products are the release of the APX-8000 Portable Radio which has many new features such as Integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Multi-Band, Multi-Mode, Dual-Sided Noise Suppression Mic. Motorola will also be releasing a APX-8500 Mobile this week.
Motorola is working on a lot on new technology some which are available today such as Emergency Find Me which is a feature where Bluetooth-enabled beacon signal can guide other Bluetooth-enabled APX radios within range to assist the user in distress. They are also working on many other future uses for Bluetooth like heart rate and blood pressure measurement thru the radio to monitor users during high stress operations. Also they are working on a future concept Virtual Reality Command Center, System Management, Dispatch Solutions and Interoperability Solutions. With all the technology available there will be more equipment and services coming to make the Public Safety Users safer and offer more technologies to help do the job better.