Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sepura Contributes to Success of World’s First Cross-border TETRA System

We take it for granted that when we move around the country our mobile phones connect to the nearest mast, or we go abroad and our phones automatically connect to the network, with tetra, this is not as easy, but this article is about a test that Sepura completed connecting two TETRA networks in Norway and Sweden, interesting stuff.

Sepura radios have successfully participated in interoperability trials for the world’s first cross-border TETRA communication system, linking RAKEL and Nødnett, Sweden and Norway’s public safety networks.

More than 350 first responders were involved in the trials, which took place in Meråker, close to the Swedish border, in a crisis response exercise involving public safety users from both countries.

The cross-border system utilises TETRA Inter-System Interface (ISI) functionality to connect networks together, effectively allowing users to roam to another network. This allows first responders to use their radios in both countries â€" vital for smooth collaboration in emergency situations.

The initiative to strengthen co-operation between national emergency services started in 2013 with the EU-funded Inter-System Interoperability project, designed to improve the ability to respond to natural disasters and security threats. The RAKEL and Nødnett networks are scheduled to be ready for bi-national operational use in early 2017.

Sepura’s STP9000 hand-portable radios and SRG3900 mobile radios were used by both Swedish and Norwegian emergency services during the exercise, although all Sepura radios â€" including the new flagship SC20 range â€" meet the technical requirements of the ISI system.

“This is one of the most advanced multinational radio communication projects in Europe,” said Tariq Haque, Product Manager for Sepura.

“After two years’ development, bi-national interoperability has become a reality, bringing cross-border mission critical communication s to Sweden and Norway.

“We are extremely pleased to have played a part in this ground-breaking event.”



Source - http://www.tetra-applications.com/33643/news/sepura-contributes-to-success-of-world-s-first-cross-border-tetra-system

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Virtual Reality Coming to Your In-Flight Entertainment?

2016 was the year of the Virtual reality headset, we are seeing the first versions of a technology that can, and possibly will, change our lives, much like the smart phone has. VR has the potential to improve our Games, TV programmes and Movies and allow us to experience things and places better. This article is about how your in-flight might be improved by a VR headsets.

No one likes flying during the holidays. Between having to leave two hours ahead of time and getting through security, just getting to your flight feels like a trip in itself. And then you get on the plane and have nothing to do for three hours except watch reruns of Friends on the little TV in front of you.

That’s probably about to change, thanks to VR. For a little while, of course, passengers can plug into their own Samsung Gear VR sets and tune out, but airlines might be offering their own complimentary variety so you can forget you’re stuck on an airplane.

A French start-up, SkyLights, is developing the tech. It’s a headset with a six-hour battery life, and it comes with noise-cancelling headphones. The headset looks pretty sleek and simple, because they’re made to be: There’s none of the neater interactions you get with an Oculus or Samsung headset. It really is just a movie beamed right into your face. You’ll be able to watch the newest 2D and 3D movies, and the set comes with 128 GB of storage â€" about 40 movies. Weighing only slightly more than half a pound, it’s easy to visualize the headset propped on the back of the seat in front of you, and after paying the fee, you can flip it on and en joy hi-def movies right in front of your face.

The headsets are being tested in France right now: XL Airways became the first headset to offer a commercial version of the headset to passengers last week, for $16 per flight. SkyLights has also partnered with AirFrance and Airbus. Content-wise, there are partnerships in the works with 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks.

The general lack of viable in-flight entertainment has been plaguing the airline industry for a while; broadband Internet is an extra cost (roughly $10 per flight, depending on your airline), and the movies and TV they show are typically outdated.

It wasn’t until recently that airlines began attempting to match the broadband speed you’d find on the ground. (As of last year, you’d get speeds of aroun d 3.1Mbps, as opposed to the roughly 30Mbps that smartphones on the ground are capable of). Since so many people use their own devices for entertainment, airlines are in desperate need of upping their Wi-Fi speed. But they also need ways to entertain their customers in an inexpensive manner, without the heavy screens and cables that come with TVs. Virtual-reality headsets â€" light, not-too-costly, and wireless â€" could offer a way for airlines to draw their customer base back in. But there are challenges: VR headsets are a relatively new and untested technology.

“Airlines are difficult players to deal with because they are risk-averse and slow to innovate,” David Dicko, SkyLight’s CEO, told the Times.



One potential problem for in-flight VR in your face is the nausea it causes. VR (even if it’s just a film) can be very disorienting, and it’s not hard to imagine people getting sick from it on a moving plane. Oculus’ health and safety documentation is a laundry list of potential concerns, from warnings of dizziness and nausea to seizures and sweating.

Another potential issue could be that hundreds of folks tuned out to a VR movie with noise-cancelling headphones have, at the least, limited awareness of the outside world. That means slowness to react in plane emergencies â€" another potential lawsuit on an airline’s hands.

For now, we’re skeptical that VR headsets will take off as in-flight entertainment in the U.S. anytime soon. Early adopters might be eager to try them â€" but they also have their own headsets that they can use for free. Customers would have to pay over the price of a movie ticket, the technology is unstudied when it comes to users’ health, and everyone has thei r own phone or tablet to entertain themselves. We love the idea, but, as Dicko noted, the airlines are a pretty risk-averse industry. They should prioritize Wi-Fi bandwidth first (and make it at least cheaper), which is what the majority of customers undoubtedly want.

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine a more Black Mirrorâ€"esque image than a hundred people, arranged into rows, their heads leaning back, eyes hidden behind a headset, plugged in to a world that isn’t there.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Rifleman Radio is indispensable

When the army are on the battlefield, the equipment that they carry and the weight of it is paramount. Most two way radios are one of two things, light and easily breakable, with limited power, meaning limited range or heavy and the opposite to the above, Robust and able to transmit at a lengthy distance. The current development for a 2 channel that’s able to receive and transmit voice and data is an interesting concept. This article, that can originally be found here, give you more of the story.  

Nearly two years after the award of the Rifleman Radio contract, I made an appeal for new thinking by both the defense acquisition corps and the defense industry that now bears repeating.

Twenty-two months ago, the need for the Rifleman Radio was obvious as it is today. It provides infantry units with a relatively small and lower cost software-defined radio capable of transmi tting voice and data, such as maps, images and texts. The technology that defines this “workhorse” tactical radio was continuing to mature, resulting in today’s Rifleman Radio being far more reliable and capable than the LRIP-ordered radios from even three years ago.

This maturation process was being driven by ongoing investments in radio technology made by the defense industry, including Thales and Harris Corporation, the two companies selected by the Army to build the Rifleman Radio.

At that time, I noted that success in the Defense Department's new “Non-Developmental Items” or NDI strategy for the Army’s HMS program would require three things:



  • People. Bringing the right people together from three key groups for meaningful engagement: those defining the capabilities; those acquiring the capability for the government and industry; and those who have to deliver the capability to the Warfighter.


  • Dialogue. Creating ethical opportunities for face-to-face discussions with industry (not RFI dialogues) about the state of technology innovation and what is feasible to provide in a reasonable time and at a reasonable price.


  • Strategy. Building a shared understanding that this new NDI marketplace for tactical radios that requires industry to invest their own money to develop products will be one that delivers greater and greater capabilities over time, in other words, iteratively.




Where are we now? 

The Army is currently working to develop requirements for a 2-channel variant of the Rifleman Radio, a significant step in the Rifleman’s continuing evolution. The fundamental 2-channel communications capability â€" whether handheld or manpack variants â€" represents the future of tactical communications.

Two-channel capabilities for the small-unit leader radio like the Rifleman will meet the Army’s evolving tactical communications needs, with its ability to receive and transmit voice and data simultaneously, passing data to and from command to the unit.

The 2-channel Rifleman Radio will provide new capabilities without adding weight from extra radios and batteries. In short, it will provide the capability of two radios without burdening troops with lugging around two radios.

Viewed from a technical perspective, however, a 2-channel handheld radio represents an exponential leap in terms of complexity â€" it bears no relationship to the notion of “fusing two 1-channel radios together.”

Even the 2-channel HMS Manpack represents a tremendous technological leap forward, though it came with fewer space, size, power and weight limitations than the much smaller handheld Rifleman undoubtedly will. In short, the 2-channel Rifleman Radio will be a tall mountain to climb.

The future Rifleman 2-channel

The 2-channel Rifleman is an achievable reality, however, and speaking for Harris, we’re already well on the way to delivering this capability. The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOF) Tactical Communications (STC) 2-channel handheld radio being developed by Harris for special operations forces is leading the way to this future.

The STC radios are able to operate in the harshest environments and are specially designed to meet rigorous requirements. The STCs are small, lightweight, multiband and multifunction, with multi-mission capability to enable SOF teams to communicate over multiple channels simultaneously.

The Harris STC will provide the ability to receive ISR full-motion video and signals-based threat information. These handheld radios also will have built-in backward interoperability to communicate over legacy networks, and will be upgradable to integrate new capabilities as requirements evolve.

Although the Army’s requirements are still coming toget her, the 2-channel Rifleman most likely will trade fewer features for less cost. That said, there are many technical attributes related to the 2-channel capability that are likely to be applied from the Harris STC to the next iteration of the Rifleman.

The important takeaway here is that the Army’s continued commitment to evolving tactical communications has led industry to sustain its investment in advancing capabilities â€" and that formula has brought the 2-channel handheld much closer to reality.

Whether it is the STC or 2-channel Rifleman, the coming wave of new communication capabilities are the result of persistent innovations in myriad radio components: chip design, software, battery life, power consumption and antennas, to name a few.

As I pointed out in January 2015, the development of the Rifleman Radio would represent just th e first iteration in the Army’s modernization of tactical radios ― a commitment that would deliver even more revolutionary capabilities over the next decade. But this will only happen if the Army maintains its end of the bargain by assuring industry that ongoing investments would be rewarded with purchases of the end products.



If BBP 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 continue to be nurtured and “take root,” these radio technology capabilities will continue to evolve with each measured investment making possible continuing progress. Such an active NDI marketplace will ensure industry remains committed to R&D â€" and the beneficiary of this healthy dynamic is the warfighter.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What Is The Best Way To Pick a Radio Earpiece

When choosing a radio earpiece, there are several factors that should be considered. A radio earpiece should not only aid in communication it should also protect the user’s ear against cumulative ear damage that may eventually result in ear loss. Below are the factors that you should consider when buying a radio earpiece ;

1) Clarity of communication

The most important reason as to why you have a radio is for clear communication and this is what your radio earpiece should enhance. Although there are several radio earpieces out there, many of them use bone conduction when transmitting the user’s speech meaning that they heavily rely on vibrations of one’s skull as they talk. This does not help much in ensuring that the communications are clear especially when one is on the move.

You should therefore go for a system whose in-ear microphone does not use bone conduction and this will enhance the sound clarity. Such a system can even transmit speeches when one is whispering and this comes in handy especially when in an environment where secrecy is very crucial.

2) Comfort

It is very important to select a system that you feel comfortable with most importantly when you are to wear it on your head. Note that, you will probably be wearing the gear for long hours and that is why it should be of lightweight and should not in any way interfere with your eye wear or helmet.

Avoid heavy, sweaty and coiled tube earpieces that are very uncomfortable and will cause ear fatigue. Instead, go for a radio earpiece whose microphone is built into the earbud itself. Such earpieces come in various shapes and sizes and can even be customized to fit the specific needs of a user. Note that, military-grade materials are specifically designed to be of lightweight.

3) Durability

Durability is a very important factor that should be considered when choosing a radio earpiece. You obviously don’t want to be wasting your time and money going back to look for another earpiece just because the one you chose did not last. This is why it is very important to select a system that is durable and has been tested for rugged use of a soldier or a SWAT officer. Go for one whose manufacturer is experienced in manufacturing earpieces that can withstand water, dirt, shock and even extreme temperatures.

4) Ease of use



Your radio earpiece should be easy to use because you can’t afford to mess up with the push-to-talk or the on & off buttons especially when on the move. Your gear should immediately fit into your actions with minimum effort. Look at the operational and the ergonomic features of the various radio earpieces and make sure that all its features are both of the right sizes and in the right places.

5) Hearing protection

Claims related to hearing loss and its related disabilities is on the rise among police & military veterans and this has led to the need for hearing protection for officers. Note that, hearing loss occurs cumulatively over time and it is irreversible. This is in addition to the fact that it has been associated with cognitive decline and that is why even the minor hearing loss can have a huge impact in the course of time. Select a radio earpiece that not only ensures effective communication, but also the hearing safety of the user.

6) Situational awareness

An earpiece is basically meant to keep you focused and keep your hands free. You should be aware of what is happening in their surrounding and that is why a radio earpiece should allow one to hear sounds that are outside, to stay alert with their surroundings.

In order to have full communications (just like one would have without anything in their ears), it is wise to choose a radio earpiece that has an external microphone. There are systems that even enable you to adjust volume of the external microphone and this ensures that you are aware of the happenings in your surroundings.

7) Modularity & Compatibility

There are several systems that are available out there and you should look for one that fits your requirements. As mentioned above, some of them can be customized to fit an individual user’s specific needs so you can never run out of options.

A radio earpiece that has a modular connector is good as you can change it to match even a different radio without having to replace the entire system. Some systems can even go with both earbuds and over-the-ear earpieces so depending on your needs, select the appropriate system.

8) Affordability

Many years ago radio earpieces cost £100 and upwards, these days you can get a D-ring earpiece for less than £15 and an acoustic tube for about £25. Bone conductor earpieces that were previously and expensive piece of technology, can be yours for about £40.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Offering workers hearing protection options

Much Like Protecting your sight or looking after your health, your hearing should also be protected, this article tackles hearing protection within the workplace and what type of earplugs are best, Enjoy.



OSHA regulations dictate we offer a “variety” of hearing protectors to noise-exposed workers. What is best practice for providing a variety while keeping inventory to a minimum?

Per CFR 1910.95(i)(3), “Employees shall be given the opportunity to select their hearing protectors from a variety of suitable hearing protectors provided by the employer.” But does “variety of suitable hearing protectors” mean two or 10, earplugs or earmuffs, different colors or different sizes?

The wrong approach is to choose a variety based on factors that have no effect on protecting hearing, including the published noise reduction rating. Some safety managers offer several different large foam earplugs that are yellow, green and orange â€" mistakenly assuming they meet the “variety” requirement and not realizing that a significant portion of their workforce will never achieve an adequate fit with a large foam earplug. In those cases, their supposed “variety” actually limits the number of workers adequately protected.

This bad assumption is often codified into company safety policies that require a minimum NRR: “Approved hearing protectors must have an NRR of at least 32 decibels,” or similar criteria. By definition, that typically means a large foam earplug. Despite the higher NRR based on 10 laboratory test subjects, workers with smaller ear canals will never achieve an adequate fit with those large foam earplugs to stop noise-induced hearing loss.

What are the factors that affect good fit of an earplug?



  • Size: Like a cork in a bottle, an earplug that is too large or too small will never achieve an acoustic seal to protect hearing. Offering a variety of sizes significantly improves the percentage of employees obtaining a good fit.


  • Shape: Ear canal openings may appear round, oval or slit. A foam earplug often fills an oval or slit opening better than pre-molded earplugs.


  • Ease of insertion: Some workers have difficulty rolling or inserting foam earplugs due to lack of mobility. For these workers, an earplug with a stem may be easier to insert.




Based on thousands of fit tests administered to workers in the field, the following four earplug styles provide a selection that would adequately protect nearly every worker:



  • Large foam earplug


  • Smaller foam earplug


  • Large reusable earplug


  • Smaller reusable earplug




The good news is that offering a variety does not necessarily increase cost. Buying 1,000 earplugs of one style or 250 earplugs of four different styles is fairly equivalent in cost. But the bigger variety significantly increases the probability that more workers will be adequately protected.

Many worksites adjust their inventory based on results of their fit-testing of hearing protectors. By reviewing which earplugs repeatedly provide the best fit, these companies identify the gaps or duplications in their offering and can adjust accordingly. Sometimes, this means adding a smaller-size earplug, but many times companies find they can remove some less-effective earplugs from their inventory. It’s not necessary to carry a dozen different earplug styles.

Finally, any offering of hearing protection needs a hands-on training component. How can a workers determine whether their ear canal is large or small, round or oval? It’s impossible to view your own ear canal opening in a mirror. A quick glance by a safety trainer can be of tremendous benefit in helping workers select the right earplug the first time.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Army to Launch Another Competition for New Soldier Radio

In the modern world the army has to have perfect communications, from coordinating attacks to communicating with other platoons, on the battlefield it really could mean the difference between life and death. This article plans to find the next Military radio.

U.S. Army tactical radio officials plan to launch a competition for a new handheld radio next year that would give soldiers twice the capability of the current Rifleman Radio.

The Army currently uses the single-channel AN/PRC 154A Rifleman Radio as its soldier handheld data radio. It runs the Soldier Radio Waveform, which small-unit leaders use to download and transmit maps, images and texts to fellow infantry soldiers in a tactical environment.

If they want to talk to each other, they often rely on another single-channel handheld -- the AN/PRC 148 MultiBand Inter/Intra Team Radio, or MBITR, which runs the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio, or SINCGARS, for voice communications.

The Army plans to release a request-for-proposal in 2017 for a two-channel radio that will allow soldiers to run the Soldier Radio Waveform, or SRW, for data and SINCGARS for voice on one radio, according to Col. James P. Ross, who runs Project Manager Tactical Radios.

The change will mean that soldiers will no longer need the 148 MBITR and be able to rely on the new, two-channel radio for both data and voice communications, Ross said.

"We know industry can meet our requirements. … We know it's achievable," he said.

The move represents a change in strategy for the Army since the service awarded contracts in 2015 to Harris Corporation and Thales for a next-generation version of the Rifleman Radio.

"We went out with a competition for the next generation of the [Rifleman Radio]. Two companies, Harris and Thales, competed," Ross said. "We went through testing, and we were on the verge of being able to buy more of them when the Army said, 'Our strategy now is two-channel.' "

The Army had planned an initial buy of about 4,000 Thales AN/PRC-154B(V)1 radios and Harris AN/PRC-159(V)1 radios, according to Army program documents for fiscal 2015.

"We will not be taking action on those," Ross said.

The current Rifleman Radio was developed as part of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, or HMS program. HMS radios are designed around the Army's tactical network strategy to create secure tactical networks without the logistical nightmare of a tower-based antenna infrastructure.

It's also a key part of the Army's Nett Warrior system. It hooks into an Android-based smartphone and gives soldiers in infantry brigade combat teams the ability to send and receive emails, view maps and watch icons on a digital map that represent the locations of their fellow soldiers. The concept came out of the Army's long-gestating Land Warrior program.

The Army purchased about 21,000 Rifleman Radios under low-rate initial production between 2012 and 2015.



Army officials maintain that are enough single-channel, handheld radios already produced under the low rate initial production that are sitting waiting to be fielded. The service plans to field another two brigade combat teams per year with the single-channel Rifleman Radios through 2019.

The Army will conduct testing of two-channel radios in 2017 and early 2018 and then down-select to one or two vendors sometime in 2018, Ross said. Operational testing is scheduled for 2019 and fielding will begin in 2020 if all goes as planned, he added.

For now, the Army intends to field four BCTs a year with two-channel handheld radios, Ross said.

Small-unit leaders would then be able to retire the MBITR radio from their kit -- a weight savings of about three pounds, according to Army officials at Program Executive Office Soldier.

"One thing the PEO Soldier is very passionate about is weight -- driving that weight down that the soldier carries," said Lt. Col. Derek Bird, product manager for Ground Soldier Systems, which helps oversee the Nett Warrior program.

"If we can cut three pounds off a soldier by taking two radios and shrinking it to one … that is a big deal."

Army to Launch Another Competition for New Soldier Radio

In the modern world the army has to have perfect communications, from coordinating attacks to communicating with other platoons, on the battlefield it really could mean the difference between life and death. This article plans to find the next Military radio.

U.S. Army tactical radio officials plan to launch a competition for a new handheld radio next year that would give soldiers twice the capability of the current Rifleman Radio.

The Army currently uses the single-channel AN/PRC 154A Rifleman Radio as its soldier handheld data radio. It runs the Soldier Radio Waveform, which small-unit leaders use to download and transmit maps, images and texts to fellow infantry soldiers in a tactical environment.

If they want to talk to each other, they often rely on another single-channel handheld -- the AN/PRC 148 MultiBand Inter/Intra Team Radio, or MBITR, which runs the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio, or SINCGARS, for voice communications.



The Army plans to release a request-for-proposal in 2017 for a two-channel radio that will allow soldiers to run the Soldier Radio Waveform, or SRW, for data and SINCGARS for voice on one radio, according to Col. James P. Ross, who runs Project Manager Tactical Radios.

The change will mean that soldiers will no longer need the 148 MBITR and be able to rely on the new, two-channel radio for both data and voice communications, Ross said.

"We know industry can meet our requirements. … We know it's achievable," he said.

The move represents a change in strategy for the Army since the service awarded contracts in 2015 to Harris Corporation and Thales for a next-generation version of the Rifleman Radio.

"We went out with a competition for the next generation of the [Rifleman Radio]. Two companies, Harris and Thales, competed," Ross said. "We went through testing, and we were on the verge of being able to buy more of them when the Army said, 'Our strategy now is two-channel.' "

The Army had planned an initial buy of about 4,000 Thales AN/PRC-154B(V)1 radios and Harris AN/PRC-159(V)1 radios, according to Army program documents for fiscal 2015.

"We will not be taking action on those," Ross said.

The current Rifleman Radio was developed as part of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, or HMS program. HMS radios are designed around the Army's tactical network strategy to create secure tactical networks without the logistical nightmare of a tower-based antenna infrastructure.

It's also a key part of the Army's Nett Warrior system. It hooks into an Android-based smartphone and gives soldiers in infantry brigade combat teams the ability to send and receive emails, view maps and watch icons on a digital map that represent the locations of their fellow soldiers. The concept came out of the Army's long-gestating Land Warrior program.

The Army purchased about 21,000 Rifleman Radios under low-rate initial production between 2012 and 2015.

Army officials maintain that are enough single-channel, handheld radios already produced under the low rate initial production that are sitting waiting to be fielded. The service plans to field another two brigade combat teams per year with the single-channel Rifleman Radios through 2019.

The Army will conduct testing of two-channel radios in 2017 and early 2018 and then down-select to one or two vendors sometime in 2018, Ross said. Operational testing is scheduled for 2019 and fielding will begin in 2020 if all goes as planned, he added.

For now, the Army intends to field four BCTs a year with two-channel handheld radios, Ross said.

Small-unit leaders would then be able to retire the MBITR radio from their kit -- a weight savings of about three pounds, according to Army officials at Program Executive Office Soldier.

"One thing the PEO Soldier is very passionate about is weight -- driving that weight down that the soldier carries," said Lt. Col. Derek Bird, product manager for Ground Soldier Systems, which helps oversee the Nett Warrior program.

"If we can cut three pounds off a soldier by taking two radios and shrinking it to one … that is a big deal."