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Mobile app turns smartphones into “virtual radios” for first responders

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August 24, 2012

Raytheon's new app turns computers, tablets and smartphones into “virtual radios” to allow...

Raytheon's new app turns computers, tablets and smartphones into “virtual radios” to allow emergency dispatchers to quickly mobilize help

In an emergency, every second counts, and communication between various emergency services and government agencies can be of critical importance. While proven to be effective, current systems such as Land Mobile Radio (LMR) can still leave gaps in the lines of communications. However, a new mobile app developed by U.S. defense contractor and industrial corporation Raytheon aims to close some of those gaps by enabling first responders to communicate without LMR. The app is part of the company's Interoperability Communications Suite which aims to enhance interoperability between LMR radios, landline, VoIP phones, and P25 systems via ISSI, and 4G/LTE.

Rather than replace existing communications tools, Raytheon’s software is designed to complement the traditional methods used to facilitate communication between government agencies and emergency workers.

“These devices essentially become ’virtual radios‘ with the new application and greatly reduce communications gaps for first responders,” said TJ Kennedy, director of Public Safety and Security for Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems. “It also allows personnel to reach back to their home network from anywhere in the world that they have PC, tablet or smartphone access.”

Raytheon's app allows the user to establish direct voice communications with architects, building engineers and other knowledgeable people who could provide valuable real-time information, without those people being required to access the public safety radio network via LMR—an improvement which could potentially make the difference between life and death.

The app enables a commander to monitor and communicate to a responding unit through his or her PC or mobile device, even when the commander is out of range of the LMR coverage. When commanders are within coverage, the app can still prove useful as it allows less important chatter to take place without using up valuable communications channels.

Raytheon hasn't yet clarified exactly with which devices its mobile app will be compatible, but the company's choice of words seems to indicate a desire to support multiple popular devices.

Source: Raytheon

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.

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2 Comments

Just the beginning of a great idea-bring it further and have tons of pertinent information available on command. Bravo.

zekegri
24th August, 2012 @ 07:27 am PDT

Yes, an excellent idea to bring to the people. It is very similar in concept to what licensed radio-hams have been using for several years !

professore
28th August, 2012 @ 06:11 am PDT
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