Motorola’s $261m upgrade to first responder radio network

Published on the 01/05/2018 | Written by Newsdesk


Motorola solutions radio network

The tech company will trial its push-to-talk solution and extend radio network access to more users via broadband...

At a cost of AU$261 million it’s a reasonably sized deal – the highest value per annum the business solutions division of the US tech giant has signed in Australia and one of its largest worldwide.

Serious money for good ol’ walkie talkies, no?

So what does it actually consist of? In addition to upgrading the Metropolitan Mobile Radio network – used by Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade – Motorola Solutions will provide “enhanced data services and incremental safety features” (read as GPS and location services, among others) as well as customised reporting about radio network usage delivered online.

Also part of the deal is a trial of Motorola Solutions’ software-based push-to-talk tech, which aims to extend radio network access to more users via broadband and a strategic interface to the Triple Zero emergency call and dispatch system. If the trial is successful, users will have access to more services and greater data-based capabilities over time.

“It’s the highest value per annum Motorola Solutions has signed in Australia and one of its largest worldwide.”

The network will also help the three agencies communicate with one another easily over the network facilitated by Motorola Solutions’ Melbourne-based control centre. Later this year, Victoria State Emergency Service, Corrections Victoria and Life Saving Victoria will also join the network.

The Metropolitan Mobile Radio network commenced operation in 2005 with the replacement of existing analogue radio systems with digitally encrypted voice communication for emergency services throughout greater metropolitan Melbourne.

Currently the network consists of more than 8000 portable and vehicle radio sets linked to over 70 base stations. With the managed service contract extended for another seven years, Motorola Solutions’ delivery of voice comms to the State of Victoria will stretch beyond 20 years.

With over 40 million push-to-talk voice transmission calls across the network in 2017, the deal requires Motorola to hit stringent availability targets to provide Victorian public safety agencies with a highly secure and reliable service.

“Emergency services depend on having ‘always on’, secure and reliable communications for their daily work,” says Motorola Solutions vice president and managing director, Steve Crutchfield. (The MMR core network availability for 2015-16 was 100 percent against a target of 99.95 percent.)

Crutchfield says the upgrade will keep Victoria’s emergency services “at the forefront of technology innovation”.

“For the past 13 years the MMR network has provided essential communications for Victoria’s first responders when they have needed it most. This includes uninterrupted coverage during Victoria’s tragic Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and reliable performance during many other major emergencies.”

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