I recently asked BearCom’s President & CEO, Jerry Denham (my boss) for his thoughts on the trends that will dominate two-way radio communications in 2012. Here is his list, with some background on each:
1. Narrowbanding will drive 2012 as two-way radio users strive to bring their fleets into FCC compliance.
The countdown clock on every page of the BearCom website says it all: Jan. 1, 2013 is coming soon. And despite years of advance warning and publicity, most two-way radio users have yet to make the conversion to narrowband (12.5 kHz) technology. The latest statistics show that some 52 percent of call signs still need to be narrowbanded, down just one percentage point from a month earlier.
BearCom has been a leader in educating users about the FCC mandate. Our Two-Way Radio Narrowbanding Guide is available free for downloading, and we’ve partnered with Motorola and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance to launch Narrowbanding.com, another important resource.
2. More users will gravitate to digital equipment to maximize the benefits of radio communications due to enhanced features that are present with a digital solution.
Our partners at Motorola put it this way: “Analog two-way radio proves itself every day in countless installations around the world. Today, a new platform is available to help you achieve new levels of performance and productivity. Digital technology enables that breakthrough. With Motorola MOTOTRBO, you can tailor a solution to meet your specific coverage and functionality needs. There is no need to rely on often undependable and always more costly public networks.”
Digital’s benefits include expanded digital voice, data, and control capabilities; lower licensing and equipment costs; advanced features; clearer voice communications over a greater range; static and noise rejection; enhanced battery life; and various data applications, such as text messaging and GPS location-tracking capability.
3. LTE will gain traction with public safety entities facing growing demands for speed and bandwidth for a wide array of solutions, such as voice, data, and video.
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is the subject of a Motorola white paper that says, “LTE is the primary technology being considered by public safety and government organizations for broadband applications in the foreseeable future. LTE is a standards-based technology that delivers something that many public safety and governmental organizations have been requesting for years: a cost-effective way to meet their broadband communications needs and one that gives them a greater selection of devices and applications.”
Motorola predicts that within a few years, LTE will make possible widespread availability of data adapters that will bring high-speed 4G broadband connections to laptops, in-vehicle modems that will create traveling “hotspots,” along with rugged handheld devices with advanced display and interface technologies.
All that adds up to a busy 2012. At BearCom, we’re looking forward to it!