How to communicate with a Walkie Talkie Radio

It is a wise idea to consider learning how to use a two-way radio in communications. By so doing, one is able to improve their experience in using www.2wayradionline.co.uk . Over the years, a number of rules have been put in place to ensure that radio communications proceed more efficiently. These rules can be generalized as the etiquette for using two-way radios. Here are a few radio etiquette that should be considered when using a two-way radio:

Radio Etiquette Rules

It is important to bear in mind that English is the internationally recognized radio language. Users should ensure that they speak English when communicating with a two-way radio. However, there are exceptional cases where a user might be licensed to use other languages in radio communications.

It is not good etiquette to speak and listen to the person on the receiving end without allowing them time to finish what they are saying. This means that it is important to take turns when communicating with a radio. This is unlike the normal phone communication.

It is not good to interrupt someone. Rather, it is important to listen without interrupting other people. However, the only exception where one is allowed to interrupt is when they have some emergency information they would like to convey.

It is advisable not to respond to calls that one is not sure about. In such situations, it is wise to wait for call signs that confirm whose call it is before making any response.

It is wise not to ever transmit military, confidential, sensitive or financial information via a radio call. This is because radio communications can be tapped and be heard by the wrong recipients. Unless one is sure that their conversation is properly secured with high level encryption software, sensitive information should never be transmitted via a radio.

One should always perform checks on their radio to confirm that they are working properly. One should ensure that their radio battery is fully charged and its power is on. The volumes should at all time high. This will allow one to follow the conversation without strain. Additionally, one should ensure that they are within a range that can receive radio signals.

It is prudent to remember and memorize call locations and signs of radio stations and persons that one regularly communicates with. This is because name calling is discouraged in radio communications. People use call signs that are unique to everybody.

One should at all time think before speaking. This implies that one should not just say anything that comes in their mind but should carefully decide what to say. Communications should always be kept clear and precise. Additionally, one should not use complex sentences. Similarly, one should consider dividing long messages into shorter, separate messages for easy understanding. Abbreviations should at all times be avoided unless the receiving end understands the message.

Conclusion

When using a radio in communication, one should ensure that the voice is clear. It is wise to speak slowly and avoid shouting for clarity purposes. Radio messages should be kept simple, precise, and to the point. This allows brevity and simplicity in the entire conversation. As stated earlier, it is advisable to avoid radio transmission of confidential information for security purposes.

Extreme conditions no match for latest motorola solutions radio

We all know that Motorola produce the best two way radios and claim to be best in class, that can be backed up, by just using their products. This article (original can be found here) focuses on radios for the fire service, but as we all know they are well adapted for the police, ambulance and search and rescue teams.

Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) continues its legacy of designing best-in-class digital radio solutions for firefighters and other professionals who face extreme conditions with the introduction of the APX 8000XE two-way radio and APX XE500 RSM. The newest entries into Motorola Solutions’ award-winning APX portfolio of Project 25  (P25) digital radios have been developed using the company’s well-established practice of hands-on research with firefighters and other first responders who need the most reliable mission-critical communications to do their jobs efficiently, effectively and safely every day.

The APX 8000XE features all-band functionality and is a rugged P25 two-way radio that can be used in either analog or digital mode across 700/800MHz, VHF and UHF bands. Time is of the essence for firefighters and they can be ready in moments by programming the radio remotely via Wi-Fi and radio management software to operate securely on different radio networks, allowing them to quickly help neighboring counties during large-scale emergencies.

Motorola Solutions works closely with firefighters and other radio users to find out exactly what they need and the APX 8000XE is the latest example of that thinking. It features the trusted ergonomics of the APX XE radio series, designed for easy operation in harsh conditions. The right-sized radio has a large top display, exaggerated controls for gloved hands and a dedicated push-to-talk button. It also provides best-in-class audio with a 1-watt speaker, three built-in microphones and automatic noise suppression for clarity in the loudest of environments.

“The APX 8000XE is an all-band rugged and submersible portable radio made for firefighters,” said Lieutenant David Hudik, Elgin, Illinois Fire Department. “With Wi-Fi access, we can reprogram the APX 8000XE on the fly when we are providing mutual aid assistance out-of-state.”

Most firefighters use a remote speaker microphone with their radios and the APX XE500 RSM is designed specifically for demanding environments, whether combating a fire or providing medical services at the scene of an accident.

– With five strategically placed microphones and automatic noise suppression, the APX XE500  provides clear communications when worn on either shoulder, center chest, or over the shoulder

– It can be submersed in 2 meters of water for up to 4 hours

– It withstands heat conditions of up to 500°F (260°C) for up to 5 minutes

– A channel knob automatically controls the channels of the user’s portable APX radio

“With the APX XE500 RSM, I can completely control my APX radio without having to hunt under my bunker coat for it,” said Lieutenant David Hudik, Elgin Fire Department. “With improved water porting, you can carry the APX XE500 upright or upside down for fast water drainage while maintaining clear voice communications.”

“Customer input is essential to our design and the Elgin Fire Department was right at our side as we tested the capabilities of the APX 8000XE and APX XE500 RSM,” said Claudia Rodriguez, vice president, Devices Product Management, Motorola Solutions. “The latest XE radio means firefighters will be able to talk with other first responders at the scene and across municipalities and regions. The new rugged RSM means they can communicate clearly in the loudest fireground environments, including blaring horns and wailing sirens.”

His Grave Will Be Kept Clean: Ambassador of the Blues, B.B King Passes Away Aged 89

Internationally beloved singer, songwriter and guitar hero Riley B. B.B King passed away last year. He was 89 years old.

King was a celebrated figure in Blues music from the 1950’s onwards and remained popular both in concert and on record until the time of his death.

The future Blues Boy King was born on a cotton plantation in Itta Bene, Mississippi – not far from the Delta, in 1925. He began his musical career by busking on street corners for loose change, usually performing in as many as four neighbouring towns on any given Saturday night. Seeking his fortune, the young man hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee, with just his guitar, the clothes on his back and $2.50 to his name.

Whilst in Memphis, Riley stayed with his cousin Bukka (pronounced Booker) White, an established Blues performer who sharpened King’s already formidable musical instincts.

In 1948, B.B performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s KWEM radio show, which opened the door for him to perform at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and later to appear on all-black radio station WDIA. This led to King being given a regular slot on the station, beginning with Kings Spot and later evolving to The Sepia Swing Club. It was during this time that Riley’s stage name of Beale Street Blues Boy became shortened to the initials B.B.

During the 1950’s, a fight broke out between two men at one of B.B’s gigs. In the resulting fracas, a kerosene stove was knocked over, which set the place ablaze. B.B, dashed into the inferno to save his favourite guitar – an act that very nearly cost him his life. When he learned that the fight had been over the affections of a woman named Lucille, B.B named his guitar after the woman and, from that day on, all of his guitars bore the name Lucille.

King, now a local radio star as well as a very popular musician in his own right, soon had a number one hit on his hands with Three O’clock Blues, this set the boy from Beale Street touring the United States of America, something he would continue to do for the rest of his life.

Towards the end of the 1960’s, B.B found that his music was transitioning to a young, white audience that were eager to embrace his electric Blues sound. B.B, who had spent his professional life playing almost exclusively to black audiences, suddenly found himself receiving standing ovations and an unprecedented level of respect and appreciation from white audiences, as well.

When he recalled the times changing around him in the 2003 documentary film The Road To Memphis, produced by Martin Scorsese, he was legitimately moved to tears. His music had broken down racial barriers and ultimately won the hearts of people from all races, all walks of life.

When he opened for The Rolling Stones on their 1969 US tour, King’s international stardom was assured. From this point on, B.B King held a new ambition close to his heart; he wanted to be known, nationally and internationally, as the ambassador of the Blues.

In the 1970’s, B.B King was a big enough name to tour internationally, visiting Africa for a series of concerts that were filmed for commercial release as B.B King: Live in Africa. Throughout the next four decades, B.B toured the world, recording live albums in places as far afield as Japan, Great Britain and San Quentin State Prison.

King toured Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even visited the UK from time to time, where this writer was lucky enough to watch the late, great man ply his trade in front of an awestruck and mesmerized audience.

The list of guitarists influenced by B.B’s incendiary sound is a long and impressive one. Names include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King (neither are related to B.B) and Johnny Winter amongst many, many others. B.B King won at least 9 Grammy awards (among numerous other accolades), was honoured and admired by several American Presidents and touched a great deal of hearts into the bargain.

B.B King recorded 42 studio albums and many more live albums, including critically acclaimed masterpieces like 1965’s Live at the Regal, 1969’s Live & Well, 1970’s Indianola Mississippi Seeds and 2005’s birthday celebration album, simply titled 80.

Earlier this week, a procession of fans, musicians and well-wishers paid tribute to King’s memory. Walking through the streets of Memphis, a Dixieland Jazz band followed a black hearse down Beale Street, as local act The Mighty Souls Brass Band played, When the Saints Go Marching In in honour of a musical legend.

Later in the day, a tribute concert, featuring artists Bobby Rush, The Ghost Town Blues Band and Ruby Taylor amongst others, was held in B.B’s honour.

Upon hearing the news of B.B’s passing, US President Barack Obama sadly said, “the Blues has lost its king and America has lost a legend”.

King’s final studio album, 2008’s One Kind Favor, paid tribute not only to his own illustrious career, but also to an early influence of his, Texas Bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson. On the title track, B.B covered one of Lemon’s best-known songs, See That My Grave is Kept Clean. There really isn’t much else to say about the staggeringly significant life and career of Riley B. King, perhaps better known as The King of the Blues except that his grave will most certainly be kept clean and that his legacy will live on until time immemorial.

US Presidential Candidate Mocks Disabled Reporter

All-American nutter Donald Trump is back in the news again, this time for making fun of the disabled.

The would-be American President jerked his arms around and acted confused in order to mock disabled journalist Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital joint condition that severely affects his limbs, particularly in his right arm and hand.

One might argue that Trump was just doing an impersonation of an idiot (something he does very well) as a way of slighting Kovaleski’s reporting. From there, one could surmise that the whole thing has been blown out of proportion by an overly sensitive media, until one realizes that Mr. Kovaleski reported on Trump between 1987 and 1993 and that the pair have actually met face to face on numerous occasions.

So, why this latest outburst? Trump was once again using a mis-read article to back up a completely fabricated claim. In this reporter’s opinion, he really should try reading some of these articles ALL THE WAY THROUGH, RIGHT TO THE END, especially if he plans to continue quoting them in public.

Anyway, here’s the story. In 2001, during the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, then-Washington Post journalist Serge Kovaleski reported that Jersey City Police had “detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river”.

Apparently Trump was the only spectator to the “thousands” of Arab-Americans that he claims to have seen celebrating as the twin towers fell. There are no reports anywhere in the media that this rally (or anything even remotely matching Trump’s vivid descriptions) actually happened. Even the mayor of Jersey City has come forward to refute Trump’s bizarre claims, calling them “plain wrong”. Amazingly, Trump himself appears to have waited for 14 years before going public with this shocking sight that only he bore witness to.

BZZZD! Whoops, there goes my bullsh!t detector again!

Mr. Kovaleski’s current employers, The New York Times, have called his actions “outrageous” and, in retaliation, Mr. Trump has taken the fight to Twitter, calling the publication “dumb” and criticising their “poor” management, amongst other things.

Yeah, that’ll show em! How dare they stand behind a disabled employee who has been publicly victimised!

This new outburst was just the latest in a long line of such statements from what appears to be a very public mid-life crisis which has been offensive, painful, embarrassing and laugh-out-loud funny to watch, usually at the same time.

And you thought George Bush was a douchebag!

The Best Styles of Bluetooth Earpieces

Bluetooth technology has been designed for many different purposes and situations. Consequently, when people want to buy a bluetooth ear piece for a specific situation, there are some things that they will need to consider. Specifically, based on their specific situation and circumstances, they will need to review the best style of bluetooth earpiece that is available on the market today. Since there are different styles that have been made for for one or more reasons, it’s important for each individual to do their research to see which style can accommodate their needs. It is also important to note that the kind the person purchases must be comfortable so that they can wear them for an extended period of time and they fit the devices that they will be used for. Listed below are three of the bluetooth styles that’s currently offered by manufactures all over the United States and abroad.

Bluetooth ear pieces for Mobile Phones

Most people take their mobile phones wherever they go. To work, school, church, parties and all kinds of other events that they may attend. Because these phones have become commonplace in many environments, people have a need to handle them and talk to others when their hands are free. This is also a great reason for individuals who work in certain settings to make sure that they are buying the right style that will best fit their needs.

One specific style that some people may choose is the ear cradle style of headphone. In fact, this kind of bluetooth earpiece is idea for people who want to spend their time working out and performing all kinds of other extracurricular activities. People are also encouraged to buy this kind of style because they may be driving when they receive a telephone call from a family member. Or, they may be working at the job typing a memo or walking around taking care of wide hosts of other kinds of activities that are not conducive to holding a mobile phone by hand to the ear. Whatever the situation, this style of bluetooth earpiece technology is great for many different situations and purposes.

Bluetooth ear pieces and Headsets for Music Lovers

In addition to the cradle style for mobile phones, people should also review other styles as well. One specific style that is also functional in many different settings is the DJ over the head headphones. This style has been designed for the serious music lovers, especially those who can appreciate making distinctions in sounds and beats that come from specific musical instruments like the bass, violin, trumpet and other popular instruments. For those who like and prefer this kind, they will also find that this is one of the best styles for keeping out outside noises that normally interfere with a person’s overall entertainment experience. Also, because they are wireless, they are great for people who like to stay mobile during the day instead of remaining in a sedentary position.

Bluetooth Ear Pieces for IPODs

In some situations, people may want to use bluetooth technology with their IPODs. Therefore, they should consider buying an additional popular style bluetooth earpiece technology. This style is known to be very popular, specifically because it is similar to an actual earbud. An ear bud is also another excellent choice for people who want to remain both active and hassle free. Though this is a great choice for people who like to remain mobile in a wide variety of different situations, one of its main draw backs is that they tend to fall out of the individuals ear. Which means, they can also be lost since it lacks additional support to keep them stabilized inside the ear.

World Radio Day focuses on role of radio in disaster management

World Radio Day on 13 February brings attention to the role of radio in managing disasters and recovery in their aftermath.

Radio is recognized as a low-cost medium, specifically suited to reach remote communities and is especially effective in reaching people affected by disasters when other means of communication are disrupted. Terrestrial radio broadcasts are effective in providing timely, relevant and practical information to people who are confused and demoralised by the impact of a crisis. Broadcast information is particularly useful in situations where physical access is difficult and aid responders may take several days or weeks to reach affected communities.

Recent natural and man-made disasters are a major cause for concern to the global community. “In times of crisis and emergency, radio can be a lifeline,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “For people in shattered societies, or caught in catastrophe, or desperately seeking news, radio brings lifesaving information. This year, as we start carrying out the Sustainable Development Goals, let us resolve to use radio for human progress. On this World Radio Day, let us resolve to prove that radio saves lives.”

“Radiocommunication is indispensable in saving lives in the event of a natural disaster,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Collaborating and sharing experiences is critical in order to support national and regional preparedness, and ITU is deeply committed to facilitating rapid and effective response in emergencies.”

“Amidst the ruins and in the face of an emergency, the radio is often the first medium for survival,” says Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. “Its durability is an incomparable advantage, often enabling it to resist shocks and re-transmit messages of protection and prevention to as many people as possible, better and faster than other media, saving lives.”

New developments in radio technology and in the transmission and delivery of radio content, especially through mobile devices and through on-demand media platforms, further extend the means to engage disaster-affected communities. These digital innovations are increasingly important in delivering effective disaster preparedness and prevention, while reinforcing the importance of community radio services.

ITU has developed a number of standards for effective emergency radiocommunications, recognizing that direct communication via radio helps reduce the sense of isolation and helplessness experienced by crisis-affected communities. Recommendation ITU-R BT.1774-2 is the standard that relates to emergency warning systems for analogue broadcasting, which facilitates the use of satellite and terrestrial broadcast infrastructures for public warning, disaster mitigation and relief.

In addition, the 2015 ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) identified spectrum to facilitate mobile broadband communications for robust and reliable mission-critical emergency services in public protection and disaster relief (PPDR), such as police, fire, ambulances and disaster response teams. WRC-15 also reinforced protection to search and rescue beacons to uplink to satellites, such as the Cospas-Sarsat system, which has assisted in rescuing over 37,000 people worldwide since December 2013.

World Radio Day marks the anniversary of the first broadcast by UN Radio in 1946, when it transmitted its first call sign: “This is the United Nations calling the peoples of the world.” Ever since, UN Radio broadcasts have highlighted the principles of the United Nations to foster world peace and development. World Radio Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through radio, and enhance networking among broadcasters.

– See more at: http://www.tetra-applications.com/32088/news/world-radio-day-focuses-on-role-of-radio-in-disaster-management#sthash.WRnylSLy.dpuf

Motorola completes £700 million acquisition of UK emergency comms provider Airwave

Motorola has completed its acquisition of Airwave, the former provider of the mobile communications network for UK emergency services.

The acquisition was completed on a debt-free basis with a net cash payment of around £700 million, with a deferred cash payment of £64 million to be made in November 2018.

Motorola expects the acquisition to immediately contribute to non-GAAP earnings and free cash flow.

Airwave is headquartered in Berkshire, England, and employs roughly 600 people. It is owned by a fund of Australia’s Macquarie Group.

In late 2015, Airwave filed a legal challenge to the Home Office after EE became the preferred supplier to provide a 4G network to the UK emergency services. Motorola is the preferred bidder for user services to the emergency services.

Airwave complained about the procurement process and the inability of the cellular network to handle the traffic. Currently these services are provided through Airwave’s own terrestrial trunked radio, or Tetra network, which will cease to be a component of police radios.

The decision to move from Tetra has been criticised by some, including members of the Tetra + Critical Communications Association.

Advocates of moving to 4G cite alleged failures of the network during the 2011 riots.

“The acquisition of Airwave enables us to significantly grow our managed and support services business and reflects our commitment to the public safety users in Great Britain,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions.

“The combination of our years of experience as a trusted global leader in mission-critical communications and Airwave’s proven service delivery platform will provide Great Britain with innovative emergency services technology that enhances public safety today and into the future.”

This has been in the news for a while and it is a really smart move by Motorola, they have purchased the company that run all the communications for all the UK’s emergency services (tetra network) and manage all of the infrastructure along with that, so with the up-coming contract renewal and many of the phone companies sniffing around looking to capitalise, Motorola have shored up their position with this acquisition. We found this article here, where you can find a lot more on the story throughout the site.

The obituary of Batgirl actress Yvonne Craig

Yvonne Craig, the actress best known for her role as Batgirl in the 1960s Batman TV series, has died aged 78.

Appearing in the third and final series of the iconic, multicoloured adventure spoof, Craig’s portrayal of Batgirl was every bit as charming, self effacing and fun to watch as her on-screen co-stars Adam West and Burt Ward.

The creation of Craig’s iconic role was a rare example of synergy between the disparate words of television and comic book fiction. In the comics, a character called Bat-Girl (Betty Kane), who was designed as a love interest for Robin, had appeared at the beginning of the decade, but been abandoned by the series creators just a few years later. However, the new version of the character (this time with the civilian identity of Barbara Gordon), created by DC staffers Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino (at the request of editor Julius Schwartz and Batman producer William Dozier), was fresh, funky and fun, as well as an instant hit with the fanbase. The new Batgirl debuted in the comic books in January of 1967 and then in the TV show later that year.

Although the series was cancelled after season 3, Batgirl became an icon of 60’s television, as well as an integral part of the comic books, her four colour character formed, at least in part, by the spirited performance of Yvonne Craig.

The role came to define Craig and, in later years, she would admit to being surprised by the show’s enduring popularity.

“I really didn’t think we were making Gone With the Wind,” she once said. “Just an episodic TV series that would be over when it was over and then it would never rerun again”.

Instead, millions of people around the world enjoyed Craig’s performance, especially young girls, many of whom saw the character as a brave, empowering figure in an era typified by submissive female roles in film and television.

Craig was comfortable, if slightly demure, about being a role model. When asked about the subject later in her life, she simply said, “I meet women today who tell me that they grew up viewing Batgirl as an important role model. If they choose to know me in that context, well, I’ll take it.”

Initially trained as a ballet dancer, Craig worked at The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and used her skills as a dancer to perform most, if not all, of her own stunts as Batgirl.

Away from Gotham City, Craig also acted alongside Elvis Presley in two of the singer’s movies, It Happened At The Worlds Fair (1963) and Kissin Cousins (1964). She appeared in the third season of Star Trek as Marta, the Orion Slave Girl from Series 3’s Whom Gods Destroy and portrayed a ballerina in Austin Powers favorite movie In Like Flint (1967).

A prolific TV actress, Craig also appeared in episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian, Wagon Train, It Takes A Thief, Kojak, The Six Million Dollar Man and Starsky & Hutch, amongst (many) others.

In later life, Craig worked as an estate agent and then made a living in the prepaid phone card business, however she didn’t give up acting entirely and is perhaps best known by younger fans for lending her vocal talents to the Nickelodeon cartoon series Olivia.

In a heartfelt statement to Yvonnes many fans, Craigs family praised her resilience, sense of humour, business acumen and charity work. She will be missed.

Sepura Releases New SC20 Portable Radios

Sepura are masters of the tetra market, they have produced radios for many years for the emergency services. police and airport security, a forward runner for the digital systems we now see all around the UK. The SC20 is the new generation of Sepura radios ready for the modern day work force. We found this article on this website and thought that our readers would find it useful.

First orders of Sepura’s new flagship hand-portable radios, the SC20 series, will be shipped in February.

Shaped by user feedback, SC20 series hand-portable radios are resilient, intelligent and durable, providing intuitive operation and outstanding performance, even in the toughest conditions.

Broadband-ready, the SC2020 (380MHz-430MHz) and the SC2040 (403MHz-470MHz) combine the mission-critical security and advanced performance of TETRA with an optional second high-speed data bearer capability.

A new, powerful Class 3 TETRA engine is paired with a new receiver that surpasses the ETSI specification, a unique combination, extending operational range and stretching coverage into areas where it was not possible before.

The radios’ powerful 2W audio capability, enhanced by unique water-porting technology, allows for uncompromised audio clarity, even in continuous heavy rain. Uniquely, the SC20 series boasts IP66, 67 and 68 environmental protection rating, meaning that it is completely dustproof, submersible to a depth of two metres for one hour and impervious to jets of water. Its design also enables it to be easily cleaned by simply rinsing dust and dirt off under the tap.

Additionally, the radios’ high-resolution screen, the largest on the market today, is specifically designed to provide a richer user experience. The larger screen enables the display of more comprehensive data, suitable for future applications via high-speed data; it is also viewable in all light conditions, including direct sunlight.

“The SC20 has been designed to deliver the highest levels of robustness, endurance, audio clarity and power. It is designed to place and receive calls where it simply was not possible before,” commented Mark Barnby, Sepura’s head of product management – devices.

“This is the first product on our brand new technology platform. It is designed to meet the needs of mission-critical users today, whilst allowing high-speed data to be added in the future.”

Steve Barber, VP group strategy for Sepura, commented: “The SC20 confirms our vision for the future and demonstrates our ability to adapt to the fast-moving markets in which we operate.

“We continue to provide our global customer base with products that address their ever-evolving communication needs and the operational challenges they face every day. The SC20 provides undisputable proof that Sepura is going further in critical communications.”

SwiftKey launches symbol-based communication app for people who are non-verbal

Any technology that can improve peoples lives is always a technology that will be championed by us here, and if it is helping people with learning or speech difficulties then that is more incentive for us to bring it to our readers. This is current available on the google store for android devices and we are stating now that this should be on apple devices as soon as possible, the original article can be found on the verge website.

SwiftKey, the predictive smartphone keyboard company, wants to help people who are non-verbal communicate with others. The company launched an experimental symbol-based assistive app today called SwiftKey Symbol, which it says can be used to build sentences using images. SwiftKey staff who have family members with autism spectrum disorder came up with the idea for the tool, according to the company’s blog.

The app, which is free and available on Android, makes use of SwiftKey’s predictive technology to suggest symbols that might be used to finish a sentence. Outside factors like the time of day or the day of the week will influence these predictions, the company says. Users can also add their own images and use audio playback to read out to sentence to others.

Symbol-based communication apps like this aren’t new. Apps like Proloqui2Go and TouchChat also rely on pictograms to build sentences. But these tools can be expensive, and SwitKey says that its own take on the assistive app will be able to form sentences faster than the competition. “A lot of the current communication tools on the market are often too slow to select a particular image a child might choose,” the company wrote on its blog. “We realized that SwiftKey’s core prediction and personalization technology — which learns from each individual as they use it — would be a natural fit for people on the autistic spectrum who respond particularly well to routine-based activity.”

In the US, about two in 100 children have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. People with autism have varied needs, so it’s possible that this app could enhance communication for some people. We haven’t tried the app yet — but we’re eager to see what it can do.

Faulty communications along U.S.-Mexico border are America’s blind spot

We all know that mission critical communications are vital 24 hours a day and as this article shows that even a tiny lapse in communications can lead to chaos. Even the U.S government can’t keep their radio communications up-to-date on one of the most watched borders in the world, as we can see from the article below.

Put yourself in the shoes of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. You are patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, driving through desolate terrain, and in the distance, you spot movement. You head toward a deep ravine and step out of your vehicle when a shot rings out and you hear the zip of a bullet speeding past your head. With training and instinct, you dive for cover and draw your weapon, reaching for your handheld radio.

And the radio doesn’t work.

There’s no one to call, because you are in one of the many areas of the southern U.S. border that has no radio coverage. Out there in the ravine is a drug cartel “rip crew,” heavily armed and firing on your position, bullets punching into your vehicle until smoke is rising from the hood. If they come closer, you are outnumbered. If they flee, your vehicle is disabled, and they will disappear into the vast emptiness along the southern border, where they will likely fire on one of your fellow agents, should they encounter them.

That is the state of communications along many of the areas on the U.S.-Mexico border. When the U.S. Border Patrol needs it the most, they cannot communicate with anyone. With rising threats and political propositions, U.S. border security has again risen to the top of the public consciousness. There are calls for more border patrol officers and stronger fencing, for aerial and ground based vehicles and other technology. But the lifeblood of the border security apparatus is communication, and in some areas, communication is not possible.

“If there is one thing in securing America’s borders that hasn’t changed since September 11, 2001, it’s the inability to resolve the communications lapses and gaps along the border,” said Ron Colburn, the former National Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. “Here we are almost 15 years into this, and we still have not addressed this problem.”

One reason 343 New York City firefighters died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed was that their radios could not communicate with the emergency responders outside the buildings, who were warning the structures were about to come down. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission cited the need to create interoperable tools that allow first responders and law enforcement to communicate in the most unforgiving of environments.

And there are few environments less forgiving than the nearly 2000-miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Recognizing this, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a massive project to improve the communications capacity of officers along the U.S. border. It failed. In March last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that $945 million in taxpayer funding used to build radio towers and upgrade radio equipment has yielded little benefit and in some cases does not work as well as what Border Patrol agents were using before. The effort cost too much and was taking too long.

Colburn said that the state of communications today means U.S. Border Patrol cannot call for support in some areas. They cannot feed information from the field into the intelligence food chain, and they cannot receive images from manned or unmanned vehicles to know whether they are walking into an ambush or encountering a group of friendly forces.

Likewise, Border Patrol agents cannot communicate easily with other law enforcement agencies (like a local Sheriff’s office), nor can those law enforcement agencies run on-site biometric checks (e.g., fingerprints) of individuals they suspect may have recently crossed into the United States illegally.

“I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of the men and women of the Border Patrol,” said Colburn. “They understand the mission and they want to accomplish it, but they feel like they have been abandoned.”

Answering the Unanswered Question

Most Americans own a smartphone, which is a powerful piece of technology. Experts say it’s hard to understand how, in this age of technological innovation and advancement, the United States is not arming its frontline officers with the very basic capacity to talk to one another.

Part of the challenge is that we have not brought new solutions to this long-standing problem.

To advance the effort, the Border Commerce and Security Council (of which I am Chairman and CEO) helped bring multiple stakeholders to the table in December last year in Cochise County, Arizona, to see if an innovative application of several integrated technologies could solve these communications challenges. It was a Proof of Concept test that included the U.S. Border Patrol, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and a group of businesses with tools that can address a range of communications and intelligence challenges. What was tested is called the Field Information Support Tool (FIST).

FIST started in 2006 as basic research at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). NPS Information Sciences Research Associate James Ehlert said in 2010 that the goal was to create “an easy-to-use, inexpensive hand-held solution to achieving communications interoperability and a common physical and human terrain operating picture for both on-the-ground field collectors and tactical decision makers.”

The research question was, how can we use modern technology to allow officers in the field to talk to one another and to their superiors while also collecting and then acting on real-time intelligence?

“The intelligence aspect is that the local and federal law enforcement officers need to look at things from a risk-management perspective,” said Brian Conroy, Business Strategy and Strategic Development Manager at NOVA Corporation, which works with Kestrel Technology Group, the company that has produced the FIST system. “They need to find the high-risk areas [along the border], and if you have a tool that collects data and runs algorithms against it, you can conduct risk assessment and trend analyses. Human intelligence contributes to a holistic common operating picture.”

This is what the FIST system achieves, and it’s what was seen during the proof of concept test. In general terms, FIST uses off-the-shelf communications tools (like an Android device) to gather intelligence from officers on the front lines. With these tools, officers feed information into a larger database compiled from a variety of sources (including other officers) that informs strategic and tactical decision making. This is then passed back to the people working along the border.

The need for this kind of tool is obvious, but it has only been recently that the right technologies and software were put together in a way that makes it possible.

Moving to the Market

Over the last year, there has been a push to transition FIST into the marketplace. Research transition is tough, as DHS has found in many cases over the years. Unlike other agencies and components, such as the military branches, the homeland security and law enforcement marketplace is heavily fragmented and with limited resources. It makes it difficult to take good, workable ideas from prototype to production. As big of a challenge as creating an innovative piece of technology is finding a way to produce it in line with operational and funding realities. A local Sheriff’s office, for example, does not have an endless amount of funding and time to bring in expensive technologies and then train deputies to use them. For that matter, neither does the U.S. Border Patrol.

What’s needed is a simpler, cheaper solution, and based on the proof of concept testing, FIST appears to be that solution.

“It’s ideal for smaller law enforcement agencies because it can unify operations and reporting and scale capability, creating a force multiplier,” said Ivan Cardenas, technical director of the Kestrel Technology Group, which is helping to bring FIST to market. “It is a sophisticated system, but it is easier to use than the complexity suggests.”

There are a few moving parts here. There are applications that allow off-the-shelf technologies to record and report intelligence, such as the location of a breach in the border fence or evidence of people moving through the rugged terrain. There are existing law enforcement and Border Patrol network capabilities (or cloud-based tools) that store that information. The secret sauce, however, is the complex digital architecture that allows real-time control and fusion of multiple information sources in a way that supports the mission. This is the one thing that has been missing from the border communications and intelligence efforts, and it’s why DHS has struggled to address the challenges to this point. The innovation is in the complexity, and FIST makes it simple.

Of course, that complex innovation is for naught if the agents in the field cannot transmit and receive intelligence. Enter SiRRAN Communications, another stakeholder at the proof of concept test in Arizona.

“We often forget that without network access, we’re blind,” said SiRRAN’s Director of Sales Mark Briggs. “Our technology brings that cell network to anywhere that it is needed.”

Briggs describes this technology as a portable, battery powered cell network—a network in a box. It creates a local, closed network that any agent within range can access to communicate and record intelligence. The unit provides local communication in areas where there is no coverage, and if there is no way to access the communications grid, it captures intelligence and transmits it to the larger repository as soon as it finds a signal.

The lesson here is not just that FIST is a workable system to satisfy the mission needs of America’s border security and law enforcement professionals. It’s also that the answer to the communications challenges along the border will not come in the form of $1 billion worth of cell towers built under DHS management. If it were, we would have solved this problem by now. The fact that we have not reveals that the ultimate solution is necessarily complex and multifaceted while also being easy to use and in-line with realistic operating budgets.

Perhaps the most important lesson, however, is that there are real tools that our Border Patrol and law enforcement officers could be using. Right now there are thousands of men and women on the border, and until we give them the tools they need to do their job, it will make border security and the safety of our frontline heroes difficult to sustain.

ETRI presents a blueprint of the 5G Future

We will see a huge change in the way we access the the internet in the future when 5G is here, at speeds that only big businesses and high level internet companies see at the moment, we will have this to hand on our smart phones and tablets. When 5G is hundreds of times faster than any of the UK’s broadbands, households will be looking to the mobile phone companies to supply their home broadband.

A 5G future is no longer a distant one, but an upcoming reality. High quality videos of more than 10Mbps can be served simultaneously to 100 users even in a train running at up to 500km/h. People can experience data rates that are 100 times faster than currently available technologies.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) of Korea will hold a “5G technology demonstration” on the 18th December, 2015. It will demonstrate future SNS (social network service) and several 5G core technologies such as “millimeter wave”, “Mobile Hot-spot Network”, “in-band full duplex” and so on.

5G is the next generation wireless technology that would provide even faster data rates, even lower delays, and even more devices connected than 4G. Accordingly, distinct and differentiated applications are expected in 5G.

ETRI’s “future SNS” is a kind of trial service model to apply 5G technologies that provides dynamic user-centric connection to neighboring people, things and spaces. It is characterized by instant content-sharing between users, communication with neighboring things, and Giga-bps(Gbps)-grade video applications in vehicles.

5G core technologies demonstrated by ETRI include the following:

— MHN (Mobile Hot-spot Network) is a mobile backhaul technology that provides high-speed Internet access of Gbps in vehicles at speeds of up to 500 km/h (e.g. KTX in Korea). Almost 100 passengers can watch videos of high quality simultaneously.

— ZING is a near-field communication technology that enables mass data to be transmitted with 3.5 Gbps data rate between neighboring devices within the radius of 10cm.

— Single-RF-Chain compact MIMO technology enables a single antenna to simulate the effect of multiple antenna. It can reduce antenna volume and cancel inter-antenna interference in a multi-antenna system.

— Millimeter wave (mmWave) beam switching technology provides fast switching of radio beams to mobile users, and therefore allows seamless Gbps-grade service in mobile environments.

— Mobile Edge Platform (MEP) is a mobile edge cloud server on vehicles that enables passengers to enjoy customized Gbps-grade content and connects them with neighbors, things and spaces. It provides user-centric services.

— In-band Full Duplex technology can transmit and receive signals simultaneously over the same frequency band. It can increase spectral efficiency by up to two times.

— Small cell SW technology is designed for AP(Access Point)-sized small cell base stations that can reduce communication dead zones and improve data rates per user in a hot-spot area.

“With this demonstration event, we are officially introducing our R&D results on 5G. We will continue to lead the development of 5G technologies. Also, we are trying to develop commercialization technologies needed by businesses, and to construct a 5G ecosystem.” said Dr. Hyun Kyu Chung, vice president of ETRI Communication & Internet Lab.

In January, 2016, ETRI will demonstrate Giga internet service and future SNS in a Seoul subway train installed with MHN and ZING kiosks. ETRI will also introduce hand-over technology on a millimeter wave mobile communication system and 5G radio access technology that satisfies 1 millisecond radio latency.

About ETRI

Established in 1976, ETRI is a non-profit Korean government-funded research organization that has been at the forefront of technological excellence for about 40 years. In the 1980s, ETRI developed TDX (Time Division Exchange) and 4M DRAM. In the 1990s, ETRI commercialized CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) for the first time in the world. In the 2000s, ETRI developed Terrestrial DMB, WiBro, and LTE-A, which became the foundation of mobile communications.

Recently, as a global ICT leader, ETRI has been advancing communication and convergence by developing Ship Area Network technology, Genie Talk (world class portable automatic interpretation; Korean-English/Japanese/Chinese), and automated valet parking technology. As of 2015, ETRI has about 2,000 employees where about 1,800 of them are researchers.

Theportable Motorola DP4800 that is best in class

Despite the massive onslaught of mobile phones and smartphones in recent times, portable radios have managed to hold firm ground as they specifically cater to special communication needs across industries where clear and precise interaction is paramount. Motorola is considered a pioneer and a household name in the radio communications industry. The Motorola DP4800 portable radio proves yet again that the company is committed towards delivering world class communication products that make use of the latest in technology.

The inclusion of GPS, Bluetooth audio and data and full-fledged text messaging capability makes the DP4800 an extremely powerful and well-rounded communication device. Moreover, it provides quick call-capability to individuals as well as to groups. The built-in full color LCD display has day/night modes that facilitate easy reading of messages. Plus, the DP4800 is no slouch in the audio front as well. Its Intelligent Audio feature along with customizable audio announcement capability guarantees enhanced audio performance every single time you communicate with it.

The Motorola DP4800 supports both VHF and UHF frequency bands and has a 5-line keypad with clearly visible and well-aligned alphanumeric buttons. This 5-tone device has a capacity of 1000 channels and comes with five quick programmable buttons, an additional emergency button on the top, IP57 certification for waterproofing, a tri-color LED that gives feedback on the radio operating status, and a FM intrinsically safe option. Apart from these major features, there is a whole host of other notable highlights which makes the DP4800 an appealing choice for consumers. Some of these include VOX capability, option board capability, privacy features, analogue mode compatibility, and digital phone patch compatibility.

Like all other modern day portable radios manufactured by Motorola, the Motorola DP4800 takes complete advantage of the customized applications that have been built for it. Some of the applications include the likes of email gateways, location tracking, remote monitoring, management of work order tickets and man down emergencies. The DP4800 works flawlessly with Motorola’s MOTOTRBO system which maximizes the radio’s capacity using a technology called ‘Capacity Plus’ and thereby permitting high volumes of voice and data to be transmitted up to a thousand users without the need to add any new frequency bands. On the other hand, the ‘Linked Capacity Plus’ technology of DP4800 allows users to use the MOTOTRBO system for covering a wide area in order to link teams working across multiple sites.

Users can benefit from secure communication channels when using the DP4800 as it comes loaded with built-in scrambling. The DP4800’s Transmit Interrupt functionality provides users with an option to interrupt an ongoing communication in order to relay important or highly critical messages. Its mechanism for Emergency Calling ensures safety of employees. Communication is further improved with the help of PTT ID. The calls are received every time with the help of its channel scanning schemes. In terms of design, the DP4800 ticks all the relevant boxes as it exudes compactness, looks toughened to handle harsh conditions and is also water and dust proof. After going through the features and capabilities of Motorola’s DP4800 portable radio , it is fairly easy to conclude that the product has been built to last and deliver a unified and seamless communication experience which is hard to match by its rivals.

Radio spectrum allocated for global flight tracking

This very simple, very easily executable solution to a problem that is growing. The Frequencies are already allocated to the airline industry and a simple piece of equipment (non expensive) can be installed. You can find the full article here.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has allocated radio spectrum for global flight tracking for passenger aircraft using satellite-based systems.

The move follows developments spurred by the so far unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March last year, which prompted the aviation community to look into possibilities of constant monitoring of passenger planes in flight.

The frequency band of 1087.7-1092.3MHz has been allocated, which is already being used for data transmissions between planes and terrestrial stations that are within the line of sight.

Extending the system to cover also communications between planes and satellites and satellites and terrestrial stations will enable creating a complex system capable of tracking passenger planes throughout the flight even over oceans and remote areas.

The ITU agreed on the allocation at its 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference following a call by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Performance criteria for satellite reception of the signals will be established by ICAO.

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, ITU has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.”

ITU has been working on standards to facilitate the transmission of flight data in real time since early after the MH370 disaster.

Already in April 2014, less than a month after the aircraft’s disappearance, Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia called upon ITU to address the issue.

“The allocation of frequencies for reception of ADS-B signals from aircraft by space stations will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organizations to enhance safety in the skies.”

In October 2014, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

 

WTF Is Making Its Way To Earth As Unidentified Space Debris

WTF (to be precise WT1190F) is an appropriate name for the unidentified object that is currently hurtling towards our planet at alarming speed. No, my friends, I haven’t taken up a job writing for the Weekly World News. What sounds like science fiction (or at least an episode of Futurama) is actually science fact.

The object is set to crash into us in less than a month. Despite its relatively close proximity to our atmosphere, nobody is quite sure just what WTF actually is. All anyone knows is its size (roughly two metres in length) and the fact that it is hollow, strongly hinting at the possibility that the object is man made.

Experts are suggesting various possibilities as to the identity of the mysterious object, the most tantalising being that WTF is actually a piece of leftover technology from the moon missions (possibly even the fabled Saturn V that took Neil Armstrong and co to the moon). Of course, it could just be here to talk to the whales (Star Trek joke, in case anyone reading this is scratching their heads).

The problem of space junk is becoming more serious by the day. In addition to approximately 3,700 satellites currently orbiting the earth (of which around 2,600 are totally inactive, effectively making them space junk), there are literally tens of thousands of objects larger than a tennis ball floating above our heads at any given time. In addition to that, there are an estimated hundred million objects in the 1mm or less category. Put simply, space is a mess.

In 1997, there were 2,271 man-made satellites orbiting the earth, a number that has increased by around 1,500 since then. Instead of slowing down, however, the recent rise in private satellite launches will likely see these figures (if you’ll pardon the pun) skyrocketing over the next decade or so.

In fact, last year alone, the International Space Station (ISS) had to move its position three times in order to avoid collision with objects large enough to cause serious damage. These collisions were potentially fatal to the astronauts aboard the space station. The ISS actually spends an alarming amount of time ducking and dodging flying chunks of space junk, some of which is detected too late for the ISS to manoeuvre away from it, causing the astronauts to simply shelter-in-space and hope for the best. In 2007, a chunk of debris actually damaged the space shuttle Endeavour.

Despite laws that state that most satellites must be launched to an altitude that will encourage them to fall to earth and burn up within 25 years of their original launch, launching anything into space is a messy business indeed. This has led to fears that the population of space junk in earth’s higher obits could actually become self-sustaining, i.e. new junk could be created in the frequent collisions between existing junk. This is often referred to as The Kessler Syndrome after Nasa scientist Don Kessler, who first warned us about this process as far back as 1978.

The Kessler Syndrome is a very real concern. In 2009, for example, two small satellites collided over Siberia, creating something like 2000 new junk items, many of which are still in orbit today and posing a very real threat to existing satellites. Keep in mind that these items can travel at speeds exceeding 17,000 mph; at that sort of speed, even a grain of sand could kill.

The good news is that WTF is expected to burn up harmlessly in our atmosphere, meaning that, although we’ll probably never know its true identity, at least it won’t harm anybody. If it fails to burn away completely, WTF is expected to land on the Indian Ocean, somewhere off the coast of Sri Lanka around the 13th of November. So, unless you have a fishing holiday planned in the region, you ought to be safe.