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the value in a complex professional radio sys- tem is not in communications alone but in the applications, the features and facilities added to it. For a large proportion of these apps, migrat- ing them into a Tier III environment would not be particularly hard. “I should explain I was a software manager


for many years but I am recovering slowly”, Tim Cull admitted – adding: “I rather suspect that a lot of these apps will actually be directly transportable, given a bit of heaving and strain-


ing, at a relatively low investment in develop- ment charges. “And that is a really big issue for the migra-


tion strategy, because it really does mean that people do have the opportunity to get into a Tier III environment where previously they might not have thought it that easy. “T ere are a few things you have to under-


stand – latency, transit times, the basic IP-ness of it all – but even that is usually handled pe- ripheral to the app. So if you can get rid of all of those issues, then with somebody’s sophis- ticated fl eet control mechanism that connects directly into their logistical controls, stocks, record-keeping, all the other things the modern businesses have to do – suddenly it becomes very easy to think of the new technology like Tier III, or whatever, as being a viable way for- ward for that customer.”


Jamie Bishop is marketing manager for Europe and the Middle East and Africa for the radiocommunications equipment maker Tait, which sponsored the day’s meeting. Tait is currently readying a range of DMR Tier III products for delivery from September. “At Tait, we are committed to offering open standards-based radio systems”, Mr Bishop said. “In recent years that has mostly been around the APCO P25 standard, and from a European perspective we’ve had signifi cant success both with conventional and trunked networks in Russia, in northern Africa. We currently provide signifi cant services to the London Bus MPT 1327 network, which, by our reckoning, is probably the most densely-used city-wide radio network in the world, with 9000 buses running on it. With DMR Tier III in particular – I guess it’s the thing I’ve been waiting for in the last few years. It really opens up a migration option for our installed base. And it really opens up digital to the wider market beyond public safety”


A need for trunking Trunked radio specialist David Taylor, of the consultants Analysys Mason, echoed Tim Cull’s positive outlook. “I think Tier III has got the ability to be a global success just like MPT 1327 was”, he said. “I suspect that some of the old MPT 1327 market is gone, but there’s opportunities to develop new markets – and there’s still a need for PMR and there’s still a need for trunked PMR. And yes, Tier III is one of the technologies out there to be chosen.” Among the advantages of the DMR system,


he continued, were the very wide span of fre- quency bands supported by the standard (66 to 960 MHz) and the fact that its 12·5 kHz channel width was compatible with most of the world’s spectrum plans. A further benefi t for users would be the free-


dom to choose interoperable equipment from a variety of manufacturers. And while the inter- operability testing supervised by the DMR As- sociation might uncover technical hitches along the way, it would create confi dence in the stand- ard. Mr Taylor recalled an experience when he was working years ago for Marconi, supply- ing MPT 1327 radio terminals to work on a Philips infrastructure in Hong Kong. “T ere was a disconnect of one bit in the channel fi eld, so the radios didn’t work”, he said. “And we worked together and we solved it. We found the problem and we identifi ed the interoper- ability issues. “T at happened with 1327. It’s going to


happen with DMR. It’s going to happen with Tier III. You have got a process to actually re- solve ambiguities in the standard, and for the standard to develop. I think that’s a very im- portant thing.” In addition, David Taylor looked forward


to extending the open standard beyond the air interface, through activities now taking place within the DMR working groups. Standard-


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izing the data interface on the terminal devices and standardizing protocols and formats for ap- plications such as GPS reporting would make apps simpler to develop and implement.


Interoperability Speaking for the DMR Association, Tom Mockridge said that the group now had more than 40 members, including 20 manufactur- ers and about 10 application providers. Four of the manufacturers – Hytera, Tait, Simoco, and the German company Radiodata – had announced products for Tier III, which was now a very active topic of discussion within the association. Mr Mockridge, too, focused on interoper-


ability of equipment. “T e DMR Association has got a very well-established and cred- ible Tier II interoperability programme in place”, he said. “I think we’ve now run seven tests and we’ve announced the results of six. “T ere’s been a lot of work


on Tier III interoperability testing. Two members of the association have done infor- mal testing, and formal testing will take place in


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