Wednesday, 17 May 2017

£4 billion emergency radio system ‘not yet proven’

We have been very vocal against the new ESN network, Tetra is proven and works very well, the benefits to moving over to a 4G network are attractive, but will it stand-up to a major incident? Will the network be robust enough when there are thousands of communications in a located area? These concerns have now been picked up by a commons committee, read more below….

An inquiry has revealed deep concerns about the coverage and contracting of a new £4 billion national emergency radio system.

A Commons’ Public Accounts Committee report released this month criticised the Home Office for its handling of the proposed the Emergency Services Network, or ESN.

Plans to deploy the “not yet proven” emergency radio system by December 2019 “would not be m et”, the committee said. The committee also criticised the Home Office for mishandling contracts talks for ESN and failing to plan for delays, that could cost nearly £500 million alone.

“Good communications can make the difference between life and death for both emergency services personnel and the public but the technology ESN will rely on is not yet proven.”

Across the UK, 105 ambulance, fire and police services are expected to switch from their existing Airwave Solutions radio system to ESN by December 2019.

Unlike the ageing Airwave network, ESN will operate on an existing retail 4G network rather than a dedicated emergency radio network.

However, the committee said forcing emergency services to share a network with the public had not been attempted at scale.



The appr oach relied on much improved network coverage across the UK, including on the London Underground, and new technology to prioritise emergency services over other network users.

“Bringing together all the different elements to form an end-to-end system and scaling up these solutions and testing them adequately will be very challenging.”

The government is expected to spend £1.2 billion developing ESN, £1.4 billion running down Airwave, and further £2.6 billion operating ESN until 2032.

The contract with Airwaves, which was bought by Motorola last year, expires in December 2019. The committee said extending this contract, which will almost certainly be necessary given expected delays, will cost an additional £475 million a year.

In 2015, Motorola and EE won the user services and networks contracts respectively for ESN.

The committee also criticised the Home Office for not maintaining “competitive pressure” while awarding the contracts and leaving the winning bidders in a “very strong position” when the contract comes up for renewal in 2023.

The committee recommended the Home Officer test the new network coverage rigorously, improve its tendering, budget and plan for an Airwave contract extension and reassess its timeline for switching to the new system.

“It must take responsibility for convincing services to switch to ESN but also be clear at what point it will mandate the switchover.”

The Home Office was told to report back to the committee by September this year.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Growth of Global Hearing Amplifiers Market Driven by Increase in the Number of Prevalence of Hearing Impairment Patients in Old and Young Population

We found this article and couldn’t not post this to our blog, it shows how hearing damage is on the upsurge. With cases of hearing loss growing every year, hearing amplifiers and hearing aids sales have consistently increased. There doesn’t seems to be an answer to this rise but as technology improves, answers can come that way.

Hearing loss can occurs when inner ear or nerve is damaged, which may be caused due to diseases, aging, loud noise, and medications. Hearing amplifier is a small part of hearing aid which makes the sound louder. Hearing amplifiers increase the power of signals and then send them to the ear through speakers.

Hearing aid is useful in improving the hearing and speech of patients. An otolaryngologist investigates the cause of the hearin g loss. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of hearing loss.

Increase in number of hearing impairment cases coupled with rising costs of hearing aids are expected to drive the growth of the global hearing amplifiers market during the forecast period. Majority of the consumers use hearing amplifiers or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) as they are considered cheaper alternatives of hearing aids. Hearing amplifiers or PSAPs, are designed to amplify sounds in any recreational environment and are exempt from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hearing amplifiers are sold directly to consumers as electronic devices without the requirement of a physician prescription.

According to National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 324,200 cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide. About 15 percent of A mericans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities. Major driving factors for the growth of the global hearing amplifiers such as an increase in the number of prevalence of hearing impairment patients in old and young population, increasing investment in research and development in ENT field among others.

Based on styles or design types of hearing aid products the global market of hearing amplifiers can be segmented as follows:

-Behind-the-ear (BTE)

-Mini BTE

-In-the-ear (ITE)

-In-the-canal (ITC)

Based on function the global hearing amplifiers market can be segmented as follows:

-Analog hearing aids

-Digital hearing aids

Based on distribution channels the global hearing amplifiers market can be segmented as follows:

-Hospital Pharmacies

-Online Pharmacies

-Independent Pharmacies and Drug stores

Hearing amplifiers market is segmented into five major regions: North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. In 2015, North America lead the global market of hearing amplifiers followed by the Europe in terms of revenue. According to statistics compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 37.5 million adults aged 18 and older in America report some form of hearing loss.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids and more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to parents suffering from some kind of hearing disorder. Globally, the hearing amplifiers market is expected to witness a healthy CAGR in terms of revenue during the forecast period.

Latin America, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific regions are the emerging markets in the global hearing amplifiers market. Increasing awareness among the various distribution channels as well as consumers in these regions is anticipated to propel global market growth of hearing aids and amplifiers during the forecast period.

The key players in the global market develop hearing amplifiers in analog and digital forms. Some of the top companies in the global hearing amplifiers market are Sound Hawk, Resound, Foshan Vohom Technology Co. Ltd., Sound world solution, Shenzhen LA Lighting Company Limited, Austar Hearing Science and Technology (Xiamen) Co., Ltd., Huizhou Jinghao Electronics Co. Ltd., Ziphearing among others.

Why Wired Radio Earpieces Will Not Be Going Away Any Time Soon

Advancement in technology has changed the form of how electronic devices look like, how they operate and consequently how we handle them. Devices such as radios have become smaller, lighter and wireless. The advent of Bluetooth has enabled radios to connect without any physical connections; notably saving us from the fuss of tangled and visible wires. The wireless earpieces are in use, but it is important to note that they have not completely taken over from the wired covert earpieces. With the convenience and technological advancement they offer, why is it that they have not replaced their wired counterparts especially in fields of operation? Here are a few thoughts:

Reliability

Wireless earpieces are not as reliable as the wired ones. The technology that supports Bluetooth communication has it that the source device (radio) and the receiving device (earpiece) have to be at a certain distance from each other and nothing should come in between the path of transmission of the two devices. This means that if any of the two requirements are not as anticipated, functionality is compromised. Wired earpieces do not have the complication of interference and limited bandwidth. When you are in a situation where reliability is crucial, where you cannot afford to lose connection, say you are out in the field on operation, it would make sense to use wired security earpieces as they are easy to handle, making them more reliable.

Limited Operational Lifetime

For a wireless device to be operational, it needs to be charged. When out on assignment, the crew will need to ensure that they have fully charged the wireless earphones and carried a fully-charged extra battery. The batteries work on a limited operational lifetime which burdens the crew as they have to keep replacing the batteries every time. When pa cking batteries for replacement, one should pack enough to cater for both the radio and earphone. This is not the case with the wired pieces. For wired pieces, the crew only has to worry about a single cable that will connect the radio to the earphones. The wired option is therefore less of a burden to handle than the wireless ones.



Necessary Visibility

In some instances, the visibility of the wires, which the wireless earpieces work against, is crucial in making a statement. In a security situation, the wired pieces are visible to the human eye; they make the public aware of the security. The visibility in itself reinforces security, deterring any harmful or criminal practices that may take place. In such a situation, wireless pieces are of no use as no security statement will be mad e.

Disruption and Negative Interference

Wireless earpieces are vulnerable to signal disruption and negative interference. It is possible for a wireless-transmitted signal to be compromised- an activity that may cause threats and anomalies. A signal transmitted by wireless means may be decrypted and accessed by unauthorized people. At the same time, the signal may be compromised in a way the end product that is received as sound is not what was initially transmitted. Bluetooth is open to any form of interference, be it purposeful or accidental. The wired radio earpiece on the other hand greatly reduce the possibility of such malpractices as it would be hard to physically interfere with transmission without anyone noticing.

Misplacing earpieces during an incident

In the event of an incident, it would be hard to misplace a wired covert earpiece. This is because, when an agent is on the move or if they make any vigorous movements, the radio earpiece might be detached from the ear but will not fall; it is tethered to the radio using the wire. On the other hand, a Bluetooth earpiece would probably detach itself from the ear, fall down and be misplaced as it has no physical tethering to the radio device. This will cost an agent a lot of time in looking for a misplaced device and even the responsibility of a lost device.

When it comes to technology, the feature advancements are normally made to our convenience and efficiency but in some cases, the old way of doing things would prove to be better. Wired security earpieces have major advantages over their wireless counterparts, making them hard to phase out. What the wireless earpieces can function as at this point is as a complimentary device to the wired one.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sepura Contributes to Success of World’s First Cross-border TETRA System

We take it for granted that when we move around the country our mobile phones connect to the nearest mast, or we go abroad and our phones automatically connect to the network, with tetra, this is not as easy, but this article is about a test that Sepura completed connecting two TETRA networks in Norway and Sweden, interesting stuff.

Sepura radios have successfully participated in interoperability trials for the world’s first cross-border TETRA communication system, linking RAKEL and Nødnett, Sweden and Norway’s public safety networks.

More than 350 first responders were involved in the trials, which took place in Meråker, close to the Swedish border, in a crisis response exercise involving public safety users from both countries.

The cross-border system utilises TETRA Inter-System Interface (ISI) functionality to connect networks together, effectively allowing users to roam to another network. This allows first responders to use their radios in both countries â€" vital for smooth collaboration in emergency situations.

The initiative to strengthen co-operation between national emergency services started in 2013 with the EU-funded Inter-System Interoperability project, designed to improve the ability to respond to natural disasters and security threats. The RAKEL and Nødnett networks are scheduled to be ready for bi-national operational use in early 2017.



Sepura’s STP9000 hand-portable radios and SRG3900 mobile radios were used by both Swedish and Norwegian emergency services during the exercise, although all Sepura radios â€" including the new flagship SC20 range â€" meet the technical requirements of the ISI system.

“This is one of the most advanced multinational radio communication projects in Europe,” said Tariq Haque, Product Manager for Sepura.

“After two years’ development, bi-national i nteroperability has become a reality, bringing cross-border mission critical communications to Sweden and Norway.

“We are extremely pleased to have played a part in this ground-breaking event.”

Source - http://www.tetra-applications.com/33643/news/sepura-contributes-to-success-of-world-s-first-cross-border-tetra-system

Thursday, 30 March 2017

How To Take Care Of Your Two Way Radio

Buying two way radio equipment is a very beneficial investment, but in order for you to get the most out of your money you should ensure that the equipment is well cared for. If you use and maintain your two way radios with proper care, they will function at their optimum capacity and you can expect them to last for many years. While no two way radio can last forever, there are some simple practices which can help extend the life expectancy of your two way radios and ensure they function at their very best. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the top care tips for your two way radios;



Storage

You should always store your radio(s) correctly so as to keep it in a tip top condition. The ideal environment for storing your radio involves a cool a nd dry (ideally at room temperature, which should be about 72 degrees Fahrenheit) with limited exposure to the extreme weather conditions like excessive cold or heat, and such other elements of water and sunlight. Excessive temperatures can easily damage the batteries; the moisture may end up corroding the batteries. Also, when storing your 2 way radio, you should make sure that it's turned off and batteries are removed.

Charging Your two way Radio

First of all, you should know that 2 way radios are usually slightly different, so you need to familiarize yourself with the specific charging instructions of your radio. That being so, it is important to note that nearly all of the manufacturers will advise that you to turn off your radio while it’s charging. If you do not, your radio will be drawing current and also charging at the same time, and this can end up shortening the lifespan of the battery.

Overcharging your radio batteries can also cause numerous problems and will have a negative impact on its' overall battery life, so you should make sure that when it's charged fully you unplug its' charger; do not leave it charging all through the night if its' likely to remain fully charged for a long period of time while its' still being charged. When you buy new batteries its' the only time you can leave the radio charging overnight before you start using them for the 1st time; it'll help you get the maximum battery capacity.

Day to Day Use

Every two way radios user should be very mindful of their daily use. Although there are some 2 way radios which are designed to be quite robust, like the explosion proof and waterproof radios, they should still be treated with great care, always. Even if you have a waterproof or explosion proof radio, do not subject it to extreme temperatures.

You shoul d also avoid grabbing your two way radio by its' antenna, as this will eventually have a negative impact on your radio's reception and transmission quality. In addition, you should also avoid drops so as to maximize the long term functionality of your radio; consider using 2 way radio belt clips so as to reduce the chances of your radio getting dropped and subsequently getting damaged. Protecting the exterior of your radio helps protect its' interior, thus minimizing the repairs and the replacing of the equipment.

Another important tip to note when it comes to the day to day use of 2 way radios, is you should never expose your radio to any solvents (unless it has been designed to be used in the harsh conditions); this includes any cleaning fluids and alcohol. Also, try and stick with the accessories which are designed specifically for your particular type of radio; this is especially important when it comes to your radio battery, charger and adapter. Using an incompatible ac cessory can end up shortening your radio's lifespan and can even destroy it.

Cleaning Your 2 way Radio

You should regularly clean your radio to keep it in good working condition. The most effective and efficient way of cleaning your two way radio also happens to be one of the easiest ways as well; strong chemicals or intensive cleaning isn’t necessary. The only supplies you'll need include some water and a microfiber cloth. The microfiber cloth will effectively wipe away the smudges and dirt without causing any damage to your radio. As for the more stubborn marks and stains, you can use a damp cloth and then wipe until the radio is clean. Remember, never immerse your two way radio in water to clean it.

Conclusion

2 way radios are among the most versatile and toughest communication solutions, often lasting for many years before needing any repairs or replacement. However, in order to extend the lifespan of your 2 way radio even further, it is best to employ the above tips for 2 way radio care to fully secure your investment. Protecting your 2 way radio will not only increase its' longevity, but it also ensures that you will always have reliable communications. Well, as you can see above, taking care of two way radio is relatively easy, and the amount of maintenance required is minimal. A simple cleaning now and then, proper handling, maintenance and storage is all you need in order to extend the lifespan of your two way radio and keep it in a great working condition.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

What Is The Best Way To Select The Right Radio Earpiece

When choosing a radio earpiece, there are several factors that should be considered. A radio earpiece should not only aid in communication it should also protect the user’s ear against cumulative ear damage that may eventually result in ear loss. Below are the factors that you should consider when buying a radio earpiece;

1) Clarity of communication

The most important reason as to why you have a radio is for clear communication and this is what your radio earpiece should enhance. Although there are several radio earpieces out there, many of them use bone conduction when transmitting the user’s speech meaning that they heavily rely on vibrations of one’s skull as they talk. This does not help much in ensuring that the communications are clear especially when one is on the move.

You should therefore go for a system whose in-ear microphone does not use bone conduction and this will enhance the soun d clarity. Such a system can even transmit speeches when one is whispering and this comes in handy especially when in an environment where secrecy is very crucial.

2) Comfort

It is very important to select a system that you feel comfortable with most importantly when you are to wear it on your head. Note that, you will probably be wearing the gear for long hours and that is why it should be of lightweight and should not in any way interfere with your eye wear or helmet.

Avoid heavy, sweaty and coiled tube earpieces that are very uncomfortable and will cause ear fatigue. Instead, go for a radio earpiece whose microphone is built into the earbud itself. Such earpieces come in various shapes and sizes and can even be customized to fit the specific needs of a user. Note that, military-grade materials are specifically designed to be of lightweight.



3) Durability

Durability is a very important factor that should be considered when choosing a radio earpiece. You obviously don’t want to be wasting your time and money going back to look for another earpiece just because the one you chose did not last. This is why it is very important to select a system that is durable and has been tested for rugged use of a soldier or a SWAT officer. Go for one whose manufacturer is experienced in manufacturing earpieces that can withstand water, dirt, shock and even extreme temperatures.

4) Ease of use

Your radio earpiece should be easy to use because you can’t afford to mess up with the push-to-talk or the on & off buttons especially when on the move. Your gear should immediately fit into your actions with minimum effort. Look at the operational and the ergonomic features of the various radio earpieces and make sure that all its features are both of the r ight sizes and in the right places.

5) Hearing protection

Claims related to hearing loss and its related disabilities is on the rise among police & military veterans and this has led to the need for hearing protection for officers. Note that, hearing loss occurs cumulatively over time and it is irreversible. This is in addition to the fact that it has been associated with cognitive decline and that is why even the minor hearing loss can have a huge impact in the course of time. Select a radio earpiece that not only ensures effective communication, but also the hearing safety of the user.

6) Situational awareness

An earpiece is basically meant to keep you focused and keep your hands free. You should be aware of what is happening in their surrounding and that is why a radio earpiece should allow one to hear sounds that are outside, to stay alert with their surroundings.

In order to have f ull communications (just like one would have without anything in their ears), it is wise to choose a radio earpiece that has an external microphone. There are systems that even enable you to adjust volume of the external microphone and this ensures that you are aware of the happenings in your surroundings.

7) Modularity & Compatibility

There are several systems that are available out there and you should look for one that fits your requirements. As mentioned above, some of them can be customized to fit an individual user’s specific needs so you can never run out of options.

A radio earpiece that has a modular connector is good as you can change it to match even a different radio without having to replace the entire system. Some systems can even go with both earbuds and over-the-ear earpieces so depending on your needs, select the appropriate system.

8) Affordability

Many years ago radio earpieces cost £100 and upwards, these days you can ge t a D-ring earpiece for less than £15 and an acoustic tube for about £25. Bone conductor earpieces that were previously and expensive piece of technology, can be yours for about £40.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

AXUM: THE FUTURE OF WIRELESS AUDIO

This article is the transcript of an interview with Igal Golva, CEO of Axum earphones, wireless earphones with secure fittings, designed for people doing exercise. A really interesting article about why these earphones are different to others on the market and what their plans are for the future of the company.

Mobile audio has always been a difficult balancing act. The need for great audio on the go has never been more prevalent. With smartphones now a staple for most people’s daily commute, exercise and fitness, the need for an audio solution that can be portable while still sounding good is the holy grail.

Apple, with the iPhone 7 has also forced people’s hands. The headphones they used to use are no longer as easy to pull out and plug in without the use of a dongle. This is where Bluetooth audio options come into play, and where the Axum wireless headphones are planning to make a splash. Currently on Indiegogo, the Axum are aiming to give people great audio, while ensuring they maintain that mobile, ultraportable feel. Currently at 528% funded, the Axum is proving to be a product many people want to get their hands on. We had a chance to talk to Igal Golvan, CEO at Axum, about what the headphones can do for audio and fitness and how they hope to change the way people view Bluetooth audio.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 1

CGMagazine: Could you tell us a little about what Axum does and how these new headphones stand above the competition?

Igal Golvan: First of all, we not only offer four hours playtime (while others offer 1.5-2 hours) you can also get an additional four with the portable charging case. We achieved it by eliminating any unnecessary features. We are aiming to reach fitness junkies like us that need three things: fit, sound and battery life.

Our designers made a unique design that will fit you during the most extreme sport activities. In the last months all we did was test the earphones in every sport activity you can imagine .This included cycling, running, CrossFit , snowboarding and even sky diving .

The issue with True Wireless Earbuds is that all our competitors see this product as the latest technology in the headphones industry and as such they've aimed the technology at early adopters. Unlike them we understand the real potential of the product to become the mainstream earbuds of athletes, as the lack of cables is something so comfortable no one can even imagine, only when doing sport activities and listening to Axum earphones will you really understand the definition of freedom!

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 2

CGM: Could you go over what M-voiD® sound technology brings to the table?

IG: Sure. M-voiD stands for Multidisciplinary virtually optimized industrial Design. It’s a technology for the realistic simulation of audio systems using CAD data. It is a sophisticated technology that paves the way to reproduce outstanding sound performance to let consumers discover that earphones deliver the emotions and excitement comparable with a concert.

Realistic and predictive simulations by means of a fully coupled multiphysical electrical-mechanical-acoustical simulation model are the heart and driving backbone of M-voiD® technology. The major advantage of M-voiD® is that acoustic problems can be identified and resolved in the virtual domain before any prototype is being built.

Sound characteristics are virtually measurable and assessable and can be optimized on the virtual model. It is not just limited to the graphical reproduction. M-voiD® listens to the virtual sound of the earphone already on the computer by means of a special reproduction technique (called auralization), enabling improved sound. Bottom line, while even the largest companies out there can test 100 or maybe 10,000 prototypes to check and improve the sound quality before releasing the final product, we had the ability to test sound quality from over 10 million prototypes.

Besides that, Konzept-X also helped us with the driver design itself to maximize the results after we've changed the internal design.


Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 3

CGM: With your Indigogo doing so well, do you foresee this will delay the final release?

IG: Exactly the opposite. We planned to wait until the funding period is over to head into mass production, but now that we understand the demand we'll start doing it ASAP.

CGM: Why the choice to go with Indigogo over an option such as Kickstarter?

IG: We thought about KS, however the Indiegogo team was much more supportive and offered lots of relevant information on how to succeed with crowdfunding . We are product people and don't understand crowdfunding, so a supportive team was something very important for us.

CGM: Do you plan to offer a retail version of these headphones?

IG: Of course, but first we'll ship everything to our backers and then we'll think about retail.

CGM: For the gamer on the go, will these offer anything beyond what is already in the wild?

IG: The perfect fit of Axum earbuds is something like you've never experienced before, you can see the bulky design of other brands such as Samsung and Motorola The last thing you want to do is wear those gigantic things all day long.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 4

CGM: How do you think these headphones will do with the fitness crowd beyond just the music listener?

IG: We believe that beside the sound quality, the fit and comfort is something they'll be addicted to. We noticed the reaction of the people while testing them out in the gym and we guarantee that once you try Axum earbuds you'll never be able to use wires again!

CGM: Are there any obstacles you will need to overcome to bring these to market?

IG: Yes, there are many obstacles of unawareness from the customers. Many people are not familiar with this concept and think of it as a regular mono Bluetooth ear piece, so we are heading to a long journey of explaining our product and turning it into mainstream.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 5

CGM: How do you feel these headphones will do with a crowded market? What sets Axum apart?

IG: We have full confidence in our product. First of all we know 100% that no matter how good your BT earbuds are, if they are not True Wireless they can't compete with us. As for other True Wireless companies out there, based on their design they've never thought about athletes as their potential customers and it's a shame as this concept is perfect for fitness and exercising. So we already have a huge advantage on them.