The Future of Mission-Critical LTE Communications

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A Recap from IWCE LTE Forum Chicago

Earlier last month, a group of technology professionals, public safety agencies, and enterprise and government representatives gathered in Chicago at the IWCE Critical LTE Communications Forum. The conference explored the challenges and solutions for mapping the transition from voice-centric land mobile radio (LMR) to mission-critical multimedia LTE network solutions.

The key themes of the conference centered on the transition from LMR to LTE, and what technology solutions are needed for mission-critical LTE.

The Transition from LMR to LTE: As mission-critical communication needs evolve from being voice-centric to including multimedia data, including group chats and video applications, there is a need for more sophisticated and reliable LTE networks. An ecosystem of players is gathering to create the solutions and applications for enterprise, government and public safety organizations to transition to LTE networks that provide secure, reliable voice, data and multimedia for emergency services and other mission-critical events.

Technology Solutions for Mission-Critical LTE: Device-to-device communications, focusing on mission-critical data, video and Push-To-Talk (PTT) applications, requires high levels of interoperability and collaboration across multiple industries and groups. From operators to device manufacturers to solutions providers, the ecosystem requires interoperable standards and open solutions for mission-critical LTE to become a reality. And it’s a big opportunity – for example, there are currently more than 3.5 million PTT users who will need to migrate over to mission-critical LTE in a seamless, reliable transition.

During the forum, Kyocera participated in a panel with several key partners who are collaborating to bring the mission-critical LTE ecosystem together. We spoke about Kyocera rugged mobile devices and how they are built to survive harsh environments, drops, water spills and hazardous conditions, all with a lower total cost of ownership. Kyocera phones deliver the features needed for critical communications, from security, to 810G and IP68 certification for protection against dust, water, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures and more, to dedicated PTT buttons, long-lasting batteries and dual front-facing speakers for noisy conditions.

Our partners and co-panelists who are helping to navigate the shift to mission-critical LTE and build solutions that serve multiple verticals, from public safety, to transportation, logistics, utilities and hospitality, included:

  • ESChat: Josh Lober, President and CEO, ESChat
    ESChat (Enterprise Secure Chat) is dedicated to providing solutions for secure PTT voice, group text messaging and live location tracking & mapping. With a focus on the interoperability between communication technologies, ESChat is enabling a more seamless and secure LMR to LTE transition. The ESChat secure communication platform is compliant to the 3GPP’s mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) standards and ensures interoperability between MCPTT vendors on various mobile devices.
  • Blueforce Development: Michael Helfrich, Founder and CEO Blueforce Development Corporation.
    Blueforce Development specializes in providing products and services that enhance safety, increase operational efficiency and enable better decisions, particularly in the defense, law-enforcement and security industries. By transmitting vital, actionable information in real time, Blueforce helps ground teams in making split-second decisions. Mission-critical LTE helps overcome challenges like low visibility and information fidelity, especially when it comes to visuals, and is an important part of the solution in transmitting data quickly, reliably and securely.
  • Visual Labs: Alex Popof, Founder and CEO, Visual Labs, Inc.
    Visual Labs, which calls itself the “the body camera company that doesn’t make body cameras,” specializes in live streaming with body cameras. Solving connectivity limitations faced by traditional body camera solutions, Visual Labs utilizes mission-critical LTE to provide real-time situational awareness via live video feeds, significantly enhancing officer safety in crisis situations.

As key vertical industries, including government, military, municipalities, public safety, school districts and more, look to make the transition to mission-critical LTE, the ecosystem is coming together to support the evolution in the most seamless, secure and reliable way possible. From carrier support to handset manufacturers’ new features and capabilities to solutions providers, critical communications are being upgraded in a major way with real-time location, video, group chat and multimedia applications, as well as rugged, built-to-survive mobile devices.