You’ll Never Work Alone, 2 way radios and the Lone Worker

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zartek compact 2-way radioIn accordance with the ‘Health and Safety at Work’ act of 1974, every UK-based employer is legally obliged to look out for their employees and not expose them to undue risks.

This is a good and noble law and one that has doubtless saved many lives since it was first passed almost 40 years ago. This law has also led to the development of many new technologies aimed at keeping workers safe…One tool that is completely indispensable to the lone worker is his or her two-way radio.

Today, many 2 Way Radios come with a ‘Lone Worker’ function. This function sounds an alarm if the device has not been used within a set amount of time. Using this function, an employer can dispatch a worker into a potentially hazardous area, but still account for their safety to as great a degree as possible.

So, what sort of places might be hazardous to a lone worker? Workers who operate in and around chemical and manufacturing plants are a good example of lone workers who, using their two-way radios, can keep in constant, immediate contact with their control centre. Potential exposure to hazardous chemicals, dangerous machinery and so on can place these jobs in the ‘high risk’ category, making a walkie-talkie system a veritable necessity. After that, consider construction workers, taxi drivers and miners; people who need to be contactable every step of the way.

In addition to that, there are also security guards, policemen and bouncers to consider, all of whom risk running into potential violence, as well as scenarios that may require immediate assistance and/or rapid medical attention.

In recent years, there has been a steady growth in the amount of people operating as lone workers. Workforce reductions forced upon recession-hit businesses have caused some workers to operate alone, for example. However, there are also more care in the community groups (such as youth workers), late night deliveries being made, increased security/surveillance concerns and people taking on night work just to make ends meet. In order to keep these hard working professionals safe, companies are required to invest in the technology that can keep their workforce secure and looked after.

Two-way radios are durable, dependable and easy to operate. They are a proven and trusted technology and they save lives. These days, it would be positively unthinkable to send an employee into a potentially hazardous situation without first equipping them with the relevant safety gear and a two-way radio.

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DMR Tier III the open standard for radio communications

Boy. The brand new Radio is awesome. I mean it is just so stunning so sophisticated. I pity those who grew up without the Walkie talkie.

Private mobile radio is fast becoming an essential communications solutionto support the operational needs of utilities companies, airports, oil and gas pipelines and emergency services.
When compared to public cellular services, it delivers improved coverage, reliability and resistance, contention, security, group communications and performance.
The digital landscape is crowded, though, with a number of public safety digital standards such as TETRA, P25 as well as low cost digital solutions including DMR (Digital Mobile Radio), dPMR (digital Private Mobile Radio), NXDN and PDT (Professional Digital Trunking).
DMR is coming out on top thanks to the open standard nature of DMR Tier III trunking, which is driving its emergence, ongoing development and adoption across global markets.
But do open standards matter? While open standards are less important in the small system market, they are critical to the long-term case for the walkie talkie system in the medium to large systems sector, and it is here that open standard DMR Tier III will dominate.
Essentially, DMR Tier III trunking features a control channel on each radio site and allocates traffic channels on demand making it frequency efficient and enabling a large number of users to share a relatively small number of channels. Radio sites can easily be inter-connected, usually using IP connections, making it possible to deploy systems ranging from a single site to hundreds of sites spread over a large geographical area.
The open standard way
The DMR standard includes the facility for implementers to provide manufacturer extensions, enabling manufacturers to provide proprietary features within the framework of the DMR air interface definition. This allows them to complement the standard set of DMR call functions with their specific facilities.
This has the advantage of enabling customers to request specific functionalities to support the manufacturers business operation needs and also enables them to provide innovative features that differentiate their solutions from others implementing the same standard.
One disadvantage to this offering is that interoperability can only be possible for those features that are fully defined by the standard and that customers using manufacturer extensions are effectively locked in to a single manufacturer solution rather than enjoying the vendor choice that a standard enables.
To address the pros and cons, theDMR Association (DMRA)has struck a balance between robustness and cost with their interoperability process, which focuses on testing the conformance of products against the published standard that describes the over-air signalling. The DMRA facilitates testing between a terminal manufacturer and an infrastructure manufacturer, and the two parties carry out the testing against a standard test specification. Test results and logs of all messages sent over air are recorded during the testing and then are inspected by one or more independent third parties during a detailed review meeting. Only after the independent third parties are satisfied that the equipment under test has conformed to the open standard specification is an interoperability certificate issued.
Ongoing standards development
Whilst this facility can be useful, extensive use of manufacturer extensions would call into question whether DMR was a standard that delivers interoperability (and therefore vendor choice) or whether it results in proprietary solutions rather than following an open standard.
The answer to this lies in the work of the DMR Association. The DMRA has a technical working group made up of competing manufacturers who collaborate to ensure the standard succeeds. Any proprietary features from the manufacturers, which are believed to have wide market appeal or have useful features the standard doesnt yet specify, are debated in the group. They are then developed to further advance the standard to the benefit all of the manufacturers and indeed the customers who choose to implement DMR technology.
The DMRA is further developing the standard to meet future market demands by identifying important new features and ensuring these are developed and included in new releases of the ETSI standards.
The future of DMR Tier III
Open standards are critical to providing long-term support and stability to customers. The adoption of the standard by a critical mass ensures its longevity over other similar competing technologies that have lower levels of support by offering the market vendor choice and maintaining low costs.
Is DMR Tier III radio communications open standard for the future? Yes. Due to DMRAs authority, the robust and well-supported interoperability programme and the long-term commitment of a large number of manufacturers, it is emerging as the most successful low cost digital technology for complex projects and therefore the open standard that no other private mobile Icom walkie talkies can contend with.
Source – http://www.telecomstechnews.com/news/2014/apr/25/dmr-tier-iii-open-standard-radio-communications/