Communication makes the world much, much smaller - but it also becomes critical to everyone. Once life-enriching communication technologies are embraced, not only do we like and enjoy the benefits, but we also become hooked on it day and night.

"There is no doubt that the transportation industry is benefiting from always available communications, making sure drivers, mechanics, dispatchers are always connected and can exchange information when necessary," says Sagi Subocki, Vice President of Products and Marketing for MCC technology leader Softil. "However, for the most part until now, the transportation industry has had to rely on the traditional radio or simply standard mobile phones to perform all communications tasks. That's about to change with the advent of Mission Critical Communications over LTE and 5G as defined in the 3GPP Release 13-15 standard," adds Subocki.

Mission critical communication over LTE MCC over LTE offers push to talk, push to video, text and multimedia chat, as well as location information for groups and point to point communications

Mission critical communication (MCC) over LTE offers push to talk, push to video, text and multimedia chat, as well as location information for groups and point to point communications.

Think about a driver who can push a button and instantly talk to all drivers within a 50-mile radius, for example, to inform them of road conditions, accidents, road works and other incidents. In the event of a breakdown, the truck driver can quickly obtain help from experts using video chat, which makes a driver's life a lot easier. Using the same MCC over LTE capabilities, the driver can see the location of all other drivers using the same radios, can engage in chat sessions with nearby garages and much, much more. And let's not forget that MCC over LTE communications can be prioritised over regular public mobile voice and data traffic, which can help in the case of accidents and natural disasters.

Advanced communication solutions in Mining

While different from the transportation industry, mining's reliance on advanced communication technologies might be even greater than the needs of the transportation market.

Subocki explains: "Mission critical push to talk and push to video with guaranteed, prioritised delivery might well make the difference for mining workers. The ability to ask for urgent assistance simply at the push of a button is crucial in the day-to-day operations of an oil rig and a diamond mine."

But the benefits of MCC over LTE don't stop there. As MCC over LTE communication is delivered over modern, very capable, rugged smartphones, these devices can be used to interface and collect data from all available sensors - air quality, temperature, radiation, presence of dangerous gases - all this information can be obtained automatically via MCC over LTE integration with IoT and can be used to increase safety.

Drones in MCC over LTE In addition to engaging with all sensors, MCC over LTE communications can include drones which would provide video feeds whenever necessary

In addition to engaging with all sensors, MCC over LTE communications can include drones which would provide video feeds whenever necessary - and the 3GPP MCPTT Release 16 standard will extend mission critical communication to include robots, which might be priceless.

"Think about the implications of sending an MCC enabled robot to investigate a mine explosion and you'll see the future of MCC over LTE and 5G communications in the mining industry," adds Subocki.

Market Value and Outlook

A report from ABI Research found the total mission-critical communications market for base stations, repeaters, handsets and infrastructure in 2022 will be US$10 billion. The North American market continues to account for more than half of this world market with the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region in second place with a 20 percent market share.

Public-safety radio was the ancestor of critical communications providing mission-critical voice services and continues to represent over half of this market, followed by the industrial, transportation and utility segments. However, the need for mobile broadband data has also entered the equation driving critical communications systems to evolve to digital radio for data handling and spectrum efficiency. As a result, critical communications systems are slowly evolving from the current TETRA, Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) and Project 25 (P25) to coexist and interoperate with Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based systems.

Softil's MCC over LTE Leadership

Softil is a leader in Mission Critical Communication over LTE solutions for developers. Historically, Softil always focused on the full embrace of open communication standards - starting from close participation in the work of the appropriate SDOs, then developing best-of-breed APIs and implementation of the relevant standards, and most importantly, paying utmost attention to the interoperability of the offered solution by active participation and leading all relevant industry-wide interoperability testing events.

Softil actively participates in development of the MCC over LTE standards in 3GPP, as well as interoperability testing at the ETSI Plugtest Events. Most importantly, Softil 3GPP Release 13-15 compliant client SDK implementation had been already commercially deployed on the market - in Korea, Softil powers latest and greatest implementation of the MCC over LTE-R communication devices installed on the newest high-speed train line, such as one connecting Incheon airport to PyongChang during the Olympic games.

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Enhance traditional security systems within your smart home
Enhance traditional security systems within your smart home

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State of counter-drone regulation for public safety and physical security
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Therefore, one can conclude that unless changes to regulation are made, non-military facilities will continue to be defenceless from and vulnerable to rogue drones.  One can conclude that unless changes to regulation are made, non-military facilities will continue to be defenceless from and vulnerable to rogue drones European c-UAS legislation Next, let’s look at the state of c-UAS legislation in both Europe and US to better understand different legislative ecosystems and how they affect the possibilities of using counter drone measures. In the European Union, there is currently no uniform legislation, and the member countries rely on their own existing legal infrastructures. Roughly speaking, most countries use a method of exemptions to the communications and aviation laws to allow the use of counter drone measures after a close examination by the relevant authorities. 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Legislators in the US and around the world need to continue working in a rapid tempo to keep up with the growing threat of drones. As with cars a century ago, the number of accidents will rise with the increase in time taken to regulate.

Unlocking profits for integrators in the ever-evolving world of access control
Unlocking profits for integrators in the ever-evolving world of access control

Whether you are a veteran in the access control world or have never installed a card reader before, there are always ways to increase profits in the ever-evolving world of access control. The hope is that by considering a few key focal points, you can find ways to increase market share. Whether we are releasing an electronic lock through a simple intercom button or using biometric and multi-authentication based on a database; the tactics for bringing on more revenue is the same. Learning to focus on a few key items can help open up opportunities. Business access controls Understanding vertical markets is a strong strategy for success in increasing your profits with access controlIf you are new to access control, it’s important to determine the right product offerings for your business model and experience level of your team. Mistakes in estimating or installing can be costly and complex. Take advantage of manufacturer training both online and in the classroom for both your sales team and installation department. It’s important to understand the fire and building codes in your area to make sure you design the proper solution for your customers. Furthermore, understanding the products, components and proper wiring can save you money in labour and materials.  Today we will look at four focus points: vertical markets, cloud-based access control, technology upgrades, and preventative maintenance and service agreements. These four focal points are simple to implement and can be easily added to your current operation. Vertical markets Understanding vertical markets is a strong strategy for success in increasing your profits with access control. The concept is that understanding a certain vertical and their security needs can increase your sales team’s marketability. If you spend your time focusing on the healthcare industry, for instance, you will see that HIPA requirements open doors for selling access control. Getting to know the regulatory concerns of different verticals is a great strategy for more effective sales Having logs of who entered your HR files room or patient records storage is a crucial part of addressing privacy concerns. Getting to know the regulatory concerns of different verticals is a great strategy for more effective sales.  Another example could be apartment communities or other multifamily dwellings. In this competitive marketplace, these complexes are looking for ways to stand out in their market. Knowing this and being able to offer amenities like secured locks with Bluetooth credentials that tenants can open with their smartphones is a selling point for you and for your customer. Building on each customer you contact within a vertical is like free sales and marketing training. The more you learn from each potential client, the more you increase your conversation starters for the next potential client. Cloud-based access control With the growing cloud-based access control market, integrators can find more opportunities in small businesses and vertical markets that typically wouldn’t be on the radar of your sales team. A typical card access system often makes the move from the traditional lock and key systems to electronic card access cost prohibitive. This is due to the large upfront costs for a server, software and annual licensing. With cloud access, integrators can offer less expensive upfront costs with low monthly subscription fees that cover all software updates, database backups, security patches and more. The real benefit for the integrator is the reoccurring revenue. By helping our clients save money on server, software and IT infrastructure costs, we are securing reoccurring revenue for our companies that increase our profitability. Building reoccurring revenue not only provides cash flow but also keeps your name on the top of the minds of your customer and that leads to additional sales. By helping clients save money on server, software and IT infrastructure costs, we are securing reoccurring revenue for companies that increase profitability Technology upgrades Another often overlooked opportunity is technology upgrades. Training your sales staff and even service technicians to watch out for clients with older technology can reap major benefits. When you bring new technology to your clients, you show another value that you bring to the table. Even if your client isn’t ready to make an upgrade, you can easily plant a seed that will get their minds and budgets rolling. An easy example is a customer with an older intercom door access system An easy example is a customer with an older intercom door access system. This may have met their needs 10 years ago when it was installed, but the office has grown and perhaps an integrated card access intercom system is a great technology upgrade. Bringing this to the customer will once again show that you are the “subject matter expert” and your customer will be more apt to refer you to their friends and colleagues. Another easy way to find technology upgrades is to dig through your ageing client list and build a list of potential targets that you have not visited lately. If you keep records of what was installed previously, it will make it easier to plan ahead and bring solutions to your next visit, saving your sales staff time and again building confidence with your clients. Preventive maintenance and service agreements One thing that sales teams often miss is the opportunity to add service agreements and preventative maintenance agreements. Even if a customer already has an access control system, they may not have a service provider and may be interested in securing a service agreement. Typically, a service agreement can be written to cover all parts and labour or just labour for an annual feeShowing the value of a service agreement is paramount, adding annual or semi-annual preventative maintenance to your service agreement is one way to add value. Inspecting locking mechanisms, request to exit motions and buttons, door status switches, headend equipment, batteries and power supplies, can save your customer from a costly after-hours service call or the inconvenience of a non-functioning access control system during business hours. Additionally, checking computer hardware and software logs for errors can save a customer from a catastrophic failure.  Typically, a service agreement can be written to cover all parts and labour or just labour for an annual fee. It is helpful to come up with a percentage of the install value that makes sense so that your sales team can easily quote a service agreement for your customer. Offering several levels of service also opens the table for negotiations. You can offer an “all parts and labour 24/7” or a “parts and labour M-F 8AM-4PM”, as an example. Offering guaranteed response times can also be a marketing strategy. Critical area access management Checking computer hardware and software logs for errors can save a customer from a catastrophic failureA 24-7 facility that has 200 employees moving in and out of critical areas may be a great potential customer for a high-level service agreement with semi-annual preventative maintenance and a guaranteed 4-hour response time. Where a small office that is only open during standard business hours may be better suited for a labour only M-F with annual preventative maintenance inspection. The point is that a creative, intentional, and focused approach to access control can yield the fruit that brings long-term success to your team. Building a plan and learning from each prospect, sale, and installation will develop a process that brings results. Attending a trade specific expo like ESX will give you the opportunity to meet with manufacturers and other integrators that can help you implement a product offering and strategy for success.