By Doug Clark
Effective communication is of paramount importance for first responders, including police departments. Communication directly impacts the ability to coordinate and respond swiftly in critical situations. In high-pressure and time-sensitive scenarios, clear and reliable communication is vital for officers to relay critical information, collaborate with colleagues and receive real-time updates.
Traditionally, the policing sector has heavily relied on land mobile radios (LMR) for communication. These LMR systems – comprising handheld portables, in-vehicle mobiles, dispatch consoles, repeaters and towers – form private radio networks that are costly to procure and maintain. With LMR public safety portables costing police forces anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 each, the financial burden on police agencies can run into millions of dollars. Not to mention, these private LMR networks often cover only one metropolitan city area, limiting their scope and ability to provide robust communication capabilities.
Siyata Mobile Inc. is dedicated to revolutionizing communication in the field of policing by providing mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) solutions. Recognizing the importance of effective communication in law enforcement operations, Siyata Mobile has developed the SD7 handset and accessories with features specifically tailored to the policing market. This advanced handset offers a range of functionalities that enhance communication capabilities, ultimately improving the effectiveness and efficiency of police agencies.
One notable feature of the SD7 handset is its Covert Mode, an innovative solution that temporarily disables audio and lights on the device. This mode is particularly useful for SWAT teams and covert operations, allowing officers to maintain secrecy and prevent potential suspects from being tipped off by any lights or audio nearby. By utilizing a wired or wireless earpiece, officers can continue to communicate discreetly while ensuring operational objectives are met without compromise.
To address range capabilities, the SD7 handset operates nationwide, leveraging cellular coverage on FirstNet’s network and other networks, thereby enabling mission-critical communications in various locations. Even in weak cellular coverage areas, Siyata’s cellular signal boosters can be used with its VK7 Vehicle Kit to improve reception and ensure continuous connectivity for first responders using the SD7 handsets. This combination provides an affordable and reliable solution that empowers police forces to equip a larger number of staff with dependable communication devices.
Recognizing the gradual nature of the transition from private LMR networks to broadband networks like FirstNet, Siyata Mobile has taken measures to ensure a seamless integration process. The SD7 handset supports interoperability solutions that enable communication between new MCPTT over Cellular handsets and LMR public safety portables. This allows police agencies to adopt modern communication technology at their own pace without compromising the capabilities of existing systems.
Siyata Mobile has taken the necessary steps to understand the specific communication needs of the policing market. In addition to the Covert Mode, the SD7 handset incorporates key features like rugged durability, extended battery life, and advanced GPS capabilities. The handset is also compatible with a complete range of wired and wireless accessories such as PTT mics and earpieces, providing convenience and flexibility for officers in the field.
“We recognize that we have LMR coverage challenges with our radios outside the network geography, and in some areas inside the LMR network geography. We are interested in the SD7 handset from Siyata Mobile because it operationally meets our needs, and with FirstNet, it addresses our coverage challenges at a fraction of the cost of an LMR radio. It also uses the mission critical push-to-talk service that interoperates with our existing LMR system. No more loss of comms in another jurisdiction. You push the button, and you’re on your talkgroup. It is a big officer safety enabler!” said Gary MacNamara, Fairfield Ct. Police Chief (ret).
As of June 2018, there were 17,541 state and local agencies responsible for law enforcement in the United States. These agencies employed a total of 1,214,000 full-time sworn and civilian personnel, which is an increase of approximately 80,000 compared to the numbers in 2008. With this many first responders, the importance of effective communication cannot be understated. Siyata Mobile is challenging the status quo of communication technology in policing by providing robust and affordable MCPTT solutions.