Bittium: bridging the gap between TETRA and LTE

(Advertorial) ​Bittium, the Finnish pioneer of advanced radio technologies, has recently launched a new and exciting solution that combines Bittium Tough Mobile, its secure and rugged LTE smartphone, together with the new Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX extension.

The solution brings connectivity between TETRA and LTE by combining mission critical voice over tactical or PMR networks with the application capabilities and high speed data of an LTE smartphone, all in a single rugged handset.

In practice, the Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX extension is an integrated module and a smart holder for Bittium Tough Mobile smartphone. It provides a ruggedised cable connection to the existing TETRA or other PMR radios and allows operation of both Bittium Tough Mobile and the connected PMR radio from the same user interface. The user can benefit from all the features of a smartphone while voice is routed via the TETRA device, all this can be done without any changes to the operational model for voice communication of the user organisation.

User benefits
The HybridX extension makes the Bittium Tough Mobile smartphone a remote speaker microphone for a PMR radio, allowing the user to remotely operate a TETRA or P25 device from the smartphone. The connection is made via a dedicated cable, removing the need for carrying a separate RSM accessory. When attached to the smart holder, it allows the phone to double as a body-worn camera with a 170-degree view. The smart holder provides an integrated charging function, so users don’t have to worry about losing power during the mission or work shift. Multi-colour LEDs guide the user, e.g. showing when the device is taking a video.

With Tough Mobile HybridX, it is possible to use only one device to operate two PTT systems, instead of juggling between two separate devices. Police officers and other first responders are already carrying and using multiple communication devices, and this solution reduces the total number of devices, and also bridges the TETRA or P25 users with those who are using only LTE smartphones.

Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX extension allows cost savings because the user organisations can keep using their existing TETRA/P25 radios. This reduces the total cost of ownership when transitioning to future LTE-based mission critical systems. The transition period between the technologies can be long, and in case either the TETRA/P25 device or the smartphone reaches its end of life, there is no need to replace the whole system. With Bittium’s solution it is possible to keep on benefiting from the investments that have already been made. The solution can be tailored to specific customer requirements, including specific PMR radio models, security levels, speed commands, and other functions.

The go-to tool for authorities
During the solution’s development, there has been a clear focus on customer needs and requirements. Bittium has been cooperating with different authorities, such as representatives of Emergency Medical Services, to validate the usability and benefits of Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX extension.

Mr. Jouni Kurola, medical director, Centre for Prehospital Emergency Care, Kuopio University Hospital: “We at the Kuopio University Hospital District in Finland are excited about the new and innovative Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX solution. We look forward to start using it within our Emergency Medical Services where the solution will, for example, help us to communicate more diversely and achieve real-time situational awareness from accident sites.”

The Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX extension eases the use of PTT communication, and also provides additional capabilities, such as push-to-video, emergency button and external loudspeaker. All in all, it is the perfect solution for the converging worlds of PMR voice, high speed data access and Android-based multimedia applications.

The Bittium Tough Mobile HybridX extension was shortlisted for “Best Evolution to Future Broadband” award at the International Critical Communications Awards, which was held in conjunction with the Critical Communications World event, 15-17 May, in Berlin, Germany.