TETRA, Smart Grid, DMR Among Hot Topics at PMRExpo
Thursday, January 01, 2015 | Comments

This year’s PMRExpo, held 25 – 27 November in Cologne, Germany, again experienced growth compared with last year’s figures. The 14th PMRExpo had 165 exhibitors from 14 countries, 3,200 visitors and more than 1,000 attendees during the three-day conference. Since its establishment in 1990, the PMRExpo has shown considerable growth and is among the most important marketplaces for professional mobile radio (PMR) worldwide.

The strongest growth was among exhibitors from China, with 12 companies this year. Austria was presented as the guest country to give PMRExpo visitors insight into the Austrian PMR market.

The conference program featured three mainstreams. First was the national rollout of the German TETRA public-safety network, which has now achieved 94 percent of its planned deployment. Furthermore, TETRA paging for emergency services and industrial applications was a hot topic, and the expo included an exhibit of an intrinsically safe TETRA pager for hazardous industrial environments.

A second emphasis was on critical infrastructures and the technical requirements for the smart grid. This was complemented by crisis management speeches discussing organizational issues based on wide-area power outages lasting up to two weeks.

Finally, broadband communications, along with its technical options and its importance for public-safety users, was presented. TETRA and TETRA Enhanced Data Service (TEDS), as well as a hybrid solution combining TETRA and Long Term Evolution (LTE), are all valid options.

Indoor radio coverage for public-safety networks in tunnels, railways and subway stations, airports and other special locations such as shopping malls is an ongoing, important topic. Apart from standard approaches, such as repeaters or independent indoor TETRA networks, a new solution was presented. The system is a cross-network link with a pair of mobile radios, one in service on the outside and the other in service through an independent indoor TETRA network. This solution provides one voice communications channel between the networks at a time.

Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), with its increasing market penetration, is a popular choice among new digital narrowband technologies. Vendors of trunked solutions (Tier 3) are well introduced in market segments such as utilities, public transportation and industry. Especially with utilities, there is an increasing trend toward using DMR Tier 3 as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) over radio. Many exhibition booths presented working simulation models of smart grid applications.

Another current trend is with application packages for the various market segments. One company presented a DMR train radio. The Tier 3 solution is designed for deployment in light rail networks, facilitating calls to trains by line number and course.

Similar to last year, the exhibition again hosted the international Public-Safety Forum with speakers from the United Kingdom, Norway, Finland and Germany. This year, three additional forums were added —Industry Forum, Dealer Forum and Forum for Indoor Coverage Solutions. All forums were held in an area within the exhibition space and were meant to serve as a platform for discussions among experts, users and vendors. Most of the sessions were bilingual, in English and German.

The show in 2015 will again be in Cologne 24 – 26 November, coinciding with the first week of the Christmas Market in the center of the city’s old downtown.

Max Zerbst is the principal consultant with Datasel Consulting in Springe, Germany. He formerly was vice president, marketing and sales, for Rohde & Schwarz BICK Mobilfunk. Zerbst has 30 years of experience in the field of mobile radio, spanning systems development, product management, business development, and marketing and sales.

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