Interview: John Florenca, Omnitronics
By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 08 November, 2017
This year’s Comms Connect Melbourne (22–23 November) will feature more than 70 exhibitors, covering a wide variety of products and services of keen interest to everyone in the business- and mission-critical communications industry.
One of those exhibitors will be dispatch systems specialist Omnitronics, which will be demonstrating its RediTALK-Flex solution. To find out more about this leading Australian company and its offerings, we spoke with its CEO, John Florenca.
Critical Comms: Your solutions are used all around the world. Are there any particular installations that you’re especially proud of?
John Florenca: There are two in recent months that we are particularly proud of, because they show the broad scope of markets and applications that we operate within. In June 2017, Omnitronics won a contract to build and deliver a large-scale DX-Altus dispatch system for a project in the UAE. The time frame for delivery was very tight; however, we were able to meet the delivery date. This was to a large degree attributed to the high levels of flexibility and interfacing options offered by DX-Altus’ modular design, enabling us to build, test and deliver straight from our factory. The system was delivered to Motorola Solutions, which is working with the giant UAE telecommunications company Etisalat.
Also in June, NSW Ambulance decided to upgrade its existing dispatch sites with the DX-Altus. The customer has been served well by the DX64 since 2006 so it was no surprise that the DX-Altus should be selected as a key part of its future plans. Omnitronics will be partnering with Sydney-based Mastercom, which will be installing and commissioning eight systems across seven sites, with more than 100 operator positions.
NSW Ambulance has a vision for a world-class communications platform that will improve healthcare services across the state and increase the health and safety of first responders. With its ability to accommodate a wide range of digital technologies for both voice and data, we’re confident that the DX-Altus will help NSW Ambulance achieve it goals, and we’re thrilled that we will be supporting them on their journey.
CC: Are you seeing any particular trends in dispatch, eg, are location services becoming more important?
JF: Certainly, locations services are becoming a huge part of dispatch applications, but this is right across the industry, not just emergency services. Omnitronics now offers three levels of functionality, from basic GPS locations on a map to sophisticated asset management with reporting, to address the varying needs of the industry. We are also finding that many applications (mainly in the business sector) are predominantly location services based with less demand on the voice communications side.
Several years ago, the GPS type of applications that we were involved with used cellular modems. Now, all of the digital radios support GPS. This is a great thing for the radiocommunications industry as it is providing technology that is increasing the safety of individuals out in the field whilst enabling organisations to manage and optimise the services they provide.
We are also seeing a trend within location services to not just display positions, but to assess the information that is received, generate automated alerts or present information to a dispatch operator that will enable them to make timely decisions.
CC: Cybersecurity is of prime importance these days. Is the critical communications sector keeping ahead of the bad guys?
JF: Cybersecurity has become a vital consideration for the LMR sector. Increasingly, operations networks that were isolated from the internet are being opened up to access cloud-based resources. While the various LMR sectors are making an effort to improve their response to these issues, more resources and effort will be required to address these problems. At this stage, it seems that many organisations may not be where they should be in terms of addressing security vulnerabilities and ongoing testing to ensure known issues are addressed.
However, we are seeing a greater interest from our customers about the types of security features available in our products and the level of testing for security vulnerabilities. Of course, this goes beyond security of data and voice transmission and starts to include things such as cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, authentication and access protection.
CC: Tell us about the RediTALK webinars you’re running.
JF: The webinars are intended to provide a high-level overview of the RediTALK-Flex radio dispatch console, which provides small to mid-sized organisations with a great range of functionality and communications management tools. The webinars involve a demo of some of the core and advanced features of RediTALK-Flex. This helps attendees to gain an understanding of how a system can be structured and how it can be used for voice and data applications.
CC: Finally, what can visitors expect to see on your exhibition stand at Comms Connect?
JF: This year, we will be showcasing the recently released RediTALK-Flex. This is a PC-based dispatch application that has evolved from our original and highly successful RediTALK application. The new product is manufacturer agnostic and supports all of the new digital technologies including DMR Tier 2 and Tier 3, P25 and even TETRA. However, what really sets this product apart from its predecessor and competitors is that it’s incredibly feature rich, with built-in locations services including geofencing; call history with recording and playback; patching and SIP telephony.
We will have several key personnel including a sales engineer and a senior developer on hand to explain and demonstrate the RediTALK-Flex product, along with our other core products. Our staff will also be happy to confidentially discuss any specific potential communications problems our visitors may have and explore possible solutions to those problems.
The Comms Connect Melbourne conference and exhibition is on from 22–23 November 2017 (with industry workshops on the day prior, the 21st). Full details of speakers and exhibitors, plus registration details (including a FREE expo pass), can be found on the Comms Connect website.
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