Sunday, 17 November 2019
Connection Article: PTToC in Action
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Connection Article: PTToC in Action

With all the talk about Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PTToC), and the difference that this LMR/LTE integration is making to the way organizations are communicating, we took the opportunity to chat to Dion Stevenson, who works with customers to support Tait TeamPTT, the Tait PTToC solution.

This article is from the latest issue of Connection Magazine.

What’s your involvement with Tait TeamPTT?

Our DMR/MPT-IP/P25 networks connect to Tait TeamPTT servers either on customer premises, or on our regional cloud-based servers. Working alongside Product Manager Nick Rayner, I’m the Technical Lead for driving the solution, including integration and connectivity. I’m also tech support for our Service Management Centers around the world when my specialist technical understanding and support is required. It’s my job to keep our customers’ real-world challenges at the forefront of our processes, and to help them develop individualized solutions that are practical, reliable and intuitive.

From your perspective, how do you see PTToC working to make a difference to your customers?

Tait TeamPTT connects front line staff with management or command, who can hear first-hand what is happening from wherever they are, whether they are on duty or not. Being able to pick up on the emotional intensity of a situation shapes the information available, to match appropriate levels of support and resource. This has a decisive impact for front line staff, fostering confidence and team morale, and because it effectively flattens the chain of command, it accelerates decision making and therefore, response.

How does PTToC change the way organizations work?

It extends the reach of the radio network quickly, easily and inexpensively. Tait TeamPTT is really effective at connecting cross-functional teams with managers and with each other. Support teams can anticipate needs, by being aware of the contextual situation before they are called upon. That in turn reduces response times, when compared with taking time to understand the requirement and determining what equipment is required, before taking action.

At an informal level, team members gain an understanding of others’ roles, allowing an organization to enjoy a synergy that was not previously realizable. It’s hard to put a value on that.

How secure are Tait TeamPTT communications?

All cellphone-to-cellphone communications use encryption, which cannot be turned off. If the connection between a Tait TeamPTT Server and the node uses VPN, the pathway itself can be encrypted.

Who is using Tait TeamPTT right now?

It is a really obvious choice for police departments, but it’s also working really well for rural fire teams, and part time or volunteer firefighters who are often widely dispersed across their geographical area. Currently, each team member’s location and availability is accessed via their cellphone, so they don’t need to carry a radio until they are actually deployed. However, radios will also offer this functionality in the near future.

While cellphones are not designed to handle tactical requirements, communication can continue between the active team members and those waiting to support. This means all team members have real time information, and can be right ready to deploy on command.

What’s the one thing you want customers to understand about Tait TeamPTT?

In a word, flexibility. It’s highly flexible, with a range of features that individual users can customize for themselves. However, administrators also can lock operational features, like minimum volume to ensure calls are always heard. Groups and address books can be controlled from an administrator’s portal, but individual users can quickly and easily create temporary groups for specific projects, or in an emergency.

Other features allow messaging with images between cellphones, and show the locations of other team members. At the control center, a desktop version displays locations on a map, together with all messaging and voice calls.

“It’s my job to keep our customers’ real-world challenges at the forefront of our processes.”

What else?

Other features our customers appreciate include:

  • call logging and location breadcrumbs for debriefing and investigations,
  • priority voice so important communication is never lost,
  • templates that apply the same features and capabilities to multiple users,
  • SNMP support for monitoring the servers

How hard is it for organizations to implement and maintain?

If a radio network is already in use, the radios require no extra software, features, or keys. The connection between the radio network and a regional Tait TeamPTT server uses either ISSI (P25) or AIS (DMR/MPT-IP). The cellphones require an internet connection (WiFi or cellphone data) and a downloadable application to connect into the Tait TeamPTT network.

Our 24/7 SMC Support Team can quickly provide the initial setup, then most organizations can easily manage their own network. Of course, our SMC team is available for ongoing support.

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