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Motorola bridges PMR and LTE

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Motorola Solutions has introduced the latest device in its Convergence Suite of applications that enables push-to-talk, mapping, messaging and other functionality to help bridge radio and LTE.

Responding to the increasing demand for reliable, nationwide, professional mobile radio networks, Motorola Solutions has introduced WAVE 7000 to a marketplace that requires high-performance Push-To-Talk (PTT) across broadband and professional mobile radio (PMR) networks to keep teams connected.

With public safety agencies increasingly reliant on smart devices and data, many countries are looking to set up nationwide broadband PTT networks to augment their communications networks. Until now, the challenge has been creating those networks while maintaining

interoperability with fully established networks such as PMR. WAVE 7000 combines Motorola Solutions’ best-in-class LMR integration with a high-performance PTT solution that supports millions of users.

LTE service providers can also use WAVE 7000 to provide a new service to their current customers, unlock new customer bases and increase their revenue by providing subscribers with high-performance PTT.

“Many of our customers expect that their networks over the next 20 years will be comprised of a combination of LMR and LTE systems,” said Jeff Spaeth, vice president of Systems and Software Enablement at Motorola Solutions. “With WAVE 7000, customers are provided a unified experience across LMR and LTE that will keep teams connected no matter the network.”

The WAVE 7000 solution will enable PTT capabilities on the new ESN public safety communications system as part of Motorola Solutions´ contract with the UK Home Office. The company is the provider of user services for the new LTE-based broadband network which 300;000 emergency and public service users at more than 300 agencies across Great Britain will rely on.

WAVE 7000 is the latest release of a wider portfolio that enables groups using any combination of smartphones, radios or other devices to communicate seamlessly. Along with high reliability and industry-leading call quality, WAVE 7000 also has high-performance features:

* Network-level priority and preemption that ensure high-priority PTT calls get through even when an LTE network gets congested, which is critical for public safety customers;

* Emergency calls, ambient listening and hardware-based encryption, along with other features custom designed for public safety users;

* A roadmap to meet 3GPP Release 13 standards called “Mission-Critical PTT”;

* Combined with Motorola Solutions’ Convergence Suite, unified PTT, mapping, messaging and other functions across LMR and LTE;

* Support for hundreds of thousands of users on a single server and millions with server clustering;

* Unsurpassed availability through local and geo redundancy options;

* Flexible PTT call types including emergency, broadcast, group and private calls.

With the increasing mobility in teams and need for constant connectivity, push-to-talk communications are more important than ever. Many customers look to leverage both LMR and LTE for enhanced coverage, reliability and flexibility. WAVE 7000 provides a clear solution, with unified, secure PTT so users can communicate across any network on any device.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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