Utilities: DMR Tier III for IoT?

DMR Tier III is making headway with utilities. However, it faces competition from other wireless technologies. Vaughan O’Grady investigates whether its combination of voice capacity, resilience, coverage and IoT applications could be a winning hand

Wireless technologies have long played a part in the work of UK utilities – some of it via staff using public cellular networks on their smartphones and tablets. However, where mission-critical voice communications are involved private two-way radio (most commonly the analogue MPT1327 system) has often been UK utilities’ method of choice. But both wireless communication and the utilities it serves are changing.

As Adrian Grilli, managing director of the Joint Radio Company, an industry-owned spectrum management consultancy and spectrum management organisation, explains: “At the moment it’s the old MPT1327; that’s the critical voice communications network we use.” But he adds: “You wouldn’t put in a new analogue system now that there is a digital alternative. DMR Tier III is mature, effectively doubles the capacity that you get in the band, and holds out the opportunity of more data and duplex voice.”

Data capability also potentially makes DMR Tier III useful for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. However, only Simoco Group and Tait Communications have a sizeable DMR Tier III utility customer base in the UK at the moment.

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