ADVERTORIAL: Every solution starts with a problem, and every problem creates a need
Written by: GlobalView Systems (advertorial) | Published:

Developing user-centric, configurable and cost-effective solutions stems from solving real customer problems. GlobalView Systems discusses its approach.

The problem – typically, this originates either from frustration over operational inefficiencies, or worse, an ‘incident’. Both scenarios are time-consuming, costly and, most crucially, can compromise both worker and public safety.

The need – to have the capability to manage communications involving multiple interfaces across large and fragmented sites.

The solution – Android Dispatcher. This software application, designed and developed by GlobalView connects Conventional or XPT Hytera based radio systems via IP. The software is used in conjunction with a desktop touchscreen device that blends IP and conventional two-way radio connectivity.

Proven for critical communications were downtime is not an option. The application was initially developed as the perfect solution to a problem posed by a particular client, a large UK energy provider. They needed a reliable solution to improve on-site communications from their control rooms to the radio users, ensuring a safe working environment.

Working alongside Hytera’s Technical Team, GlobalView developed their Android Dispatcher using its InteraX software platform.

The resulting application allows users to add Radio ID’s in the system and send messages directly to on-site radios. The system allows each Android-based dispatcher to behave as a pseudo two-way Hytera radio, and lets the control room communicate to radios via the IP link to the server and Master Repeaters.

The application is built with the same philosophy of all of GlobalView Systems solutions, ease of set up and configuration for the channel partner being at the forefront, whilst meeting the end clients requirements.

GlobalView were the winners of the 2018 Gerald David OBE Award for Innovation in Business Radio and Android Dispatcher was nominated for the 2019 award. The product debuted at FCS, and showcased at PMR Expo Cologne, attracting interest from around the world, even as far afield as Costa Rica.

Dispatchers communicate with the radio users from a compact and low-cost desktop telephone with a 7" touchscreen display, reducing the amount of hardware within the control room. The device costs around 25 per cent of the total cost for a full PC set up, which would be the alternative. From this single unit, dispatchers have full control, the central server is managed from a web-based portal, providing the ability to quickly adjust dispatcher profiles, plus add/remove radio timeslots or groups. From the users' perspective, being simple to use, responsive and intuitive means fewer delays, clearer messaging, assured responses and ultimately, a more efficient and safer working environment.

Utilising the full Hytera ADK, the solution can fully integrate with all Hytera features, enabling the Radio Emergency to be acknowledged by the application. The message is raised as a broadcast to dispatchers; this enhancement allows the alarm to be acknowledged, crucially enabling the radio to open mic controls and to route this to the dispatch team. In an emergency, this is vital to assist the worker.

An essential aspect of the original design brief concerned the quality and clarity of communication from a heavily manned control room, where the existing solution suffered from feedback with multiple dispatchers monitoring the same channels. Android Dispatcher answers this with its ability for dispatchers to mute the receive audio from other dispatchers, eliminating the feedback.

System security was another concern, ensuring dispatchers were unable to access any of the standard Android applications or the external ports on the device, and was a key factor for the final solution. Android Dispatcher allows the on-site team to lock down telephone ports, cameras and ancillary functions to avoid tamper or misuse.

Another unique software feature, training mode, allows Dispatchers to be trained on the usage of the system and its advanced functionality without impacting on-site communications.

Further development introduced a Priority Interrupt function, allowing the Dispatcher to interrupt other radio calls to share vital information, including calls for emergency response.

Android Dispatcher also incorporates other seemingly small but essential functions – with user health and wellbeing in mind. The ability to clean the touchscreen without interrupting or affecting the operation in any way was a specific challenge posed by users. GlobalView added a cleaning mode which, when selected, allows the user to temporarily disable the screen function for cleaning.

The development process is ongoing and is based on feedback from interested parties, clients and users. Further developments include a voice-record feature and GPS positioning coming soon.

Android Dispatcher is both ingenious, simple to operate and cost-effective. Built with the same ethos as all of GlobalView Systems solutions and backed up with exceptional support from their team.

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