Exclusive: Mission critical messaging

November 22, 2021

Sepura explains how users of TETRA radios can connect to first responders and security teams with a secure messaging application.

It is extremely common for operational users to have a wide range of devices at their disposal to be used as their tools for primary communications. This could include devices used in the field such as radios, smartphones or tablets as well as control room staff using desk-based computers.

It can also be a regularly occurring problem that these devices do not have a simple means to communicate with each other; not only can this result in reduced situational awareness, it can also have a significant potential impact on staff safety. Sepura’s SmartChat application solves these communication problems by enabling operational messages to be shared between all these devices on a secure and encrypted platform. Not only does this instantly improve the situational awareness of teams, it ensures that voice channels are kept free for emergency communications.

Enabling improved communication

The application enables both text and image-based communications to be shared; typical examples might include images of a broken part that needs to be shared with a maintenance team, complex map co-ordinates or awareness of security resources needed elsewhere on site. Specific enhancements to improve the user’s immediate understanding of the message include ‘@’ user mentions as well as text formatting options and the ability to pin urgent messages to the top of the chat feed. Post-event, the chat can also be downloaded for audit and analysis purposes.

Messages can be sent to individual radios, to a pre-selected sub-group or every radio within a chat group. User groups can be quickly expanded to include any connected device with the SmartChat application downloaded. This means additional resources can quickly be added to an operational team with a history of conversation to bring them up to speed. This feature supports operational teams such as those working in maintenance, utilities or mining plants where users are quickly added to an operation. It can also help to maintain standard operations ahead of a shift change.

By using the secure TETRA network, SmartChat ensures that crucial information is received by users even when the broadband coverage is poor – this is frequently the case when it comes to large buildings, underground locations or remote spots.

The application is the latest in Sepura’s portfolio of applications available via AppSPACE, a unique applications environment available on Sepura’s SC Series mobile and hand portable radios.

Terence Ledger, Global Sales Director at Sepura, outlined the genesis of SmartChat: “The application was designed to improve overall situational awareness for mission critical users. For these users, their next action is often dependent on the information they have to hand. By sharing data as widely as possible, in a simple user interface, the application seamlessly joins smartphone, control room and TETRA radio users. This improves operational efficiency and supports staff safety.”

For more information on SmartChat, please visit: www.sepura.com.

This article was originally published in the November edition of Security Journal UK. To get your FREE digital copy, visit: digital.securityjournaluk.com

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