Digital radio technologies such as DMR offer a wide range of voice, data and messaging services, as well as many other applications. But with such a variety of additional services available compared with analogue systems it can be very helpful to have a good dispatch solution in place to manage the radio system, devices and applications.
A good dispatching solution will enable organisations to carry out administrative tasks, manage day-to-day operations and above all co-ordinate emergency operations much more effectively. A dispatch system can help boost productivity through more efficient subscriber management, call group co-ordination and by linking with other systems such as PABX/PSTN networks.
Dispatch solutions are particularly useful when it comes to boosting safety, as dispatchers and network operators can use GPS location services to remotely monitor radio users and assets in real time and locate their presence on their consoles using map displays. This makes it much easier for dispatchers to see who has pressed an emergency button, for example, note exactly where they are, and dispatch whoever is best placed to provide help most quickly.
Dispatch systems with full voice recording and call logging can also be very helpful in terms of providing visibility to managers about business operations. By accessing and playing back recordings of who said what and when, managers can use the material to aid training programmes and improve the organisation’s performance.
Hytera offers several dispatch solutions including SmartDispatch for use with DMR Tier 2 Conventional systems, the Hytera DWS (Dispatch WorkStation) Dispatcher for use with DMR Tier IIItrunking systems, and the very versatile SmartOne for use with DMR Tier 2, Tier 3, and Hytera XPT (Extended Pseudo Trunking) networks.
The first thing to note about all these Hytera solutions is that they comprise a series of individual modules, which means customers can build up a dispatch system based on subscriber numbers, network topology and coverage area.
The dispatch system can be tailored to meet the requirements of anything from a small, single-site system up to a large multi-site, wide area network – from a taxi office to a multi-console control room. Customers only need to pay for the features they need, rather than being forced to use a one size fits all solution. Whatever configuration is chosen it can be managed through a remote configuration tool.
Hytera SmartDispatch and SmartXPT
It is worth highlighting some of the key functionalities available with the Hytera SmartDispatch andSmartXPT solution as these are common to all Hytera’s dispatch offerings. SmartDispatch can handle all types of voice call including private call, group call and all call. Each client console can access up to eight voice dispatching channels, which can receive and trigger any type of call through a user-friendly and easy-to-operate user interface.
The voice recording and playback facility records and stores all incoming/outgoing calls on the server. Voice calls can be searched and played back, via time of call or caller ID. The SIP standard protocol can be used to integrate with a standard IP-PBX for voice interconnection between radios and PSTN public phone networks.
Visualised dispatching facilities are another very useful tool. The dispatcher can perform various functions to terminals shown on the screen on the map (Hytera supports various on-line and off-line mapping options, so customers can choose the right one for themselves), including calls, presence check, call alert, text messages and remote monitor.
The Hytera SmartDispatch System console supports multiple views and screen splitting across displays, so that all the information required can be seen at a glance. Furthermore, the application supports multiple languages, which can be switched easily from the dispatcher console interface without needing to reboot the application.
The audio-link function allows dispatchers to crosspatch talk groups, channels, sites and systems together, providing seamless communication between all radio users. Once the communication link is established all radios operate together regardless of frequency or mode (analogue or digital).
The remote monitoring facility allows the system to un-mute the microphone of a radio to monitor voice activities remotely without the PTT button having to be pressed. This can be useful in emergency situations when the control centre needs to listen to remote voice activities without the need for the radio user to press the PTT button.
The dispatcher intercom feature supports direct communication between client consoles. Users can choose either one-to-one intercom or broadcast intercom from the client interface.
GPS location-based features
Hytera SmartDispatch offers a number GPS related services. For example, when enabled for the radio Hytera Quick GPS will transmit locations more securely and efficiently. The server receives GPS reports passively from radios, and the dispatcher console can query the GPS.
It should be noted that the GPS positioning feature is only available for radios fitted with a GPS module. Each radio subscriber can obtain its location coordinate information from this built-in GPS module. The Hytera SmartDispatch System can retrieve the location information of any radio either by requesting on demand the current position of the radio, or by sending a ‘start tracking command’, causing a radio to send its location information from the radio to Hytera SmartDispatch periodically with a configurable time interval.
Real-time location tracking of the radio is also available, and dispatchers have the option to display the location route on the map. The number of location tracking activities that can be activated at one time will depend on the mapping system and limitations of system resources.
‘Snail-trail’ historical tracking of location history and route playback is also available, as this information is kept in the system database for later retrieval. Telemetry services are another function, allowing users to remotely monitor and control devices connected to the radio, as well as receive alerts from these devices and record their activity.
SmartDispatch is able define regions or areas using the geo-fencing function on a map to set up either working or restricted areas for predefined sets of radios. If the restricted area is infringed, or the radio leaves a defined working area, an alarm will be activated in the control room.
Finally, it is worth noting that unlike most GPRS-based solutions, Hytera SmartDispatch relies on the DMR communication network for GPS location instead of the GPRS protocol. That means there is no recurring monthly fee for data.
Other services include the ability to send and receive DMR standard text messages. Customers can also send a text message to offline radios which when the radio is switched on, or registers online when entering the DMR coverage area, the text message will be received. The dispatch system also has the ability to support an email gateway, as the SmartDispatch System server can integrate with SMTP and POP3 servers.
The Hytera SmartDispatch System will automatically receive emergency alarms from radios. By clicking “Take” the dispatcher acknowledges receipt of the emergency; and clicking “Handle” indicates the dispatcher has handled the emergency.
If a subscriber presses the emergency alarm button, or if a Man Down or Lone Worker (if the radio includes these features) alert is automatically activated, the Hytera SmartDispatch System will trigger an alarm. It is possible to show the location of the radio on the map when the emergency is triggered, as long as the radio has a GPS location fix.
Over the air programming (OTAP)
The dispatch system can be used to install or change various radio features over the air such as radio ID, radio Alias, colour code, slot operation,Tx & Rx frequency, Rx group list, and Tx contact name. Unknown radios appearing on the network can be enabled or disabled using the radio ID. If an authorised radio is lost or stolen it can be stunned to prevent it transmitting or receiving. It can then be activated again over the air if necessary. Status reporting is another important aspect of radio fleet management and control. When the radio is powered on or off it will send a status report to the dispatcher. The dispatcher will also be able to check the status of any radio with status query command. This allows the dispatcher to monitor the status of all the radios in the system.
The Hytera SmartDispatch System can support single station mode and IP connection mode with a repeater. As the database and recorded files are an important part of the system the Hytera SmartDispatch System offers two ways to back up the database, manual or automatic, to reduce risk and recover data when necessary. In addition, the system can generate various types of reports including calling report, radio status report and location tracking report.
In addition to linking mobile radios, repeaters can also be added via IP in order to use the system as a radio dispatcher. This delivers an IP dispatching system, enabling network-wide voice recording and direct control of the repeater time slots.
DMR DWS Dispatcher
The DMR DWS Dispatcher is Hytera’s professional dispatching application and is the solution to choose if you have a DMR Tier III trunked network. DWS dispatchers have all the functions on one user interface and they can be used as logistics and control centres to efficiently manage the radio subscribers, whilst also serving as a control unit for monitoring alarm functions. DWS offers all the SmartDispatch/SmartXPT features outlined above, along with enhanced functionality appropriate to larger and more complex trunked radio networks.
For example, in addition to support all types of voice calling, the DWS also provides enhanced functionality including dynamic group number assignment (DGNA) directly on the screen, group patching, and discrete listening (monitoring). In addition to voice functionality, the DWS also supports the sending and receiving of short messages and status updates.
The DWS can send tasks to individual radios and the radios will confirm or reject the task. Each dispatcher workstation can be equipped with individual functions to enable specialist talk groups or particular network functions to be monitored and controlled. The DWS can be adapted in detail to suit individual customers and to fit the requirements of any radio system. The console interface can be adapted to suit specific customer requirements.
Resilience can be enhanced by the ability to connect each DWS workstation to two servers to provide server redundancy. If the primary server fails, then a second server takes over operation to ensure continuous operation and enable dispatchers to work without interruption.
This redundancy of servers, databases, and system connection creates a high level of system stability. The server is also able to backup its database to external data carriers at configurable intervals, which can be restored later if necessary.
DWS provides a call list with detailed information on all calls, as well as start time, duration, and subscribers’ voice activity. Different sound and visual options are available to signal calls to the dispatcher, enabling fast reaction times, particularly in emergency situations.
The solution also offers multiplex support for voice calls, including semi-duplex, full-duplex and group calls, emergency calls, broadcast calls, mass calls, as well as PSTN and PABX calls. Monitoring of the current status of radios, including registration status on the radio system as well as at the current base station, GPS position data and speed of movement is all part of the DWS solution.
Whatever your dispatch and control room needs are, Hytera has a solution that can be configured to suit your exact needs.