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Motorola fire ground radio solution

Motorola Solutions and the New Zealand Fire Service have developed a new two-way radio for firefighters.

The radio’s microphone built into firefighter breathing apparatus. Each radio also has a push-to-talk button positioned centrally on the body. This means firefighters can operate it through thick rubber gloves with a clenched fist or fingers.

It’s a unique design that allows firefighters to communicate easily and safely while in action.

Motorola says the unit’s performance under extreme testing for heat, cold and audio performance is exceptional. The heat testing, in particular, exceeded specifications by around 25 percent.

NZ developed

Motorola Solutions developed the radio with the New Zealand Fire Service. It meets the organisation’s specific user requirements. Motorola’s Australian-based team members worked on the project with the New Zealand team in the field.

Motorola says it hopes to roll out the technology globally.

Spark New Zealand also worked with Motorola Solutions on the project. The pair won a sizable deal that will see Motorola supply 4500 radios. Spark will handle the back-up support including service management and a customer help desk.

Motorola and Spark have a five-year contract for the radios. It includes provisions for other government agencies should that want to use the technology. This could improve on-the-ground co-operation between, say, firefighters and police officers.

Exacting Fire Service requirements

Paul Baxter, CEO of the New Zealand Fire Service, says his organisation had exacting requirements for the radios.

He says: “Communication is critical to safety on the incident ground. Much of that communication comes from the use of incident ground control (IGC) radio.

“The radios will help us to resolve radio interface issues with firefighters’ breathing apparatus while also delivering improved noise cancellation and battery life.”

The radios use a combination of single and multi-band radios operating across both VHF and UHF bands.

Baxter says: “This radio solution enables us to move away from using a mix of models and frequencies and toward a nationally consistent standard that will make it easier to work with our emergency service partners”.

Spark Digital CEO Tim Miles says: “Radios are life-saving tools for our emergency services, and great team communication can be the difference between a managed incident and a disaster. We are very proud to play a part in improving the on-ground experience for our Fire Service heroes.”

Motorola Moto XThis morning I was on TV3 Firstline talking about the Motorola Moto X which I tested over Easter. For a moment I thought my demonstration of the voice activation wasn’t going to work, but the phone got there in the end.

When I played back the video to check it before posting, the phone heard me talking, fired up and gave me a fresh weather forecast. The Moto X is quickly becoming my favourite Android phone. These demonstrations are always nerve-wracking on live television.

I also talked briefly about NorthPower finishing its UFB fibre build in Whangarei and about New Zealand exporters using China’s Alibaba website to reach 300 million consumers.

Moto X undercuts pricey iPhone, S5 – Story – Technology – 3 News.

motorola moto x

Motorola says the Moto X phone will soon go on sale in New Zealand through stores like JB Hi-Fi.

Although it’s an Android phone, there’s little in common between the Motorola Moto X and the high-profile Samsung Galaxy S5.

For a start the Moto X offers a quality phone experience for less money. Motorola expects the Moto X to sell for around NZ$600 compared to the NZ$1050 for the Galaxy S5.

And it’s simpler, less geeky. That makes it easier to use and quicker to master. Samsung fans might argue otherwise, but I’d say this phone has a clearer focus on productivity. Or, if you’re not inclined to think of phones as work tools, there’s an emphasis on getting useful things done.

Google heritage

When the Moto X first went on sale in the USA last August, Google owned Motorola — now Lenovo owns the business. In some ways it represents Google’s vision of what an Android phone should look like. Make that one vision, Google also had its fingerprints all over the Nexus 5.

You get an interesting glimpse into Google’s thinking. The phone’s OS is, in comparison with the Galaxy range, a stripped-down version of Android. It seems faster and there’s less shovelware packed with the device.

Motorola built the Moto X around a voice-enabled version of Google Now. In some ways it reminds me of Google Glass, with the added bonus that you don’t look like a dork when using the phone.

Show me the way to the next whiskey bar

I’ve no idea if the phone can show me the way to the next whiskey bar, but it can understand a range of spoken commands — like Google Glass. The microphone is permanently on. It fires up when you say the magic words: “OK Google Now” followed by a command.

So, “OK Google Now, what is the weather forecast”. There’s a bleep followed by posh English woman’s voice  announcing “Here’s the weather forecast for Auckland”.

In other words it figured out I want to know the local forecast and not what is happening in Timbuktu.

There’s a long list of possible commands. You can get the phone to cue music tracks, start voice calls and take notes. If you ask something it doesn’t understand, it’ll try Googling the word for you.

I managed to use the phone with the UK, US and Australian voice settings without trouble. Oddly, given my pommy accent, it did better with Australian settings than with UK settings, but, for some reason that serves up information with an American accent.

Good phone, good price

At first sight the Moto X is a good phone at a competitive price. It has a decent 4.7 inch display and trucks along nicely on whatever processor powers the beast — as if anyone cares what’s under the bonnet if the speed is good enough. The camera is a weak spot, but not everyone wants to take complex shots on a mobile phone. This is an Android I could happily live with.