Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Switch to digital by 2012 required?

Well, it's happened again! We have a competitor that is unencumbered with the restraints that normally control the boundaries of ethical business practices. Just a year ago, this same competitor (click here for the whole story) told a prospective customer that we were required to purchase Motorola equipment from the competitors company (which presumably meant there was no reason to consider our price offerings since we HAD to charge more).

Now, this same competitor is spreading the word that everyone using 2-way radio will be required to switch to digital by 2012. Naturally, the competitors company offers a "solution" while the rest of us are apparently still in the dark about this unpublished fact. I can't blame an existing 2-way user for being concerned. A mandatory requirement to replace all existing analog 2-way radios could represent a significant investment. Locally, we heard this rumor through a hospital customer. In Florida, we heard if from a public safety user. This rumor is apparently spreading very nicely! Now, let's take a look at the truth.

The fact is that all radios must be capable of operating at 12.5 KHz (Narrow Band) by 2013 and 6.25 kHz (Very Narrow Band) by 2018. There is no requirement for digital at all except when using federal funding for purchasing of new communications equipment. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stipulates P25 compatibility (which is one of four forms of digital technology used in the USA) for communications equipment to be purchased with DHS grant funds. More information on this subject is available by clicking here.

Technically, there are some benefits associated with digital technology over analog, in particular in relation to FM radios. I won't get into the details except to say that in Europe, AM technology has been used quite successfully on narrow band channels for over 50 years. Having said that, I think it would be safe to say the advances in digital technology will result in improved features at lower cost for most of us, but that is a subject for another day. The point for the moment is that THERE IS NO FEDERAL STANDARD REQUIRING A SWITCH TO DIGITAL FOR EXISTING 2-WAY RADIO USERS - PERIOD, END OF COMMENT!

You know what's so funny about all this? Lying, or ignorance, as applicable, can be a successful sales tactic but we will continue doing business as we always have - fairly and honestly. Just thought you might like to know that we are not quite as uninformed as some would think - just operating on the principals that we have learned to be the best in the long run. Thanks for allowing us to bloviate.