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The Journey to Push-to-Talk-Over-Cellular and MCPTT: Where are they now?

Donny Jackson  (Editor, IWCE's Urgent Communications)

Josh Lober  (President/CEO, ESChat)

Robert Escalle  (CBDO, North America, Nemergent Solutions SL)

Jeffrey Marani  (Director, IT Field Technologies, Global Medical Response)

Jeff Johnson  (CEO, Western Fire Chiefs)

Nick Falgiatore  (Senior Technology Specialist, Mission Critical Partners)

Neil Horden  (Principal Consultant, Horden Technology, LLC)

Date: Tuesday, September 28

Time: 8:30am - 11:30am

Track: Push-to-Talk & Future of Voice, Public Safety Broadband

Format: 3-Hour Workshop

Vault Recording: TBD

Always one of the liveliest IWCE sessions every year, this year’s version promises to be the most relevant ever, because many theoretical ideas in past discussions are very real today. Push-to-talk-over-cellular (PoC) is having a significant impact on the enterprise market—one that has been showcased during the COVID-19 pandemic—and mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT) is actually available in the marketplace. Meanwhile, questions about performance vs. simplicity/interoperability are becoming increasingly common.

When users are connected to a stable broadband network, PoC and MCPTT have been proven to deliver tremendous performance and flexibility, in terms of audio quality, talk-group setup and network resiliency. However, questions persist about the ability for these technologies to perform when terrestrial LTE or other broadband networks are not available, particularly as support for proximity services (ProSe)—the LTE standard for direct-mode communications—appears to be waning.
Many believe land-mobile-radio (LMR) remains the best direct-mode technology, with some noting that the LMR radio could prove useful in this role, even if LMR networks were to be retired sometime in the future.

But alternatives are emerging, beginning with an extension of the effective FirstNet coverage via the HPUE standard. Multiple “take the network with you” solutions that can be housed in a speaker microphone, backpack, Pelican case, on a trailer, in a vehicle or as a device that fits in the pocket of first responder are emerging. Add in a host of new LEO and MEO satellite offerings with new capabilities, form factors and pricing, and the discussion around “off-network” communications is very different than it was just a year or two ago.