King County Public Safety Goes Digital

on Friday, 31 July 2015. Posted in Two Way Radio Industry News Blog

Motorola Solutions begins 55-month, $112 million project to upgrade mission-critical communications systems

  • Motorola Solutions is about to begin a $112 million upgrade to the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network that covers 39 cities and 2 million residents
  • Enhanced network will work seamlessly with most existing equipment, improve radio reception in county’s more rural areas
  • The upgrade will improve public safety by letting first responders do their jobs more efficiently when responding to crime, fires, medical emergencies or natural disasters

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – July 30, 2015 – Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) has begun upgrading the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network (PSERN) infrastructure in a $112 million contract to bring King County first responders the latest ASTRO® 25 digital radio technology that will enhance public safety every year as the project progresses.

The 55-month upgrade leverages new transmission towers to elevate the system’s reliability to help protect the fast-growing county’s more than 2 million residents. King County voters this spring authorized $273 million in overall spending to fortify the network’s structure, update its technology to modern standards and allow its first responders to communicate more effectively with each other and with agencies outside the county.

“Motorola Solutions shares King County’s vision to implement a highly-reliable next-generation voice radio system that will provide improved coverage and capacity for first responder agencies throughout the region,” said Mark Schmidl, vice president of sales for Motorola Solutions. “Our combination of experience, proven technology and strong local presence ensures the cost-effective and timely upgrade will be seamless and make King County a safer place to live.”

Seamless upgrade to digital technology

New transmission towers and equipment will elevate PSERN to Motorola Solutions Project 25 (P25) national interoperable standards, enhancing the system’s reliability throughout the county and working seamlessly with existing equipment both in King County and in neighboring counties.

King County needed a solution that would boost signals in cities such as Federal Way, Auburn and Bothell, as well as in the county’s eastern areas, and the project will meet the system requirements for as long as 20 years while limiting costs to taxpayers.

The upgrades will allow PSERN users to take advantage of features such as “Over the Air Programming” and “Over the Air Rekeying,” which give users the ability to update equipment remotely instead of having to remove devices from service. That will give first responders more time in the field and let managers choose when they want equipment updated to ensure crucial operations aren’t interrupted.

Upgrading PSERN presents a scope and size that demands a vendor with long-term experience in this type of upgrade who also understands the customers’ requirements and operational needs. Motorola Solutions has operated in the Pacific Northwest for more than 50 years and has built 30 systems for first responders, including 10 that are P25. By leveraging PSERN’s existing technology, the upgrade project will remain cost-effective and will keep the system fully operational and at the current release until 2039.

The proposed project team will manage service and upgrade activities for all components of the system, including radio infrastructure, call logging systems, video surveillance, consoles and subscribers. The PSERN team includes project managers and engineers who have occupied similar roles on systems for King County Metro Transit, South Sound, the City of Houston and the states of Mississippi and Missouri.