About the project

In some European countries, the emergency services network is based on TETRAPOL rather than TETRA. Like TETRA though, this is a low bandwidth, predominantly voice only network.

This project was to design and build a fully working TETRAPOL enabled tablet computer that could be used by Police and Emergency Service users in the field – a world first.

The challenge

This challenge for this product was pulling together two products into one, and making them seamless. To the end user, there needed to be no doubt that the tablet was one device, and that it was durable enough both technologically and physically to be used on the front line.

Technology integration

The technologies that were used in the product were very different, with secure, encrypted information on an old radio based platform needing to be read and transmitted both to and from a Windows based platform. The power usage of both and the heat and interference qualities of both technologies also had be to taken into account.

Ergonomics

With the size and weight of the components needed, care needed be taken to ensure that the tablet was still portable and comfortable to use. The unit needed to be used with one hand, and provide a secure feel for those in the emergency services who would be using it.

The process

This project involved taking the initial components, designing the interface electronic packages, sourcing components and packaging the solution into a single device. It also involved the production and assembly of several working units and demonstration of them.

The solution

The finished product may seem bulky now, however at the time was exceptionally small and lightweight for its functionality.

The 7 inch tablet included ergonomic hand grips for ease of use (despite the size of the device), push to talk (PTT) and emergency buttons, as well as large speaker. The fully working prototypes were trialled by police users in Europe to assess if a device like this would be successful on the front line.