Avigilon Integrates With Motorola Radios

By Sean Patton, Published Jan 29, 2020, 09:00am EST (Info+)

Motorola is best known for its radios. Now, the company has taken a step forward of integrating its 2018 Avigilon acquisition with their radios.

In this note, based on a conversation with Avigilon, we examine the details of the offering and analyze its impact on the market, including:

  • What alerts are integrated
  • What radios are integrated
  • Where is Radio Alert available
  • How much does it cost
  • What advantages to direct integration does Avigilon claim

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Comments (40)

So this would send vms alerts to a 2-way radio, but not an associated video clip? I'm not feeling the value of that.

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Right now yes just the alert over the radio but Motorola already has radios running Andriod and I have a feeling we are going to be seeing more radios like this soon. This would allow video, communications and incident management on a single device.

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Now that is interesting.

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Glass half full reply...

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Glass half empty reply

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Before Motorola Solutions purchased Avigilon I never paid attention to radios but in the last 6 months or so we have been involved a lot with Motorola Solutions. Every enterprise client we have carries radios and every prospect we talk with have radios. .

From what I have seen the current radio only dealers are equivalent to alarm dealers who are stuck in their ways and not interested in IP/networking/integration. With Ally, Nitro, WAVE, Radios, Avigilon (video, access control, and analytics), Vigilant ALPR we have a lot to talk about with clients. Having access to all of Motorola Solutions offerings it is opening a lot of doors for us.

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Serious question - Today, in 2020, why do companies use radios rather than cell phones? I am sure there are reasons, I am just curious to hear people's experiences.

Also, in the next decade, is there an expectation that radios will become less valuable / desired as 5G / advances in cell phones continue? Again, I don't know this space so trying to get a sense of that.

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Dedicated equipment for rapid critical communications, and because that's the way we've always done it. :)

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I thought the same thing but Motorola Solutions is selling more and more radios every year not less. When the cell network is overloaded or not working radios still work. Also in a lot of our large client's cell coverage is not great though out the buildings where radios still work.

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So are radios then moving or being pushed upmarket? In other words, as cell phone become cheaper and better, do SMB (think Hikua USA users), drop radios in favor of cell phones?

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I was at a health care client yesterday that was very concerned about natural disasters and not being able to communicate between their campuses if the cell network went down. They are very interested in a radio solution as a back up for cell phones. There are a lot more radios out there and demand then you think.

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There are a lot more radios out there and demand then you think.

That totally avoids my question. I get that health care providers and other enterprises will buy radios. What I specifically asked is about SMB, i.e., the rest of the market.

In other words, in the last 10 years, has Motorola lost share at the lower-end of the market from smaller businesses substituting cell phones that are 'good enough' for their less demanding needs?

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I have no idea as I don't play much in the SMB space.

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I'm thinking the lower-end SMB market for radios has gone to lower end Chinese 2-way radios (probably unlicensed channels and FRS / GMRS) AND cell phones. IMO, cell phones used as 2-way radios (Zello app) are not for quick, frequent use.

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It is nice to have the option with Motorola Solutions to be able to communicate from cell phone directly with radios. WAVE might be an option for the SMB market but it scales to the enterprise market too.

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In the last 20 years they have...with the advent of Nextel and their take over of the 800 mhz frequency band used for local or regional area wide communications many of the fleet type users < Bus companies trucking out fits messenger services etc> were forced to switch over to the Nextel system because they literally bought the channels or companies that had licences on the channels and switched them off the traditional trunking systems to the Nextel PTT over cellular type systems...They tried to inundate the market even in the traditional in building systems with their systems....the fallacy of course was that they did not offer the coverage needed area wide or in building because of their model...Sprint eventually bought Nextel and they are just starting to recover from that now lol...The in building systems now a days are more traditional in that they are set up for local site communications and primarily use a single repeater or a few separate repeaters and DAS systems to cover that site only...Of course their are other systems available in the two way radio realm for are wide coverage with the use of digital trunking but that segment of use is small compared to are wide use of the cell base systems...PTT over Cell never took off...Verizon < in Chicago area> had a system but it never worked well and it was cost prohibitive...Most locations in metro areas use direct type traditional two way radios with Motorola and Kenwood being the largest players..Motorola uses proprietary systems on their digital trunking side where as Kenwood uses a more industry wide standard for theirs...for the most part digital two way radios are replacing analog systems although they are not necessarily better ...The market has changed but cellular for security, engineering, house keeping etc has not replaced the traditional two way...same with 1st responders and industrial systems... Overall the two way radios market is 1/2 or what it was say back in the late 90s...with Motorola losing most of that to area wide cellular usage...

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I think the answer is that for SMB, a per-radio price of $1500 (some models cost more, some less) does not make financial sense, and therefore Motorola has likely lost ground in SMB markets.

That said, some enterprise level markets, institutions, emergency responders, etc., are growing in many sectors.

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Motorola Solutions does have a commercial radio line with lower-cost radios.

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Agreed, but for a lot of SMB, the limited range on those models can make their use impractical in many applications.

I do see some upscale and mid-tier restaurants using similar systems for internal communications. I have seen some smaller production facilities use the lower-cost systems. We even use them on occasion when we are doing building evacuation drills (but often have trouble in some of our larger facilities).

The greatest complaint I and others I have talked to is that the range is limited - especially within large facilities, across sprawling campuses, inside metal buildings (i.e., Faraday cages with office furniture), etc. It is sometimes difficult to get a good cell signal in certain building construction types, much less the lower powered signal from the low-cost radios. It has been my experience that the "up to two miles" range for city/neighborhood use is rarely even close to that. Others' mileage may vary.

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I agree range is an issue but all radios at this price point would have range issue no?

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Yes, in my experience.

They have become somewhat of a commodity in that low-end price point, I think. I guess what I am trying to say is that the high-end radios from Motorola, Kenwood, etc. are what I would consider to be "viable" for covering any kind of distance reliably. For many SMBs, the cost of the high-end radio (plus base stations, FCC licensing concerns, paid access to some third-party radio network, etc.) doesn't make sense. Same for many enterprise organizations.

But circling back to John's question of phones vs. radios, there is still a large role for the high-end radios. I do not think that phones are going to replace those radios in certain use cases any time soon.

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It tends to depend on what the radios are for. We use radios because they are a faster way to reach a large group of people at once. Our facilities team, our security officers, and our Executive protection guys carry radios on them when on premises. We have a total of about 60 employees filling these roles. So instead of buying 60 cellphones, and assigning one to each employee, and paying for all of those plans we have 20 radios, when one is needed it is grabbed from the charging cradle and deployed. We use 3 channels to communicate over, 1 for security, 1 for EP, and 1 for facilities. However our security office can all call and let everyone know at the same time when something is going on instead of looking up the number of the cellphone that the vehicle patrol is carrying and calling it they simply push a button and communicate direct to vehicle patrol.

There are also example such as prisons where you don't really want cell phones brought in for use and again the reaching dozens or hundreds of staff simultaneously is an easy to use and important feature of radios. Plus they can be a sufficient self defense device if needed.

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Thanks #3, very helpful!

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For beginners:)

1. Instant communications

Click "Talk"

Click "Listen"

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Is there a button for 'insightful'? :)

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Encrypted communication radio network with the ease of being able to switch over to PD/Sheriff frequency for seamless response. School Security Staff to Local Law Enforcement resources etc.

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In this area <Chicago Metro> that is not an option I have seen used...the last thing the PDs or FDs want is some unknown user to be on their systems when craziness is going down... The CPD does have access to Video in many of the local CPS schools but that is about it...Their is also an area digital system for hospitals that is run by the City of Chicago but it is a joke, much like the Statewide MERCI systems or the old Med channels used for telemetry etc...12 lead over cellular is what is used now for most emergency ambulance situations...

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John,

There are a few compelling reasons to use radios over cell phones.

1) battery life is longer on a radio vs. a cell phone

2) quicker response/alert vs. getting a cell phone out of sleep mode. Do you really want to be a cop on patrol trying to call in a situation and using a phone or a radio attached to your shoulder

3) dedicated network for "calls" on a radio network vs. using a shared 5G network. If there is a catastrophic issue happening, you don't want to be sharing bandwidth with a bunch of individuals transmitting the events on FaceBook Live, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

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1) battery life is longer on a radio vs. a cell phone

I'd have agreed with you if it was still 2008.

Our Radios we use on hunting trips (consumer grade) have maybe 4-6 hours battery life max.

By Contrast my Galaxy 9 only needs a 1 charge a day even with heavy data usage

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Many pro-level portable Mototrbo radios are specified for 24+ hour battery life (depending on usage): Motorola Pro Brochure.

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Radios will always have their place in an operational world. I don't see the mobile phone as a valid competitor as yet as they still suffer too many flaws. One being special events such as New Years eve always suffers from a bottle neck issue in trying to call or transmit data via a mobile.

Mother nature issues such as an earth quake can make a mobile phone only as valuable as the network your trying to get access to. Such as the severe earthquakes in New Zealand many years ago where the mobile network was non operational, yet most businesses were still able to communicate through radio networks.

The benefit of a radio system is also you own the network and infrastructure and don't have to rely on 3rd party equipment that may not be maintained to your professional standard.

They are just a couple of my experiences :)

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My experience has been that the radios are still a preferred mode because:

1. Redundant communication method largely independent of cellular networks. During a days-long power outage in our community several years ago (following a tornado outbreak), the radios were at times more reliable than the cellular network - at least as long as the repeaters' generators' fuel supplies held out.

2. Ability to communicate with multiple agencies/jurisdictions and to allow multiple listeners to hear real-time exchanges between others. Ability to jump to a secondary channel for a side conversation and then jump back into the main group.

3. Push to talk convenience. A police officer or fire fighter just has to key a mic instead of fumbling with a phone, even a "one-touch dial" number. They can find that mic key in the dark with muscle memory. Different and easier than using a phone.

4. Safety - police, fire, EMS, maintenance workers, others transmitting where dispatchers, supervisors, others can hear and respond quickly to an emergent situation.

We use Motorola radios. I have one that I use to monitor certain communications during ongoing events. Some of us are linked to the local emergency management agency's talk group.

Radios still have a big role in emergency services, some large rapid-response maintenance organizations, and as backup communications.

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Kevin, thanks, very informative!

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In building penetration and interoperability are critical public safety benefits.

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I wrote a short article related to this subject a few years back: Cell Phones or Two-Way Radios for Security Use?

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We were designing systems with these for movie theaters. If someone propped an exit door, the person sweeping popcorn would get an automated message to go check door. I can't imagine a movie theater providing cell phones for this purpose.

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WE did the same thing using Voice notification from Zetron tied into r custom stuff we built from various manufacturers or oof the shelf Ritron call boxes...Put many in at CPS schools at secondary doors combined with Door contacts etc to notify security if someone was using those doors...this was due to the fact

that mots CPS schools have metal detectors at the main entrances and some would try and circumvent the entry process while school employees would CHAIN those secondary doors...it happened all the time..we would then install timer systems with key locks to enable disable the voice alerts and or strobes sirens or whatever they chose as options at install time...it was crude but effective...WE did some other stuff with religious buildings and mass notifications systems and two way radios ...we still do some of these systems tied into PAs and mass notifications and Alarm Fobs which each person carries...other cool uses as well...

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Another factor favoring the use of radio versus cellular is that dispatchers can quickly push a few buttons on their software consoles and connect fire, police, EMT, utilities, etc into a single radio net during emergencies. The software consoles by Bosch/Telex C Soft, Zetron, etc, for example are widely in use.

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Did Avigilon announce they're changing their brand name to Motorola Solutions? Seeing a lot of their people changing the company name on Linkedin over the weekend.

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Good observation/ question. We noticed that too.

Short answer is that the Avigilon brand name is staying but the company name is going away. We did an interview with them yesterday and will be publishing a report on that this Tuesday.

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