RADIO INTERNET-PROTOCOL COMMUNICATIONS MODULE (RIC-M)
External after-market protocol converter
Developed by Christine Wireless, Inc. Manufactured and sold by ACG Systems.
The RIC-M is an external after-market protocol converter allowing Conventional Motorola ASTRO base stations and other related equipment to be interconnected using Internet Protocol. Designed for use in State, Local and Federal First Responder, Public Safety and Law Enforcement radio systems. Developed by Christine Wireless, Inc., the product is under contract to and licensed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.
• Eliminate expensive and obsolete copper telephone circuits
• Create Migration Strategy from Analog to IP Connectivity
• Manage Multiple Quantars across your IP Network
• Expand technology options for future console/dispatch upgrades
• Add non-Motorola* base stations and other equipment into a conventional Motorola ASTRO system
• Introduce the flexibility of IP connections to your conventional Motorola ASTRO system
• Applicable Products: Quantar™, GTR-8000™, PDR-3500™, ASTRO-TAC 3000™, DIU- 3000™ and TXM 2000™
The SPAWARSYSYCENs are Navy Working Capital Fund (NWCF) Engineering Centers who support the DoD and other Federal agencies based on respective mission requirements. The primary mission is to enable knowledge superiority for the Joint War fighter through the development, acquisition and life cycle support of effective and integrated Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Capabilities. As part of its mission, SPAWARSYSCENs must also deliver “speed-to-capability” in support of DoD and the global war on terrorism.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Centers (SPAWARSYSCENs) required an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ), Firm Fixed Price (FFP) multiple award contract (MAC) for the procurement of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS), communications equipment and incidental services. The SPAWARSYSCENs are responsible for the acquisition, integration, fielding, and logistics support of network and communications systems for the DoD and Civil Federal Agencies.
The purpose of this contract was to provide SPAWARSYSCENs with rapid access to turnkey solutions for the war fighter with the objective of fostering improvement initiatives that include mission effectiveness, efficient utilization of resources, and volume discounts. This contract required compliance with the Net-Centric Enterprise Solutions for Interoperability (NESI) to build information systems conforming to the Net-Centric Warfare (NCW) environment. The SPAWARSYSYCENs are Navy Working Capital Fund (NWCF) Engineering Centers who support a wide variety of DoD and other Federal agencies based on respective mission requirements. The primary mission is to enable knowledge superiority for the Joint War fighter through the development, acquisition and life cycle support of effective, integrated Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) capabilities. As part of its mission, SPAWARSYSCENs must also deliver “speed-to-capability” in support of DoD and the global war on terrorism.
The scope of this contract included the procurement and delivery of relevant Communications Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) equipment and associated incidental services necessary to perform the SPAWAR mission within the SSC LANT Command and Control Competency 5.5 Area. Tasking included the following:
1. Equipment/System/Supply Procurement (PWS Para 3.1)
2. Technical Support Services (PWS Para 3.2)
3. Integrated Digital Environment (IDE) (PWS Para 3.3)
4. Program Management (PWS Para 3.4)
ACG landed a contract with SAIC for the ILS-M (instrument landing systems modernization). This job required Native IP, an innovative solution for radio integration. Because Native IP still involved remote access, network certification problems posed security issues.
ACG built an integrated third party box from Park Air using MARC software. The software utilizes remote diagnostics through a PC and gathers bit information. The solution required ACG and Park Air to rewrite software with custom requirements eliminating roadblocks for the contractor.
Under the 5 year contract for the ILS-M, ACG will deliver 82 systems at a $2M value and provide onsite customer training.
ACG has installed over a dozen systems for military bases, airports and large federal agency properties. With seamless integration and installation, ACG’s customized solutions were completed swiftly without compromising project deadlines.
Across Maryland and in most states, hospital emergency rooms are now required to record all radio communication between EMS crew (ground and air) and ER doctors. ACG’s expertise in radio and IP has leveraged multiple contracts to install recording devices in 15 major hospitals, including Johns Hopkins Bayview and MedStar Medical Centers.
Twenty years ago, few hospitals in central Maryland could provide medical consultation by radio to EMS crews en route to a hospital. The EMS radio call would rotate between these hospitals, with multiple doctors providing consultation. The system caused confusion and inconsistencies as receiving physicians may not have initially consulted with the EMS provider.
In order for a hospital to be recognized as a trauma or specialty center, the facility must be a designated base station. In 1999, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems (MIEMSS) required all Maryland hospitals applying for the designation to be equipped with radio (provided by MIEMSS) and a radio recorder (provided by the hospital) for quality assurance. The designation process took several years to complete as hospitals purchased and implemented the radio recorder systems. The regulation dramatically expanded the number of base station recorders needed at hospitals, creating demand for specialized radio products and integration services.
With extensive experience converging radio to IP, MIEMSS selected ACG as an approved vendor for hospitals requiring base station recording devices.
The steps below list the installation and integration process:
1. ACG installed the IP recorder in the ER and integrated it with the base station (connected to MIEMSS radio network).
2. Retrieval software is installed on an administrator’s computer.
3. Each recording can be sorted by date, time and call length, while being stored on a secure network.
4. The recording can also be accessed from more than one PC and converted to a .WAV file for easy transmission.
Robert Dice, Trauma and Burn Program Manager of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, was directly impacted by the radios and software. “I could not do this job and meet the State requirements without this,” he said. “I know it is always going to be reliable – and the clarity is wonderful. The ease of use and the software is great.”
Under a full and open competition, ACG was awarded a five year IDIQ with $25mm ceiling by an Air Force Major Command. The statement of work required both new subscriber units and update services to the existing fleet of mobile and portable assets. During a four year span, ACG provided integrated logistics plans, deployment support, asset management reporting and program management support for approximately 3,500 mobile and portable radios to all bases and operating locations of the Command.
Concurrent with managing the logistics of new equipment distribution, ACG engaged with the customer for the collection of approximately 10,000 subscribers to be upgraded to Air Force standards for encryption, compliance to P25 standards, and enhanced capability to execute Over the Air Programming. ACG successfully orchestrated the collection, upgrade and return process, providing program management, radio programming services, and preventative maintenance checks (PM). When applicable, cursory repairs were provided. As a part of this service, ACG captured and delivered serialized data for reporting asset/configuration management.
For a power and energy company headquartered in Virginia, ACG provided a complete control room communications suite.
A utility company supplies electricity and natural gas to several states in the U.S. and has a facility that sits on a major river system. It transfers natural gas from cargo ships where safety and operational continuity is critical to the company, stakeholders, and the surrounding community. To be effective, their processes require synchronization of private security with local, state and federal governments as well as requisite first responders.
While this facility has their own internal trunked radio system, they needed an updated and extended communications control system that integrated radio to outbound telephone lines with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, fire departments, emergency medical teams, US Coast Guard, local Navy base, park rangers, sheriff, county officials and the State Police.
ACG designed and installed a compact interoperable communications system which added all LMR radios, digital and analog phone lines, integrated into a desktop touch screen system. The installation eliminated the need for the plant’s security team to carry three radios along with their cell phones. Additionally, the console operators did not need separate radios or desktop phones. The control system included a populated corporate phone book, first responder phone numbers, and speed connect buttons allowing instant access to key affiliates via phone lines or radio channels.
ACG’s expertise in radio and IT interoperability provided the utility company with a fully integrated and customizable system.
The commercial railroad system is comprised of thousands of miles of railroad through major cities and remote areas. At risk to hazards, derailment, and other accidents, many railroad companies employ their own police force utilizing special agents. These agents, who oversee a certain territory of railroad, must be able to communicate with local emergency responders . Historically, for one major railroad company, these agents would have to make multiple phone calls using a cell phone or railroad radio, then additional calls to notify train headquarters about an incident. The number of steps and time elapsed could cause critical communication errors, putting the railroad company at risk for further problems.
Working within the railroad company’s current infrastructure with a national telecom provider, ACG installed a radio system within every special agent rail yard facility. The system extended the agent’s coverage range and allowed live data transmission with command and control headquarters.
The command center’s ability to hear live, local radio calls removed the need for a local dispatch center, saving the railroad company thousands of dollars in human capital and technical resources. ACG provided radios for 11 sites across the east coast, as well as a dispatcher training guide. ACG’s expertise in integration and service prompted the railroad’s communication provider to collaborate with our team on this sophisticated project.
At the time of this project, AirTran Airways (now Southwest Airlines) was the second largest low-cost air carrier in the US, servicing more than 50 cities. Once just a small national carrier, it now boards over 8 million passengers per year, with approximately 183 departures a day in Atlanta alone. Operating off of 31 gates and two towers, the AirTran Atlanta hub was one of the busiest ramps in the world.
As they grew, the AirTran ommunication system was operating under multiple technologies at the Atlanta hub. Using different phones and radios to communicate to the FAA, flight crews, and ground crews, the system became largely inefficient due to the lack of information flow between operational groups.
Michael Bernardo, manager of Atlanta Command Center for AirTran, said his control room operators don’t know how they managed with such an archaic system. “You could hardly call it a system,” Bernardo said. “Each position consisted of little more than two walkie-talkies, an Air/ground radio or two and a phone.”
A long-time equipment and support provider to AirTran, ACG was invited to submit a bid for a new, more sophisticated system. They selected the Acom system, which integrated AirTran’s phone and radio into one unified, touch-screen interface. A complex project, ACG had to integrate specialized control functions for each phase of a flight’s arrival and departure. Each position had to be individually designed, resulting in significant engineering efforts.
To meet AirTran’s requirements, the Acom system was designed to:
The equipment chosen included:
The new console system also provided Southwest Airlines (formerly AirTran) the ability to record all communication and improvedproductivity . In a recent study conducted by ACG, specific console features (Speed Dial, Call Transfer and Conference, and Patching,) can save an airline approximately $30,000/year per position, or approximately 600 man hours within the control tower.
Bernardo, who is a self-proclaimed demanding customer, said he couldn’t be more pleased with the new system and ACG’s ability to provide technical solutions to match their specific requirements. Since implementation, he is also pleased with their reliable service. “For this project, I asked a lot of questions and asked for a thousand changes as we went along,” he said. “ACG are real communications experts and they never hesitate to do anything to get the job done.”