Motorola releases a walkie-talkie and
cellphone hybrid to help first responders
In emergencies, smartphones aren’t always able to live up
to their potential, (for instance, when a hurricane or tornado knocks down cell
towers, or if a forest fire disrupts the communication infrastructure in remote
For reasons like these, first responders rely on land
mobile radios (LMR), or walkie-talkies, as they’re most commonly known. LMR
have a range of a few miles and are needed in order to coordinate everything
from routine information requests to disaster response.
The biggest global player in LMR, Motorola, has released
what could be coined the most advanced walkie-talkie ever.
Called the APX Next, this LMR features a touchscreen, as
well as a push-to-talk button its side. Motorola developed the design based on
2,000 hours of interviews and testing with more than 50 emergency services
agencies, including SWAT teams and detectives.
It features a voice-recognition system that can operate in
extremely loud environments. As well as artificial intelligence software, named
ViQi, that can look up 95 of the most common things a police officer or
firefighter would call into dispatch for – like driver’s license or license
plate information – without any human operator on the other end of the line.
The APX Next artificial intelligence software also works to free up the user’s
hands as much as possible, ensuring that someone is as safe and capable as
possible during an emergency.
Essentially, this device encapsulates modern technological
trends, but applies them to a highly specialized environment where they
otherwise wouldn’t make sense.
The APX Next is both a walkie-talkie and a cellphone
combined. It features both a high-powered radio chip for land communications
and a low-powered 4G/LTE chip for cell-tower data. These two chips work
Four separate microphones are embedded in the device in
order to capture voice, with programming designed specifically to cancel out
exceptionally loud noises which is especially useful in emergency environments.
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