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Home Office readies critical ITT for ESN devices framework

David Bicknell Published 23 March 2017

Important invitation to tender for devices used by emergency services for ambitious mobile communications project may come out tomorrow


The Home Office is expected to imminently publish an invitation to tender (ITT) for devices for the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP).

The ITT, which has been delayed to ensure that it goes out at the right time to both meet the requirements of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) and utilise devices that are not going to be out of date when the ESN programme goes live over the next couple of years, has been signalled to arrive tomorrow.

Steve Whatson, deputy director of transition and user engagement for ESMCP, indicated to delegates at the BAPCO emergency services event in Telford earlier this week that the ITT’s publication was imminent.

The ITT will be critical for device vendors keen to get on the devices framework. Making it onto the framework will give suppleirs a chance of getting potential business from police forces, fire and rescue and ambulance services, both here, and in other countries that are watching the UK’s groundbreaking move to 4G LTE ESN from the current Airwave contract. A range of device vendors were exhibiting their wares at BAPCO to emergency services visitors.

One of those potential ESN device vendors is Zebra Technologies.

Richard Thompson, head of public sector and carriers, UK&I for Zebra Technologies Europe said, “This ITT has been fairly long awaited. Things have changed in terms of the specifications and requirements. There has been more discussion with the end user in terms of what’s required and that’s had some level of influence into the specification requirements. So things like how many dedicated programmable buttons a device can have – such as 'push to talk', 'request to speak', emergency power and volume.

“From our perspective, it may be different for other vendors, the two devices we want to put forward are called the TC56 and the TC75X. And we currently sell them to a whole range of industry sectors and customers. We’re taking that core product and making the relative adaptation to it to make it meet the specification requirements for ESMCP.”

Simon McCutcheon, head of service governance and user assurance for Motorola Solutions said, “The reason why  the ITT’s been delayed is it has to go out at the right point in time. Technology moves along. If they’d gone out to procurement 12 months ago, most devices would have been obsolete by now. It’s quite a critical time because the network approvals service for devices goes live next month. Motorola has the capability to start doing these tests and then by summer this year, we should have some devices that are ESN ready, at least for testing purposes.“

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