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With Nick Elia
Motorola Solutions has recently announced their intent to acquire Kodiak Networks, a privately held company and the leading carrier-integrated PTT over cellular (PoC) solution provider. The agreement was announced on May 1st of 2017, and according to Motorola’s Corporate VP they expect to close the deal during the second half of the year. Kodiak has positioned itself as the leading PTT partner for wireless carriers with its technology supporting AT&T’s enhanced PTT (EPTT) solution, Verizon’s PTT+ and soon to be announced Direct Connect from Sprint. This deal significantly enhances Motorola’s workgroup communications and PTT capabilities adding to its already popular over the top (OTT) WAVE solutions.
The deal is interesting for a number of reasons. Motorola Solutions is already the heavyweight in the LMR and mission critical voice market for first responders and public safety organizations, a position it defends aggressively. Through the Kodiak acquisition the company ensures a stranglehold of the PoC market for both carrier-integrated (Kodiak) and OTT (WAVE) solutions. This is coming at a time with increased carrier-led initiatives for critical communications through growing traction of PoC solutions to both augment and replace legacy PTT/LMR infrastructure in addition to the recent award of the FirstNet contract to AT&T.
The development of 4G wireless networks combined with the massive scale of wireless smart mobile devices is opening the door for a broader opportunity for PTT over cellular networks, beyond the traditional LMR-based solutions. In addition, much of this activity is being developed with robust and industry accepted open standards the evolution of 3GPP’s mission critical PTT standards; in particular, 3GPP’s mission critical PTT (MCPTT) standard. The development of a robust MCPTT standard for LTE (with release 14 to be finalized in 2017), public safety users should realize interoperability benefits between existing LMR solutions and LTE quickly, in contrast to some of the proprietary OTT solutions.
By building an application and the back‐end infrastructure that goes with it, PoC vendors can provide a solution that can be installed on virtually any device and will work across different commercial networks as well as Wi‐Fi networks while also connecting seamlessly with legacy LMR solutions. PoC services today work well over both Wi‐Fi and commercial networks as more and more network operators offer voice and data access to their networks via Wi‐Fi in order to off‐load them. This is a h because uge benefit for in-building communications where network coverage is lacking. Motorola is now well positioned to address all of the PoC investment drivers evidenced by our research.
Although Motorola intends to leverage its WAVE 7000 PoC solution for public-safety centric voice on LTE networks (such as, for example, FirstNet or the Emergency Services Network it operates in the UK), and emphasize commercial opportunities with Kodiak, Kodiak has won recent national acclaim and attention for its work in the highly publicized Fairfax County initiative. Fairfax County is replacing its “general-government” LMR solutions with enhanced carrier-based PTT (PoC), with Kodiak’s solution proving its ability to support Public Safety-grade (not mission critical) PTT communications.
Looking forward, Motorola will continue to be a major player and competitor in the LMR area and their respective solutions will still be utilized and seen as crucial to a number of varying organizations, specifically first responders. But this acquisition will provide them with a critical opportunity to provide users with integrated PTT solutions over commercial networks and will put them in a good position to acquire market share and be a key player in the ever expanding PoC market which – according to VDC’s research – is expected to grow to about 6 million users in the US by 2019.
View the 2017 Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Research Outline to learn more.