New elements to the Scout System through enhancements to connectivity capabilities, the dispatchers’ experience, and to Project Manager.
Radio Function Interface
A new connectivity configuration option with Scout Version 2.4 brings additional radio functions to endpoints that do not include these functions as part of their native protocol. Configured via the endpoint connection interface known as the Radio Function driver, the new radio functions include a variety of features, many having to do with sending and receiving tones.
- Answerback tones, to notify endpoints that use the Radio Function interface that the Scout Console received its DTMF call and recognized it.
- Single tone keying for indicating a PTT transmission.
- Function tone keying to provide tone encoding and decoding.
- DTMF tone processing for inbound audio, with the option to be configured as Automatic Number.
- Arbitration among similar-use consoles.
- Voting tables, to translate DTMF signals to a common value to help Scout determine the best signal strength and quality among competing endpoints.
- Alert tone specs for endpoints, such as AMBE Vocoder endpoints, that require tone specs in lieu of WAV files for generating quality alert tones.
In addition, the radio function interface performs codec translation which allows audio formats to be changed between an endpoint and the Scout console when necessary, and this interface will provide the channel marker capability that was previously part of the Signal Processing interface.
P25 CSSI Enhancement
- Offers licensing for large installations by providing a new P25 CSSI 100-endpoint license.
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Enhancements
SIP connectivity broadens Scout’s capabilities with SIP endpoints that should always be connected.
- Autoconnects the endpoint as soon as it becomes active in the Scout Console.
- RTCP protocol (Real Time Transport Control Protocol) was enacted as a keepalive signal for endpoints that are configured to remain connected.
Encryption Key Manager Application
Previously, VPGate included a Key Loader Application that was used to create and store encryption key data for Avtec’s Scout systems that use P25 radios or other advanced radios that use standard encryption mechanisms or the DVSI Vocoder. The Key Loader Application lets users enter keys manually through the application’s user interface.
- A new application that provides Key Fill Device (KFD) support for users who need keys for encrypted voice or data to load keys into the application.
- No tedious manual entry that can be prone to errors. Other features of the Key Manager
- Expanded encryption support for P25 endpoints.
- Support for multiple keys within a keyset.
- An Activity History display for the transmit key used in receive audio streams; as well as a key selection tool for the dispatcher to select an outbound transmission key.
With Scout Version 2.4, Project Manager was enhanced to add multiple configuration options.
Digital Radio Alert Tones
WAV files do not always produce quality sounds with advanced digital radios. Before Scout 2.4 release, sending a tone from the Scout User Interface meant that the system played a WAV file. Tones from the Tone pad on the Scout User Interface now have the options to be configured as digital tones that can be decoded by the AMBE Vocoder. When the dispatcher touches the Tone pad, if an endpoint is configured as “alert tone capable,” the Scout System automatically sends a digital tone to the selected alert-tone capable endpoints, and at the same time, sends the WAV files to other selected radios. Scout Project Manager includes several tones that the Scout System Administrator can use. This feature does not incorporate the use of custom tones, but rather tones supplied in the Scout Project Manager. To take advantage of this feature, radios must be configured with the Radio Function driver. Radios that benefit from this enhancement include: P25 CSSI, P25 DFSI, MOTOTRBO™ Connect Plus, MOTOTRBO™ IP Site Connect, and Icom IDAS radios.
- No more external hardware to achieve MDC1200 functionality.
- Two configuration options: Standard Radio and MDC1200 Radio.
- MDC1200 supported in a Scout System include the following:
- Emergency Alert
- Man Down Alert
- Unit-to-Unit calls
- Radio Check
- Stun / Revive
- Call Alert
To use the MDC1200 feature set, Scout users purchase an MDC1200-enabled Outpost which includes the MDC1200 interface for connectivity through VPGate.
MOTOTRBO™ IP Site Connect Firmware Support
Scout’s MOTOTRBO™ IP Site Connect connectivity is compatible with the radio’s 1.9 firmware. The firmware introduces protocol changes that advance radio features require.
MOTOTRBO™ Connect Plus
Added in Scout Version 2.3, included the Emergency Alert and network-wide ALL Call features. Emergency Alert is a feature that sends an alert to the dispatcher only, not everyone else in the talkgroup. The alert is sent over the control channel; a voice call is not part of the alert. Network-wide All Calls for MOTOTRBO™ Connect Plus subscribers provide the dispatcher with the capability to make a system wide All Call across a multi-site MOTOTRBO™ Connect Plus system.
System Alarm Notifications
The Notification Pad, a tool used to signal the dispatcher that a system alarm occurred, was changed to allow configuration for the type of system alarm it signals. In previous Scout versions, the Notification Pad signaled the dispatcher for all system alarms. With Scout Version 2.4 the pad now has the option to be configured to send the notification for all system alarms, major system alarms only, or minor system alarms only.
Workstation Relays, which provide an indication of the console status, were enhanced to add three possible indications for system alarms. Before Scout Version 2.4, the relays, if configured to indicate system alarms, indicated all system alarms. With Scout Version 2.4, the relays include configuration options to indicate any system alarm, major system alarms, or minor system alarms.
Alerts for Auxiliary Input Notifications
- Added Administrator configurability alerts with colors and audible indications that flash or create a notification sound.
- Gives Administrator flexibility to choose how input alerts will perform for their operations.
- Can be configured to report events to Scout Diagnostics with identification of the dispatcher and console who acknowledged the alert
DTMF Dial String Pauses
When creating DTMF dial strings for contacts in Scout, the Scout Administrator can now use characters to represent pauses in the dial string. The pauses help calls complete in cases when the caller must wait for the phone system to return a second dial tone or when the caller must wait while a PBX activates a feature on the connecting side of the call before sending DTMF digits. The pause characters that can be configured represent 1, 5, 10, or 60 second pauses.
DTMF Call-in Codes
Currently, Project Manager allows each Scout Console to have up to three Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) Call-in Codes defined per console and three per user. These codes, when called from a subscriber unit, direct the call to the console or to the user where they are defined. This feature is enhanced in Scout Version 2.4 to allow up to 10 defined DTMF Call-In calls per user and per Scout Console.
Additional Input Alert Options
With the prior version of Scout, a Scout auxiliary pad gained the new capability of creating an Input Alert for the dispatcher to see and hear. The alert stayed active until the dispatcher touched the pad, indicating that he had received the notification. In Scout Version 2.4, the Input Alerts gain additional configuration options. The Scout System Administrator can choose to configure the Input Alert to stop automatically after a user-defined time period or to stop if the condition that caused the alert clears. In addition, Input Alerts can also be configured to report events to Scout Diagnostics. Reported events include the identification of the dispatcher (and console) who acknowledged the notification.
Additional Endpoint Information in Project Manager
As an aid to the Scout System Administrator, endpoint information for each screen and console displays in the Project Explorer panel when the mouse hovers over the screen or console. The hover information shows the number of endpoints currently in use. If a console is not configured with a valid start screen, the hover information for consoles also shows the message “Invalid start screen.”
Password-Protected Project Manager
- Prevents Project Manager from unauthorized updates by requiring login credentials
- Verified users receive full create, modify, and view access to Scout projects.
Introducing Scout Suite Silent Deployment
Scout Version 2.4 provides the option to use INNO commands for installing and uninstalling Scout applications on remote computers without displaying messages or windows on the remote computer during the install or uninstall process. This type of deployment, known as a silent install or silent uninstall, provides flexibility and convenience for the system administrator who can use a single computer to install or uninstall the Scout software products on multiple Windows computers simultaneously, without interrupting the work at the remote computer. While Avtec tested silent deployment with PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory, the Scout Suite changes to support silent deployment are expected to be compatible with other commercial software maintenance applications that allow command line parameters to be passed to the Scout setup programs.
With Scout Version 2.4, the dispatcher gains new tools to enhance the work experience. The enhancements include activating PTT with a mouse, using a new function pad to end a MAP27 call, and using the desktop microphone for intercom calls and announcements.
PTT with Mouse Click
For the convenience of dispatchers who use a mouse and keyboard with the Scout System, the system mouse was enhanced to engage PTT. By pressing the right mouse button, the dispatcher activates the Scout console PTT for the endpoint that is in Select mode on the active Scout User Interface window. The option to use the mouse for PTT is configured by the Scout Administrator on a per-console basis.
MAP27 Call Release
A new function pad in the Scout System, the Channel Release function pad, provides the dispatcher a method to end calls on endpoints that use the Mobile Access Protocol 27 (MAP27). Traditionally, when a dispatcher is in a conversation via a trunked radio system that uses the MAP27 protocol, if neither party actively ended the call, the call would not end until the radio system “timed out” the call. The new Channel Release function pad, a secondary touch pad which can be used for regular or emergency calls, gives the dispatcher a method for ending the call.
PTT Option for Intercom Calls
Before Scout Version 2.4, intercom calls could only transmit audio using the full duplex method of transmitting. A new option for configuring console intercoms allows the dispatcher to engage push-to-talk (PTT) for dispatcher to-dispatcher intercom calls instead of using the full duplex method. The Scout System Administrator can configure the console to require PTT for intercom calls on a per-console basis.
Commercial Off-the-Shelf Keypad Support
Scout now supports a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) external keypad for telephone dialing. The keypad can be used instead of the Scout Contact Dialer. The typical keypad includes dialing digits 0-9 and other keys that, when connected to a Scout System, serve as dial, clear, call release, back, redial last number, dial tone, number sign, and star key. The dispatcher hears DTMF tones when entering digits on the keypad which supports both primary and secondary dial strings. The keypad on a standard computer keyboard works in the same way as an external keypad. The external keypad cannot substitute for the Scout Paging Dialer.
As released in Scout Version 2.3, Barge-In allows a dispatcher to join a conversation that another dispatcher has in progress by simply selecting the line. Therefore, multiple dispatchers can select and talk to a telephone endpoint at the same time.
- Capable of mixing both transmit and receive audio with Avtecs new architecture element, the VPGateMixer.
- Supports 11 simultaneous talkers: one field endpoint and 10 dispatchers, and VPGate can support up to 250 talkers in various conversations depending upon codecs in use and their effect on performance.
Operating System and Browser Support
Windows Server 2008 R2
Scout Version 2.4 also included an initiative to certify Scout applications on Windows Server 2008 R2, a 64-bit operating system. The applications that are now certified include: VPGate, Call Voter, Encryption Key Manager, Scout Diagnostics including Scout Reports, Centralized Project Storage (CPS), and P25 Trunking Gateway.
Frontier, a new Scout application being introduced with Scout Version 2.4, was certified on Windows Server 2008 R2 during its development. With this certification, customers can use a combination of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms to run Scout components.
Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 in March of last year for Windows 7. As of this release, Scout Version 2.4, the Scout Suite web pages are qualified as accessible with IE 9 for Windows 7.
MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All other product and service names are the property of their registered owners. (C) Motorola, Inc. 2012