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Jason Smith October 22, 2013 • Announcements
What? New RoIP dispatch solution that is tightly integrated with the VHF radio and allows a dispatcher to directly control the radio via Windows PC or iOS and Android devices as though they were sitting directly in front of the radio. There are three types of clients: Dispatch (Windows based, multiple radios, cost per "seat"), Solo (Windows based, one radio at a time, free), and Pocket App (iOS & Android, one radio at a time, free).
Demo. The best way to understand the capabilities is to download the free software and give it a try. To download the app for your SmartPhone, search for "turbovui". To install on a Windows PC, click here to download and install the program. Once installed, contact us to obtain the server address, username and password and you'll be controlling a Motorola XPR4550 VHF radio in our lab within 5 minutes. Note: feel free to use our demo from multiple devices so you can see the interaction between multiple "dispatchers".
Unique capabilities are consistent across all platforms: Windows, iOS, Android.
Pricing. Cost for a brand new (1) radio site, (1) dispatcher system is about $2,000. The same is true to add it to an existing Telex RoIP system although customers can also receive a credit for swapping out an existing Tait, Motorola or Kenwood VHF radio. No monthly recurring fees.
"Pocket App" vs Zello. Turbo VUi's Pocket app for iOS (Apple) and Android devices provides a more elegant solution with direct radio channel control and several useful features. There are no monthly recurring fees and the payback just to avoid the Zello expense is about 30 months, not to mention improved reliability and performance. Pocket App does not have any call history capability like Zello. Pocket App also only allows connecting to one radio at a time. While you can easily connect to various radios, there is no ability to concurrently monitor multiple radios from a single device. Preliminary testing has found the Pocket app to have a much faster response time than Zello. Zello uses a server infrastructure to "stream" multiple channels whereas the Turbo VUi Pocket app connects directly to the radio site.
vs Telex / Bosch. Bosch has no plans to provide an "App" for portable dispatch. The simplicity of the Turbo VUi platform eliminates VPN and license key costs (both fixed & recurring) and is a good fit as single site solution or as a compliment to existing C-Soft/IP223 installations as a replacement of Zello, Sprint, etc.. However, the Turbo VUi Dispatch Console software, used to control more than 1 radio on a screen, falls considerably short when compared to Bosch's C-Soft software. Perhaps the most notable missing feature is the Voice Annunciation capability to play pre-recorded messages. Both require a USB license dongle (which can be made portable with USB over IP solutions) but the Turbo VUi exceeds in simplicity with no VPN requirements.
Internet Requirements. For the Internet connection at the radio site you need either a static IP address or a router that supports DynDNS to create a "pseudo" static IP address. Once you have this "static" IP address, a "port forwarding" rule is set in the router so that Turbo VUi clients located elsewhere can remotely find the radio gateway through the Internet. This static IP address and port forwarding work is a "one time" effort. You can do this yourself, with remote support from MariTEL, or with local support from an IT professional. As for bandwidth, the Turbo VUi platform has two options that can be easily changed at any time. The highest setting uses quite a lot at 176 kbps per audio channel whereas the compressed audio (our recommendation) is extremely efficient at 17.6 kbps which works well on 3G cellular, DSL and public WiFi Internet connections.
How many phones/users can this be on the system? You can have up to (41) remote clients concurrently connected to each gateway, obviously more than most would need! One "connection" is included in the price of the gateway. Each additional concurrent connection costs $350 (one-time, no recurring expense). You can provision many different user profiles to use either the Solo (Windows PC) or Pocket (iOS, Android) software. For example, you could have (5) profiles set-up to use a fewer number of concurrent connections. If (2) concurrent connections were in use, the 3rd client that tried to connect would receive a message indicating that no available "seats" are available. I believe it would work for about five minutes before advising you to purchase more "seats".
Do incoming phone calls impact the radio operation on the iPhone? Yes, temporarily, as long as it takes you to either complete or decline the call. The Pocket app has a pretty good alert/timeout feature in case you've switched to other apps for more than a few minutes.
Can you step on another conversation? Yes, you can transmit or change channels while the radio is actively receiving traffic. The Pocket App gives you a "go ahead" beep when ready for you to transmit.