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Jon Morris: Technology traps and Experiences we don't want to repeat

by Insights in communications

Posted on May 23, 2018

As we go forward in tracking resources in the field via a technology solution and working out a message format, keep in mind a future interface with the HF Data and/or AMD features of conventional and ALE radios.   We do not want to narrow our options like we did in the 1980/90 period with Packet and APRS.   Those who went through that pain want to be sure we do something that is flexible enough to work with mature technologies but, as difficult as it maybe try to anticipate an emerging  technology as well.  The most current example is the ongoing struggle in the public safety area of competing "solutions" for interoperability that are being sold to public safety agencies.   Many of these "solutions" are completely dependent on the cellular infrastructure that has 
already shown its vulnerabilities but, never let the facts of an engineering problem get in the way of a good salesmen.   Everyone wants something that 
is as easy to impliment and fast as cellular technology but, nobody wants to spend the money to work on what is needed to backstop that technology 
with the redundant equipment and a network that degrades gracefully to a fail safe level.  

I am still kicking myself for spending the high percentage of my state communications funding on radio packet and the following DC put in hundreds of hours 
and his own funds to install a packet network which covered over 400 miles and an HF VHF Gateway.  National built the clover system to support it and in less than two years it was gone.  End of rant. 

The technology trap means that we need to look at things on the long term and invest our time and money not on the bleeding edge but, maybe more on the 
mature technology that we see already in use by larger agencies.   It is one thing to invest on great ideas with hobby level technology but another to adopt 
an existing technology that others already have worked out the problems related to poor coverage and higher costs.  

A project to test out solutions should be accomplished within a defined budge and it should be limited to testing until someone else sticks their financial 
neck out that has more disposable funds for the purpose of research.  We ( CAP ) do not have that type of budgeting that other organizations seem to 
have in the public and private sectors.  

Just my opinon.  

Just going to drive off in my 1963 Studebaker now....

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