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Harris / MA/COM / GE / Ericsson Forum - For general discussion of MA/COM EDACS and ProVoice systems, including equipment.

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Old 05-24-2017, 8:49 PM
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Default MA/COM ProVoice twilight

Since MA/COM announced several years ago that it will no longer support ProVoice systems effective December 30, 2017, how long will it be until the last agency finally dumps ProVoice and upgrades to P25? Florida's SLERS seems to be in no hurry to upgrade, ditto other agencies in Alabama.
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Old 05-24-2017, 9:02 PM
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Albuquerque appears to be sitting on their hands as well.
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Old 05-24-2017, 9:16 PM
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I would suspect it'll be a while... a long while. The same for smart net Moto systems...
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Old 05-24-2017, 9:30 PM
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Massachusetts still runs a PV system for Bostons MBTA commuter system (Busses, subway)
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:11 PM
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I don't understand companies that force a client to upgrade a perfectly working technology to something newer by declaring EOL
I understand the revenue stream declines over the years but what guarantee do they have
In this case Harris gets the upgrade

I heard of several first responders on an Edacs system moving on because of the fear of no support from Harris selected another radio vendor for its new radio system
Harris gets nothing

Harris reminds me of a company called Novel that once ruled the network server world until they played
the force upgrade by EOL license on older platform




Quote:
Originally Posted by wbswetnam View Post
Since MA/COM announced several years ago that it will no longer support ProVoice systems effective December 30, 2017, how long will it be until the last agency finally dumps ProVoice and upgrades to P25? Florida's SLERS seems to be in no hurry to upgrade, ditto other agencies in Alabama.
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Old 05-25-2017, 3:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brechtd View Post
I don't understand companies that force a client to upgrade a perfectly working technology to something newer by declaring EOL
I understand the revenue stream declines over the years but what guarantee do they have
In this case Harris gets the upgrade

I heard of several first responders on an Edacs system moving on because of the fear of no support from Harris selected another radio vendor for its new radio system
Harris gets nothing

Harris reminds me of a company called Novel that once ruled the network server world until they played
the force upgrade by EOL license on older platform
Certainly money plays a role. However, I suspect there are other factors like maintain old parts and inventory.

But the big one is probably just that technology changes at a fairly rapid pace these days and you have to pick your battles.Technology advances drive all of it. You just cannot support everything forever. You'd have to maintain a training program for older systems maintenance which would simply become more and more expensive over time. It is likely that they'd find it more and more difficult to recruit people who want to train on the old stuff - and all of that would be to support a shrinking pool of legacy systems.

I think we had some failures in my area recently where the vendor had to send in people and parts from out of the area to get the system back on line. That's not sustainable.

If you work in the technology field, chances are you want to learn and work with the latest technologies and tools. That's how you advance and demand a better paycheck. As a company, it's not good to continue to offer support for old technologies where you only have limited capability for supporting it.

So, back to money... all of this ultimately comes down to money.
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Old 05-25-2017, 5:33 AM
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You have to retain staff and equipment that can maintain and service the ancient, decrepit systems too. This is a common practice in technology business; it's not at all unusual for a company to end support for an older version of a product when >90% of its customers are using several versions newer. It's not cost-effective for a company to keep staff on whose sole purpose is to make sure that a generation-old technology well past its usefulness is kept on life support.
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Old 05-25-2017, 8:12 AM
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It's not cost effective to have to pony up $30 million to upgrade to a new system because the wind direction changed. As soon as Albuquerque makes the decision (and has the money finally) to upgrade to P25, it will be entering EOL as well.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:52 AM
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A public safety system somewhat local to me is still using EDACS ProVoice as well, and they have made mention in their annual business plan that they are eyeing a migration to P25.... but that's about it. Seems to be a pretty low priority for them at the moment.
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Old 05-25-2017, 3:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay911 View Post
You have to retain staff and equipment that can maintain and service the ancient, decrepit systems too. This is a common practice in technology business; it's not at all unusual for a company to end support for an older version of a product when >90% of its customers are using several versions newer. It's not cost-effective for a company to keep staff on whose sole purpose is to make sure that a generation-old technology well past its usefulness is kept on life support.
At least as of two years ago, the US Navy was paying millions of dollars per year to Microsoft for Windows XP support. While everyone else was using Windows 7, the US military was hobbling along with 13 year old operating software.

The reason I'm asking about MA/COM and ProVoice is that I'm planning a cross country trip which will take me through parts of Alabama which still uses ProVoice, and I was considering getting the ProVoice upgrade for my 536HP.
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:00 PM
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Default ProVoice Twilight ???

As the person in TAC who did the Tech Support on VoiceGuard, AEGIS and then ProVoice for 11+ years, regardless of what Harris decides to do, ProVoice will be with us for some time into the future. They only thing Harris will NOT be supporting is new ProVoice systems (infrastructure), software updates and technical support through TAC (Technical Assistance Center).

There are still plenty of VoiceGuard and AEGIS users (and systems) out there, and will continue to operate because the equipment is robust and built to last, and there are a number of decommissioned systems that have been upgraded to P-25 which spares can be purchased from around the country and Canada.

I remember several years ago a public safety system in the Midwest that I supported the upgrade on during the rebanding period (2000’s). They were still using M-PD’s and Rangr’s with S-825 control heads and VG9600 boxes for DES Encrypted digital voice on EDACS. They did not own any Orion’s or M-RK’s. Nothing that new! They were making the jump from VoiceGuard w/DES to ProVoice w/DES. Their new radios were J725m mobiles and J700p portables. The make the migration a bit easier on them, a transitional patch was made using a pair of desktop stations, to take their VoiceGuard DES comms cross over to ProVoice DES. Clunky, but it worked.

Up until rebanding, there were still GE-Marc trunking systems on 800 MHz still operational here in the USA. The one I remembered listening to locally was the “Mountain Folks Mobile Network” in SW Virginia (Galax, Hillsville areas) which was used by farmers and other rural users.

The technology won’t die until there are no more spare parts!!!

Oh, and yes, the US Navy is still using Windows-XP today because of the security issues with Windows-7 and later operating systems being designated as a security risk. Service Pack-14 is current for them.
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Old 05-27-2017, 4:13 PM
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While formal support for provoice will discontinue, I do not expect that users will stop using it if they already have it. I think that it'll just become an option you can no longer order for your radio after that date, so if you want it, better get it now.
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Old 05-29-2017, 6:32 PM
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Correct info has been presented regarding the maintenance of spare parts at Lynchburg. It's not that they will not sell you the parts, it's simply that they aren't making them anymore and when they are gone you will need to source them via the (robust) second hand market. One of the largest limiting factor is the human support side. Very few Harris SE's have ever even seen an EDACS IMC. Few people left at TAC have ever seen an EDACS system. It costs a lot of money to continue to train people on a system that was designed in the 1980s when the current systems you need to support are constantly evolving COTS systems.

No one is being forced off of EDACS however they are being warned that they could wind up in a situation where they may not be able to get an answer to a question or receive an overnight part in the event of a failure. Most systems that are still planning to maintain are doing so with an entire spare system sitting within their control and am in-house tech capable of still shoving coal in the boiler when required.

BTW, many if not most are still running on Windows NT and the absolute newest have Windows XP consoles.

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Old 05-30-2017, 8:51 AM
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Quote:
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... Very few Harris SE's have ever even seen an EDACS IMC.

...Few people left at TAC have ever seen an EDACS system.

Fewer people have seen the larger 'monster' sized systems with Stargates.

For those who don't know, in the pre-Windows era, a single site system if it had a non-IP based dispatch control had what was known as a Console Electronics Controller (CEC). These were originally based on the VAX computer infrastructure from DEC.

(I remember learning the VAX in the early 90's. I thought COBOL and FORTRAN were clunky before meeting the VAX !!!)

If you had multiple sites, then you had an Integrated Multisite Controller (IMC) instead of a CEC. An IMC controlled upto eight(8) RF Sites.

If you had a really big system of statewide or regionwide system, such as AEP, Amerien, Lower Colorado River Authority or Salt River Project, then you had Stargates.

A Stargate was an special version of the IMC which controlled up to eight other regular IMC's.

A few really huge systems (<10 in the world) had Stargates controlling other Stargates, which controlled IMC's which controlled RF Sites.
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Old 05-30-2017, 8:59 AM
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Indeed. We don't have a Stargate but we do have two simulcast systems with IMC'S linked by NIM.

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Old 05-30-2017, 1:38 PM
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Indeed. We don't have a Stargate but we do have two simulcast systems with IMC'S linked by NIM.

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MIM's and NIM's are later generation toyz from the Windows era.
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Old 05-30-2017, 1:45 PM
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Here in San Antonio most agencies on the system(which is pretty much everyone in the county) just got new Harris XG series radios and some XL series all band radios. But as far as the Provoice EDACS system they seem to plan on staying with it right through to the end of life and even beyond for a bit.
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Old 05-30-2017, 7:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb4cvn View Post
As the person in TAC who did the Tech Support on VoiceGuard, AEGIS and then ProVoice for 11+ years, regardless of what Harris decides to do, ProVoice will be with us for some time into the future. They only thing Harris will NOT be supporting is new ProVoice systems (infrastructure), software updates and technical support through TAC (Technical Assistance Center).

There are still plenty of VoiceGuard and AEGIS users (and systems) out there, and will continue to operate because the equipment is robust and built to last, and there are a number of decommissioned systems that have been upgraded to P-25 which spares can be purchased from around the country and Canada.

I remember several years ago a public safety system in the Midwest that I supported the upgrade on during the rebanding period (2000’s). They were still using M-PD’s and Rangr’s with S-825 control heads and VG9600 boxes for DES Encrypted digital voice on EDACS. They did not own any Orion’s or M-RK’s. Nothing that new! They were making the jump from VoiceGuard w/DES to ProVoice w/DES. Their new radios were J725m mobiles and J700p portables. The make the migration a bit easier on them, a transitional patch was made using a pair of desktop stations, to take their VoiceGuard DES comms cross over to ProVoice DES. Clunky, but it worked.

Up until rebanding, there were still GE-Marc trunking systems on 800 MHz still operational here in the USA. The one I remembered listening to locally was the “Mountain Folks Mobile Network” in SW Virginia (Galax, Hillsville areas) which was used by farmers and other rural users.

The technology won’t die until there are no more spare parts!!!

Oh, and yes, the US Navy is still using Windows-XP today because of the security issues with Windows-7 and later operating systems being designated as a security risk. Service Pack-14 is current for them.
Since we're going down that road...

I helped maintain 2 GE-MARC systems (one 10 channel and one 11 channel). Infrastructure was pretty solid, but the Exec II's (humpbacks) with the 10 or 11 ICOM's were...interesting. I liked the Corona's a lot better.
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Old 05-31-2017, 9:16 AM
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When I got into two-way professionally down in Miami at a GE 5-Star Dealer (Norm Ginsburg's Communications Systems Inc.), Norm has a 5-channel GE Marc system with interconnect. Mostly heavy trucks for commercial users.


Installed several hundred of the GE Marc mobiles during that job. Doing an install on a 24 VDC Positive Ground cement mixer truck was the worst.



Because of the interconnect, the nickname for the systems was the "GinsaPhone" ! (... a parody of the Ginsu knives that had just started to be sold on TV)
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Old 06-01-2017, 1:44 PM
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Ah, references to Rangrs and S825 control heads, those bring back good memories.

The Rangr (actually made by JRC) was as solid a mobile radio as anybody ever made.

I found the S-825 (actually S-850, being EDACS trunking) to be a great control head as well,
although I recall that programming the head/radio system was not as simple and straightforward as
it should have been. I could do it, but as I seem to remember it, it takes a separate programming cable for both the radio and the control head, and if you mixed up conventional with edacs versions, bad things happened that involved smoke and burned parts.
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