The future of scanner development

MStep

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I see the industry going this route as well, although I do not care for it being "pay for play" or "software as a service" as a couple of corporations have started to call it. Yaesu is doing this for amateur radios (probably others as well) and Motorola is pushing this on higher end radios. Scanners often follow. I still recall AOR scanners that needed modules added for specific functions.
AOR is a recent member of the "pay-to-add-on club", not so much with "modules" but with unlocking certain functions. Their GSSI enhancements have not been met with instant success.
Uniden has been doing it for years. You got some digital functions, but if you want stuff like DMR, Pro-Voice and NXDN, you have to pay to unlock the functions. The good side it that they are already built into your radio, so a payment to Uniden and a few key presses and your in. Since they don't give you the whole enchilada, you get to pick (and pay for) your "sides" you want with your main course. And you don't have to send your radio in for programming. You do it right at home.

Other companies have incorporated the licensing fees into the price of the radio, and give you the whole works. But the cost of the radio becomes a bit higher since all the goodies are already in the basket and accessible.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.
 
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ten13

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Several things come into play, as it relates to the original question on this thread.

One of which really doesn't have to be detailed: encryption (and don't tell me that "encryption" can be "overcome" with advanced programming methods; most scanner users are not interested or knowledgeable enough to get involved in such, especially if it's illegal on its face).

Second, the expanding (ever so slowly) of such things as Zello, and the use of cell phone infrastructure for general, two-way, non-emergency (for now), PTT, communications. While not discouraging "private" (free-o) group communications, they are actively pursuing business communications and making accommodations for it (frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't taken off more widely than it has). And from what I've seen in the area of NY/NJ, a lot of delivery, utility, and maintenance, businesses have gone that route already. And if you have a business where communications is necessary between the staff and headquarters, why maintain a radio $y$tem, along with a bank of hand-held radios, batteries, and chargers for the staff usage, when everyone has a cell phone which one quick download puts you on the air and in contact with the base and others, and a once-a-month fee to the company supplying the software is minimal?

Third, the seriously complicated knowledge required for the top-of-the-line scanner radios which many people can't overcome, and even more can't be bothered with. Most people who have purchased scanners do so, not because they're interested in the radio itself and its guts, but because they are part of an organization which reacts to what they hear on the radio (fire, police, EMS, media, etc). They don't need, nor do they want, the complications of setting up and programming radios today just to listen to local or nearby agencies (not to mention the continuous updates and changes to such things as talkgroup assignments, etc), only to find out that the one thing they want to listen to needs a paid upgrade and new programming methods.

And, fourth: the cost of the radios themselves.

In that environment, why should any manufacturer stick their financial necks out to seek new customers for a product which really has...and most certainly will have...only a very limited audience...and monitoring sources?

Think: buggy whips.
 

bearcatrp

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As we wait for a possible next scanner, Uniden could fix some of the complaints on the older models to make some change. Any scanner that has front connections to the computer could be changed, for a fee, to get these connections on the rear of the scanner. Change the plate on the back with those connections from the front. Not sure what else Uniden could do to top the SDS series scanners unless they dip into HF territory. Maybe a scanner with a waterfall display like the Icom 8600. Hard to say what else they can do.
 

MTS2000des

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Anyone who thinks PTToLTE and converged managed services are just a fad isn't living in reality. We just bought 45 APX NEXT and are rolling out Smart Connect/Critical Connect. As such, we can create broadband only talk groups that don't have an LMR presence.

How this will affect scanning is easy to see. Then there are scanning enjoyment that will always be here: aircraft, amateur radio, rail roads- where PTT over cellular will never be practical or usable.

I keep going back to what Blue Tail is doing. I look forward to seeing more of this "home grown" stuff as people with much brighter minds than me can cook up and share with the community. That's the true art of radio my friends.
 

DeoVindice

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Anyone who thinks PTToLTE and converged managed services are just a fad isn't living in reality. We just bought 45 APX NEXT and are rolling out Smart Connect/Critical Connect. As such, we can create broadband only talk groups that don't have an LMR presence.

How this will affect scanning is easy to see. Then there are scanning enjoyment that will always be here: aircraft, amateur radio, rail roads- where PTT over cellular will never be practical or usable.

I keep going back to what Blue Tail is doing. I look forward to seeing more of this "home grown" stuff as people with much brighter minds than me can cook up and share with the community. That's the true art of radio my friends.
In some regions and use cases, yes, PoC has a bright future. Beyond that, the future of LMR is encrypted. My business uses strapped AES and we are far from alone in going secure.
 

StoliRaz

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The company that builds the next SDR that has an android and ios app for listening will win. Lots of us use an sdr and are always looking for an easy way to broadcast to our phones or tablets. One of these companies could create an sdr with software that offers a service to broadcast to an app on your phone or tablet.
What's needed right now is software to decode digital on Android. No one seems to want to create it. If I knew what I was doing, I would create it in a heartbeat.
 

RobKB1FJR

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I agree, however how essential is it for them to monitor more than one radio system at a time? Most of the pagers are likely being used to monitor the department that they work or volunteer for, I don't know if "professional" users of the pagers would have the same needs/wants as a scanner user. I think Unication has the ability to produce a great fuctional scanner, however I just don't know if they would see the sales revenue from such a venture.
Also with a lot of departments making the move to P25 and other systems (DMR & NXDN), encryption is on the rise and why jump in and try to get a piece of the market that may be pointless anyway.
Dispatch now a days seems to monitor alot more now a days. With Encryption on the Law Enforcement side in my area its awful. Most of the Greensboro area is encrypted on the police side. While not really neccessary to listen to them all the time. I do develop a lack of situational awareness. I think radio development will remain static so to speak on the scanner and unication side. Also use of cellphones, etc.

There is one exception to monitoring more then one trunked system at once in areas of NC in some counties one department police is dispatched on Trunk System A and the volunteer and or city department is dispatched on trunk system B.

Also LTE etc.. The days of 1995 era scanning arent coming back mainly because of technology and most of the younger people involved in public safety arent radio heads.

The good news is there is always ham radio and the fire department, have a great bunch of people on the local 2 meter repeaters down here and up in Massachusetts.
 

Ubbe

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Scanner manufacturers will come up with features and functions that will let us want their latest and greatest scanners. I can see that SDS200 with its network connection could use a type of Broadcastify stream connection that could scan together with the normal systems. It could use voice detect or meta data detect to activate the unmute of that stream. It could then also monitor a stream from places like sheriff offices that could stream the encrypted traffic but delayed. Or just expand the area of your monitoring to receive streams from Broadcastify to cover areas that you cannot receive.

/Ubbe
 

fires999

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Morning from the other side of the pond,
Interesting discussions , agree with the arguments, so what else could be invented ? I think manufacturers have hit a bit of a brick wall. Here in the UK listeners , for some while now , have lost a fair percentage of what could be heard before.
Emergency Services Police, Fire, Ambulance and similar went across to TETRA encrypted (Airwave) . Radio users such as taxi cabs , couriers etc using low band (85 mhz +/-) left the band along with a trunking allocation 180-200mhz (truck drivers etc). Most seem to have left radio altogether for cellphones due to "bundles" of free calls/data.
Users that stuck with radio have moved across to DMR - As users the transition would have been "invisible". Some users have gone across to Network radios, similiar if not the same looking handheld radios using the cellular network.
So as listeners we have had to change radio/scanners to those that can receive DMR. Some radios can decode TETRA, but not as far as I'm aware the emergency services.
That leaves amateur radio , Marine , Airband plus lower down with shortwave including CB not forgetting Commercial radio broadcasts....which brings me back around to not really much change since it all began (except no crystals to buy !!!)
However I concur with the above...not much life left in the scanners we know now......
Kevin (UK)
 

StoliRaz

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There will always be police scanners. To increase sales there will always be new products.
If anything new comes out I picture it being something like a Malahit SDR radio but very "dumbed down" to make it appeal to casual users, i.e. easy menus/programming, Sentinel only programming etc

I wonder if Whistler will actually develop anything new rather than revamping old GRECOM stuff. Would be nice if they did.
 

chrismol1

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The newest police scanner will be a tablet device with an external LTE cell antenna and it will be an app connected to broadcastify LOL
The SDS NEXT , like the motorola next, connected cell phone firstnet device:LOL:
 

hiegtx

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If anything new comes out I picture it being something like a Malahit SDR radio but very "dumbed down" to make it appeal to casual users, i.e. easy menus/programming, Sentinel only programming etc

I wonder if Whistler will actually develop anything new rather than revamping old GRECOM stuff. Would be nice if they did.
Maybe a follow on to the SDS series, with refinements in how it handles signals.

Unfortunately, I have my doubts as to whether anything truly new will be released by Whistler. Several years back, they announced two new scanners (TRX100 & TRX200) were under development, probably as a counterpoise to Uniden's SDS series. But after a year or so, they announced that those products had been abandoned. I suspect that Whistler does not have the design team horsepower to truly compete in the scanner market, which is a shame. Having two, or more, competitors actively working to develop & release new and more advanced models pushes each to do their best. As a bonus, two or more sources for models contributes to keeping the final price a bit more palatable.
 

KA1RBI

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I suspect that Whistler does not have the design team horsepower to truly compete in the scanner market, which is a shame.
The TRX100/200 were supposed to fix the "simulcast" problems inherent in FM-discriminator based designs.

I've always found it quite odd that virtually all of the free and low-cost PC decoder apps were easily able to add "true I/Q" simulcast PSK demodulators (fixing the simulcast maladies) - beating the manufacturers by several years. And yet various ragtag bands of volunteer (unpaid) developers somehow pulled this off; I can show documentation and a set of published plans that go back to 2010 (predating the RTL SDR availability by a couple of years) showing how to build a proper LSM demodulator.

The real story of what happened at Whistler with the TRX may never be told - but its inability to implement a basic technology described in 1950's datacomm textbooks (i.e., PSK) is remarkable...

There is no doubt in my mind that homebrewers, builders, and SDR devs today have the edge - I haven't bought any new scanners since my (POS) RS PRO-106.

Max
 

nd5y

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I've always found it quite odd that virtually all of the free and low-cost PC decoder apps were easily able to add "true I/Q" simulcast PSK demodulators (fixing the simulcast maladies) - beating the manufacturers by several years. And yet various ragtag bands of volunteer (unpaid) developers somehow pulled this off;
Maybe the reason is legal or other non-technical issues that amateurs don't care or know about.
 

scannersnstuff

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Perhapse, this is anal retentive on my part but, I have not bought a new expensive scanner since the bcd436hp. While I an not unhappy with it, I still think they could have added the screen color change,just like the bcd396xt did. Then Uniden knocked the bcd436hp,when the sds line came out. Whistler could not even get a simulcast handler to the plate. In my present situation, it would be uneccesary to even upgrade. I don't forsee anything scanner related going for less than $700.00, if there is even a new scanner down the road.
 
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