Growth of Global Hearing Amplifiers Market Driven by Increase in the Number of Prevalence of Hearing Impairment Patients in Old and Young Population

We found this article and couldn’t not post this to our blog, it shows how hearing damage is on the upsurge. With cases of hearing loss growing every year, hearing amplifiers and hearing aids sales have consistently increased. There doesn’t seems to be an answer to this rise but as technology improves, answers can come that way.

Hearing loss can occurs when inner ear or nerve is damaged, which may be caused due to diseases, aging, loud noise, and medications. Hearing amplifier is a small part of hearing aid which makes the sound louder. Hearing amplifiers increase the power of signals and then send them to the ear through speakers.

Hearing aid is useful in improving the hearing and speech of patients. An otolaryngologist investigates the cause of the hearing loss. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of hearing loss.

Increase in number of hearing impairment cases coupled with rising costs of hearing aids are expected to drive the growth of the global hearing amplifiers market during the forecast period. Majority of the consumers use hearing amplifiers or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) as they are considered cheaper alternatives of hearing aids. Hearing amplifiers or PSAPs, are designed to amplify sounds in any recreational environment and are exempt from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hearing amplifiers are sold directly to consumers as electronic devices without the requirement of a physician prescription.

According to National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 324,200 cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide. About 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities. Major driving factors for the growth of the global hearing amplifiers such as an increase in the number of prevalence of hearing impairment patients in old and young population, increasing investment in research and development in ENT field among others.

Based on styles or design types of hearing aid products the global market of hearing amplifiers can be segmented as follows:

-Behind-the-ear (BTE)

-Mini BTE

-In-the-ear (ITE)

-In-the-canal (ITC)

Based on function the global hearing amplifiers market can be segmented as follows:

-Analog hearing aids

-Digital hearing aids

Based on distribution channels the global hearing amplifiers market can be segmented as follows:

-Hospital Pharmacies

-Online Pharmacies

-Independent Pharmacies and Drug stores

Hearing amplifiers market is segmented into five major regions: North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. In 2015, North America lead the global market of hearing amplifiers followed by the Europe in terms of revenue. According to statistics compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 37.5 million adults aged 18 and older in America report some form of hearing loss.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids and more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to parents suffering from some kind of hearing disorder. Globally, the hearing amplifiers market is expected to witness a healthy CAGR in terms of revenue during the forecast period.

Latin America, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific regions are the emerging markets in the global hearing amplifiers market. Increasing awareness among the various distribution channels as well as consumers in these regions is anticipated to propel global market growth of hearing aids and amplifiers during the forecast period.

The key players in the global market develop hearing amplifiers in analog and digital forms. Some of the top companies in the global hearing amplifiers market are Sound Hawk, Resound, Foshan Vohom Technology Co. Ltd., Sound world solution, Shenzhen LA Lighting Company Limited, Austar Hearing Science and Technology (Xiamen) Co., Ltd., Huizhou Jinghao Electronics Co. Ltd., Ziphearing among others.

2016 year in review: Motorola’s resurgence

Motorola have always been a brand we have looked up to, in our eyes they produce some of the best equipment on the market, sometimes they don’t sell as well as they should do. The business has been split and sold several times over the last year, but they are now on the rise and business is going well, as this article shows.

2014 saw Motorola’s ownership change hands from the west to the east. Lenovo acquired the company off Google on January 29, 2014 but it was not until 2016 that the fruits of Lenovo’s ownership started showing up.

The year started off with Motorola in a slightly vulnerable position with the relative failure of both the Moto X Style and Moto X Play. The Moto X line was fading and even the third generation Moto G had failed to impress.

These first devices under Lenovo’s ownership however, had been in the pipeline much before Lenovo took over and it was not until the Moto G4 and the Moto Z in 2016 that we saw what the new Motorola could deliver.

Moto G4 series: Ushering in a renaissance

The Moto G4 Plus was one of two variants of Motorola’s fourth generation Moto G, the firm’s bestselling smartphone range ever. This was the first time Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) launched more than one smartphone in the G range, with the Moto G4, Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4 Plus.

At a starting price of Rs 13,499, the Moto G4 Plus made for a compelling buy, and continued the G series of smartphone’s tradition of providing good smartphones at an affordable price. With a superb display, a fast and accurate fingerprint sensor, stock android and great performance, it ticked all the right boxes for a mid-range device.

In comparison to the regular Moto G4, the Moto G4 Plus featured an improved 16MP rear camera with phase auto detection, laser autofocus and a dual LED Flash and also came with a fingerprint sensor.

Motorola also released the Moto G4 Play which was the cheapest device in the G4 lineup at Rs 8,999 and packed a 5-inch 720p HD display, a 2,800mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable internal storage.

The Moto G4, G4 Plus and G4 Play were critical as well as commercial hits and announced the comeback of Motorola in the smartphone game. The Plus in particular, presented a fantastic blend of features and affordability that saw it shoot up the sales charts.

Moto E3 Power: The odd one out

Lenovo also unveiled the Moto E3 Power in India which was a more powerful version of the third generation Moto E3. In a surprising move, the company decided against releasing the regular Moto E3 in the country.

The Moto E3 Power came with a massive 3,500mAh battery, 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch HD display and nearly stock Android Marshmallow.

At Rs 7,999, the Moto E3 Power found itself in as odd situation with the much more capable Moto G4 Play priced at just a thousand rupees more.

The attack of the Modular smartphones

Motorola then cemented its position in the smartphone world by releasing the striking Moto Z, the company’s most exciting smartphone in years.

The Moto Z came packed to the gills with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera with OIS and 4K recording, a 5MP front shooter and a 2,600mAh battery along with TurboCharging support.

The ‘World’s thinnest premium smartphone’ came with a 5.5-inch QuadHD display protected by corning gorilla glass, a sleek and suave metal/glass body and unlimited feature expansion through the Moto Mods.

The distinguishing feature of the Moto Z were the ‘Moto Mods’: snap-on accessories that could be attached to the back of smartphone through magnets in order to increase its functionality.

Alongside the flagship Moto Z, Motorola also launched its younger brother, the Moto Z Play which came with a 5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, a downgrade from the QuadHD resolution of the Moto Z and the largest battery Motorola ever put in any of its smartphones. Just like the Moto Z, the Moto Z Play also supported the innovative Moto Mods.

The Moto Z and Moto Z Play helped bring Motorola back into the spotlight. The Moto Mods in particular were greatly appreciated and were hailed as one of the best implementations of the modular concept in recent years.

The stunning all-metal Moto M

The end of the year saw Motorola launching the stunning all-metal Moto M in India.

The Moto M’s full metal unibody design with antenna bands on the top and bottom edges was a complete departure from the design language of previous Motorola smartphones and was again an indication of the company’s new ownership.

This is what Sudhin Mathur, Executive Director, Lenovo Mobile Business Group, India had to say about the company’s performance in 2016:

“The Moto G franchise continues to be much loved and we witnessed an extremely high conversion from early Moto G buyers opting for the new Moto G 4th Generation. But, our real game changer and technological breakthrough was the Moto Z and Moto Mods series that redefined the evolutionary progress of the smartphone industry. The Moto Z and Moto Mods system is designed to provide connected, intelligent and mobile consumer experiences in a seamless fashion and the power to transform your (Moto Z) smartphone in a snap is revolutionary. We started with four Moto Mods and are continuously working with multiple partners to develop more Mods for smartphone users in 2017.”

What’s next?

2017 will be a crucial year for the company as it prepares to build upon the success of the G4 and Z range. It is pivotal for Lenovo to make sure that it retains the essence of the company while at the same time push new boundaries of design and innovation.

Maplewood-based 3M launches ‘smart’-hearing protection for hunters, civilian shooters

We all understand the difference between active headset and passive headsets? Active is able to block external sound when it reaches a certain decibel level. This is great in most situations, but for hunters and people that work around guns this sometimes isn’t as protective as it could be, But now 3M have launched a new ‘smart hearing’ Headset

Determined to expand its consumer safety offerings, 3M Co. has introduced a “smart” hearing-protection headset for hunters and shooters that automatically measures and cancels out specific gun noises while simultaneously amplifying voices and phone conversations.

3M’s device, the Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing Protector, was introduced last week with positive reaction at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

The technology is designed to offer superior hearing protection to hunters, firing-range hobbyists and other civilian sports shooters.

While 3M is well known for making ear plugs and other hearing protectors for factories, farms and the military, the new Peltor product is expected to greatly expand its reach into the civilian shooting market.

It is also 3M’s first foray into the adjustable or “smart” hearing-technology arena, officials said.

For the first time, 3M’s new devices can measure the energy coming from each specific gunshot in the area and automatically adjust to suppress each noise for the right amount of time.

Such automatic adjustments protect the hearing, no matter if shooters who are nearby are firing small .22-caliber firearms or automatic rifles, said Lindsay Adams, 3M’s marketing manager for the Peltor Sport line.

The new Peltor Sport headsets also filter out sound from fans, wind and other background noises while amplifying voices.

Shooters don’t need to remove headsets to talk on a cellphone or to hear the people around them. Instead, the technology attempts to make ear protection seamless and constant even if the shooter’s environment changes from inside to outside.

“Hunters need to be able to hear their surroundings,” Adams said.

It took 3M more than a year and eight electronic and mechanical engineers and marketers to produce the new products.

If successful, the Peltor Sport headsets will double and triple 3M’s current protection sales from the hunting and shooting consumer market.

3M has a solid footing in hearing protection in the construction market via channels such as Home Depot and Lowes.

Now, 3M hopes for similar success as it launches the new smart Peltor Sport line in Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shops and on Walmart.com and Amazon.com.

3M launched two versions of its new Peltor headset at the SHOT show. Attendees were able to borrow 3M’s headsets and test them during the preshow firing range event and gave rave reviews.

Unlike previous models, the Peltor Tactical 500 model is Bluetooth capable and offers a noise-reduction rating of 26. The Tactical 300 model is compatible with other mobile devices and offers a noise-reduction rating of 24.

Noise reduction ratings generally range from 0 to 34. The higher the number, the better the noise cancellation.

The new products are expected to sell for roughly $149.99 and $199.99.

“We really feel like these, along with the products we developed in the last two years, round out our portfolio and put us in a competitive position to gain market share,” Adams said.

Both new electronic hearing protectors also feature foldable vented headbands that can release heat and increase comfort.

They sport low-profile cups with rubber bumpers and durable recessed microphones to reduce wind noise.

3M officials declined to reveal the cost to bring the new product to market.

The company does, however, expect the investment to pay off.

Industry analysts agreed, noting that the Maplewood based maker of Scotch tape, respirators, ear plugs, goggles and harnesses has its sight set on a growing market.

Global Industry Analysts Inc. predicts that U.S. hearing-protection sales will grow on average 6 percent a year and reach $714 million by 2020.

Some of that growth will be fueled by regulations and changing hearing-protection needs in workplaces such as factories, oil fields and farms.

If correct, that bodes well for 3M and Honeywell Inc., the two largest players in the nation, followed by SensGard, Westone, Moldex Metrics and David Clark Co. Inc.

NFL investigating Giants for using two-way radio during game against Cowboys

Apparently using a two way radio during an American football game is frowned upon over in the good old US of A, This article is about a game between the Giants and the Cowboys. During a Game the coaching staff and Quarterback are not allowed to communicate if there is 15 seconds or less on the clock, this rule might have been broken with the use of a walkie talkie.

The NFL is investigating the Giants’ potentially rule-breaking use of a two-way radio during the team’s recent 10-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The use of a two-way radio by a coach during a game is strictly against league rules, according to ESPN.

In the fourth quarter of the Cowboys game, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was spotted using a walkie-talkie to communicate play calls with Eli Manning after his headset malfunctioned.

In the fourth quarter of the game, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was spotted using a walkie-talkie to communicate play calls with Eli Manning after his headset malfunctioned.

The Cowboys issued a formal complaint to the league over the radio use, but the NFL’s investigation was already underway by the time Dallas contacted them.

The NFL has a rule against coaches using two-way handheld radios because the league cannot control when both parties are communicating.

A coach using a walkie-talkie makes it harder for the NFL to monitor a league rule that states communication from the sideline to the quarterback must end when 15 seconds are left on the play clock.

With headsets, the NFL has the power to shut off communication at will with a “cutoff switch operator,” ESPN reported.

The Giants had no comment when reached Thursday night.

McAdoo used the walkie talkie in question, however, for about four or five plays on the Giants’ fourth-quarter drive that ended in an Eli Manning interception on a pass intended for Victor Cruz.

McAdoo’s normal equipment malfunctioned and as the Giants worked to fix it, the coach was handed the walkie talkie temporarily because its signal was reaching Manning’s helmet.

As the Giants worked to correct McAdoo’s equipment, Odell Beckham Jr. could be seen running to the sideline to bring plays back to the huddle and Manning was heading over to the sideline, as well.

There is no evidence in reviewing the game film that demonstrates McAdoo was on the walkie talkie for longer than the allowed 15 seconds of communication with his quarterback.

There is also, of course, no evidence that the Giants gained any advantage even if he was. The drive ended in a turnover and the Giants’ offense stunk most of the night.

WiFi Enabled LTE Small Cell Gateway Market to Register a Strong Growth By 2021 – PMR

On paper, connecting walkie talkie radios to a Wifi networkis is the most obvious method of controlling and communicating within a business. But the reality is that there aren’t many radios on the market that have the capability to do this and many wifi networks aren’t robust enough to manage lots of radios, this article predicts that this technology will be a growth market, we will wait and see.

WiFi enabled LTE small cell gateway is a type of a base station. Base station uses cellular wireless network for communicating with mobile phones or terminals. Base station connects mobile phones to a wireless carrier network and offers local coverage for a wireless network. The area of coverage varies from several miles to few city blocks. Each base station is typically owned by one carrier or wireless company and gives coverage only for that company’s network. It may also offer roaming coverage for other networks in case carriers have agreement for roaming and technology is compatible. Base station comprises of an electronic cabinet which connected by means of cables to a group of antennas. The antennas may be mounted on an existing structure or on dedicated tower structure including top of a building, church steeple or smoke-stack and water tower.

In radio communications, base station refers to wireless communications station implemented at a fixed location and used to communicate as wireless telephone system including cellular GSM or CDMA cell site, part push-to-talk two-way radio system, terrestrial trunked radio and two-way radio. A single location often operates several base stations owned by a different carrier. Smaller types of base stations or small cells include picocells, femtocells and microcells. WiFi enabled LTE small cell gateway is promising network element. A wide variety of base station deployments are in a small cell configuration. It has WiFi interface at end-use device and LTE interface at the carrier network.

Small cell is low-powered radio access nodes (operator-controlled) that operate in carrier-grade Wi-Fi (unlicensed) and licensed spectrum. Small cells normally have a range from 10 to numerous hundred meters. Small cell base stations are expected to play vital role in expanding the capacity of wireless networks due to increasing mobile data traffic. Mobile operators are increasingly looking forward to this technology in order to meet the rising demands for data, video and application access generated due to smart phones and other devices. Small cells aid mobile service that detect presence, interact wand connect with existing networks. Small cells offer increased quality of service and flexibility at an affordable cost. Small cell infrastructure implantation is an environmentally friendly approach as it reduces the number of cell towers and offers a cleaner signal using less power.

Rising numbers of wireless carriers or companies are taking dedicated interest in this industry owing to the proliferation of embedded WiFi features in fixed and mobile devices. Growing demand for more advanced handheld devices such as smart-phones and tablets is expected to create demand for technologies with high internet speed. This in turn, is expected to drive the growth of WiFi enabled LTE small cell gateways.

Motorola Solutions’ digital two-way radio technology enhances mission-critical communications at Munich airport

Motorola solutions are a company well known for their robust two way radios and for building world class communication structures. Improving on the current TETRA system with an IP dispatch console and piloting the WAVE system, that allows a phone app to connect to the radio system, for communicating of site. You can read more about what Motorola are doing for Munich below and you can find the original article here.

Motorola Solutions has received an order to implement a comprehensive update and extension of its existing TETRA digital two-way radio system at Munich Airport.

The newly modernized communications infrastructure ensures greater connectivity, interoperability and collaboration between various business and operational functions at Germany’s second largest airport. Motorola Solutions will also provide services for ensuring smooth operations.

Within the framework of the TETRA radio network refresh, Motorola Solutions is equipping the airport with a new MCC 7500 IP Dispatch Console. The comprehensive, scalable solution enhances the IP architecture to ensure optimum call set up and availability. It will also allow Munich Airport to expand its communications infrastructure in the future without interrupting existing services. As well as this, Motorola Solutions will implement two TETRA base stations for improved TETRA radio coverage in the terminal buildings.

Alongside the improvements to the TETRA system, the airport has started a pilot project for the potential introduction of Motorola Solutions’ broadband push-to-talk (PTT) platform WAVE. The goal of the installation is to ensure that airport staff can communicate, no matter which device or infrastructure is being used. The powerful PTT solution WAVE™ Work Group Communications provides airport authorities with secure and reliable communications beyond TETRA radio – including broadband devices and networks – to enable greater workforce connectivity, interoperability and collaboration. WAVE connects the TETRA system used by administrative staff with service management employees who join the broadband platform via smartphones, computers, other radios or telephones, meaning that staff across the airport can communicate with one another from virtually any location.

“We have been working with Motorola Solutions’ TETRA two-way digital radio system since 2007,” said Michael Zaddach, head of the IT service division at Flughafen München GmbH. “The update of our TETRA infrastructure enables us to further improve our communications in airport operations and make our processes even more efficient.”

“We are collaborating closely with Munich Airport to provide a future-proof TETRA digital two-way radio network,” said Klaus-Dieter Drossel, sales director for key accounts, Motorola Solutions Germany GmbH. “We are also pleased that Munich Airport is testing our broadband push-to-talk platform WAVE, and we are certain that it will enable airport staff to work together more closely, no matter which device or network they use.”

Could hearing loss be a hidden cost of gaming?

Is this is a real problem? Do you use a set of headphones whilst gaming? This article has information on how damaging wearing gaming headphones is and what the future impact might be. Read this, examine how you use your headphones and get on with life…

According to the Q1 2016 GameTrack report, 18.8 million people between the ages of 6 and 64 game and those between 11 and 64 spend an average 8.8 hours per week doing so.

 Amongst Gamers the largest group is 15 to 24 year old males who are most at risk of permanently damaging their hearing. This group spends the most amount of time gaming and are also the most attracted to the “loud” games. Furthermore a majority of them live in a shared accommodation and use headphones so as not to disturb others. This group also the most likely to take part in other activities which can be harmful to their hearing such as listening to music through headphones, going to gigs and festivals, and nightclubs.

 Unfortunately the price of their enjoyment could well be significant and permanent hearing damage. Whilst there is clearly a risk to the Gamer, it could transfer as a liability to the games companies in the form of legal action relating to their duty of care.

 The first significant step is to make Gamers aware of how much sound exposure they are experiencing and what they can do to prevent hearing damage, because hearing damage is permanent

 Hearing damage is caused by the combination of how long you listen (time), how loud you listen (volume), and what you listen to (energy content). The combination of these three factors create a “sound dose”, if the dose is too high it starts to damage your hearing.

 The UN’s World Health Organisation and hearing conservation organisations are increasing awareness of the risks and advise users to restrict their daily sound dose to less than 85dB average over 8 hours.

 Gamers who use headphones currently have no realistic way to indicate what level they are listening at and how much of their daily sound dose they have used. The answer will be to provide them with an intelligent sound dose measurement app or software, giving them their individual sound dose exposure information and guidance, with optional protection, so that for the first time they can make informed decisions about their hearing health.

Cover your ears! Amsterdam Dance Event goers invited to hearing pill tests

Anyone will tell you, we are the first to champion hearing protection and the progress to hearing health. With all the latest technological developments, we are looking at a new era of hearing health. This supplement is supposed to ‘be beneficial for reducing hearing loss due to aminoglycosides and overstimulation’ and if the test come back positive we might see further advancement in this field.

The Amsterdam Dance Event is about more than top DJs and partying, reports Senay Boztas

As 375,000 people prepare themselves for big noise at the five-day Amsterdam Dance Event, a business has asked them to listen up: Hearing Health Science is looking for recruits to trial its ‘protective’ hearing pills.

The Amsterdam-based business, co-founded by a leading inner ear neuroscientist from the University of Michigan Dr Josef Miller, has joint US patents on a dietary supplement combination including vitamins A, C, E and magnesium.

Studies have shown some evidence that this ACEMg supplement ‘can be beneficial for reducing hearing loss due to aminoglycosides and overstimulation,’ according to a report in Nature magazine in February, co-authored by Miller. Hearing Health Science hopes to begin producing pills next year and is taking pre-orders at the festival, at a cost of €30 for a four-week supply.

Pilots

It is also looking for volunteers to take part in pilot tests, signing up recruits at the Amsterdam Dance Event, which this year is putting on 2,200 acts in 140 venues and expecting a peak of numbers.

Barry Seifer, co-founder and chief executive of the company explained: ‘The pill we are bringing to market is safe, and you cannot test in the lab by giving someone a problem and then offering to cure it. If you are going to do epidemiological research on something like this – noise – you have to do it in the real world, where the problem happens. This is a great place to do that research.’

The company is planning pilot tests with volunteers from the ADE – although Seifer said they won’t be handing out pills at the door – and hopes to invite some of these to a modified crossover study. This should take place when the ‘festival’ season begins from March next year, and subjects will be followed for a period, taking the drug and a placebo at different times, and measuring their hearing through a special app developed at the University of Michigan.

Tinnitus

‘We’ve done it once with a tinnitus trial and now we want to do real-world studies in the music industry,’ says Seifer. ‘Our initial idea was to recruit 20 or 30 people but we have such intense interest that I think we’ll have 500 who sign up. We would love to be able to give this to people now because millions need help, but we’re not quite there yet. We’re not going to stand at the doors and hand out pills.’

A spokesman for ADE said the festival has worked with Hearing Health Science in the past and invited it to speak at an event on Thursday. ‘We believe you need to protect your hearing and welcome initiatives in this field,’ he said. ‘HHS has been working on this hearing protection for a long time and at ADE we are always looking out for innovations in the field of (electronic) music…we also actively offer earbuds to visitors.’

Highlights of the event this year include Afrojack, Hardwell and Martin Garrix, and the festival expects 3% more clubbers, with a steadily pattern of growth over its 10 years. House music and techno are currently the most popular genres.

Seifer adds: ‘We would never tell you to turn the music down. Entertainment goers are trying to keep the music to lower volumes and encourage people to use filters and party plugs – these are good. The problem is that this is supposed to be fun!’

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Cover your ears! Amsterdam Dance Event goers invited to hearing pill tests http://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2016/10/cover-your-ears-amsterdam-dance-event-goers-invited-to-hearing-pill-tests/

Far offshore windfarms present communications challenges

This is an interesting article debating the different types of communication that can be used over a long distance, and as they distance moves further and further, the different types of communication drop off or become part of an infrastructure. As engineers battle with this problem, knowledge of how radio frequencies and applications becomes paramount.

As offshore windfarms are built further and further from land, alternatives to conventional VHF communications are going to be required

A cornerstone of any major project is clear communication between all parties. As we move windfarm construction further offshore, maintaining efficient voice and data communications becomes essential. With many projects now being constructed beyond the range of VHF radio and cellular telephone, such as a Gemini or Dudgeon offshore windfarms, crew transfer vessel (CTV) operators and their clients are experiencing challenges achieving practical and affordable offshore communications. My experience on two far offshore projects in the last 15 months has shown that creative thinking can work together with existing equipment such as TETRA radio to reduce the risks and stress that poor communications can generate.

Communication solutions on offshore windfarms depend on the phase that the operation is in, the size of the project and the distance from shore. Many smaller, older windfarms rely on VHF radios to communicate between shore and vessel and shore/vessel and work team on the turbines. However, VHF is limited in range being a line-of-sight system, and the signal has trouble penetrating structures such as wind turbines due to the Faraday cage effect. Conventional cellular telephone coverage is also possible on nearshore sites, with some windfarms installing a cellular mast within the windfarm. Vessels at anchor off the Dutch port of IJmuiden can thank the windfarm industry for good connection when waiting for a pilot if they have contracts with the provider KPN.

When moving further offshore, luxuries such as a cellular mast will not be installed during the construction phase, and it is most likely that VHF radios will not be sufficient. It is common for the developer to install a TETRA radio network – similar to those used by national emergency response services such as police and fire departments.

TETRA, or terrestrial trunked radio as it is properly termed, is a secure network allowing one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many communications. This means that the marine controller can speak directly and privately to one party or to the entire offshore spread depending on what is needed. It transmits on a lower frequency than VHF so covers a greater range. This still is not enough to cover the distances experienced on far offshore windfarms. If multiple base stations are used, each base station can then automatically rebroadcast a message thus expanding the network coverage. On a recent construction project, it was found that there were communications blackspots in the area of the sea passage from the base port to the site. This was later eliminated by fitting full base station units rather than just handheld transceivers on the CTVs. The CTVs then became vital links in the communications network and ensured the blackspots were reduced or eliminated altogether.

TETRA has many other advantages, including the ability to penetrate the tower of a wind turbine, and calls are not dropped when moving between base station carriers due to the network configuration. This is especially important if vessel-carried base stations are relaying far offshore. The network is also secure, which ensures that commercially sensitive information cannot be intercepted. With the one-to-one mode, it also means that managers can have detailed conversations on sensitive subjects.

However, anecdotal information received from vessel crews in the field appear to indicate that TETRA, although a good system, is not foolproof. One vessel master reported that, after 15 months on site, they still had blackspots with TETRA and sometimes have to use the cell phone application WhatsApp to request that turbines be started or stopped so that he can land a team.

TETRA does not solve the operational problems experienced by vessel-operating companies who require frequent voice and data communication with the CTVs to ensure a smooth delivery of service. As most sites far offshore are outside of cell phone coverage and clients demand that daily reports are issued on time, creativity is needed. There is a simple solution that could solve all of the communication problems far offshore – installing VSAT satellite communications on each CTV, which allows instant telephone and data transfer.

However, the practicalities of chartering in today’s windfarm industry eliminates this option, as the client will not want to pay for installation and operation, and a vessel owner cannot afford such a luxury. Charterers therefore need to make a decision: either they assume responsibility and the costs for practical workable satellite communications on their vessels or look for practical alternative solutions to deliver what is needed far offshore.

One practical solution to maintain communications between the marine co-ordination centre and vessels is to step back a generation and use medium frequency/high frequency single side band radios, which are common equipment on larger CTVs and is standard on service operation vessels (SOVs) or installation vessels.

When used in conjunction with the digital selective calling (DSC) function of the GMDSS standard, voice communications can be maintained at long distance without operating cost. Unfortunately, current guidance for the marine co-ordination in windfarms as found in the G9 Good practice guideline: The safe management of small service vessels used in the offshore wind industry does not yet consider marine co-ordination and communications in far offshore windfarms.

Another practical solution to improve data communication is to install powerful WiFi antennas on the decks of SOVs and other major offshore assets to allow CTVs to have internet access when they are in close proximity. CTVs can then download passenger manifests and weather reports and upload the daily progress report and synchronise planned maintenance and email systems.

CTVs spend considerable time in close proximity to the SOV during passenger transfer, bunkering or waiting for the next assignment, and it is relatively easy to set up the computers to connect and synchronise without operator input, thus reducing the risk of distraction. SOVs should be designed with space for CTV crews to use as a secure office so that laptops can be left connected to the network. In this way, crews can have two computers and prepare work when on shift, transfer via a data stick and upload when they go off shift.

One of the most effective tools that we have identified is WhatsApp, which seems to require very low signal strength to connect and transfer brief messages. On recent projects, we have found that most vessel/office communication occurs in this medium, including fault finding and incident reporting and investigation. Crews have found it quicker to video a CCTV system playback and send via WhatsApp than download the CCTV video and send it via a file transfer service. As synchronising an electronic planned maintenance system offshore is very time consuming, our superintendents have taken to sending the worklists via WhatsApp to the vessels who then confirm back with text or images when a job is complete. The superintendent then does the PMS administration from their office with the advantage of high speed network connections. Experience with WhatsApp has led me to believe that agile, low data applications will form part of the future of offshore communication.

Far offshore projects have moved from planning and dreaming to reality. However, effective and cost-efficient communication solutions have not moved with them. Like most challenges with far offshore windfarms, there is no single solution, but experience has shown that, with creativity and flexibility, projects can communicate with their teams and operators can manage their vessels.

Better equipment earlier on in the construction phase, such as MF/HF radios in the MCC and on the vessels, TERA base stations on the vessels and open deck WiFi on construction assets will all assist in improving safety and reducing stress while ensuring that unnecessary costs are not incurred.

Chinese corporation bids to acquire Sepura

This news is making quite a buzz within the stock market forums, With two of our big players in our industry set to merge, this is huge news! Yes, Sepura have had their problems this year and Hytera have increased their market share, but we are not sure is this is good news or bad?

Another Asian corporation is set to hoover up a Cambridge UK technology company in a state of financial flux.

Communications technology business Sepura confirms it is in talks with Chinese company Hytera Communications Corporation Ltd.

It will be an all-cash deal but the acquisition price will be moderate because digital radios company Sepura is in a mess because of cash liquidity issues.

Sepura revealed the takeover talks after its share price spiked more than 25 per cent having nosedived in recent times due to cashflow issues and order delays.

Hytera is a world leading solution provider of professional mobile radio communications and operates globally.

Late today, Sepura issued a statement on London Stock Exchange confirming it was in preliminary talks with Hytera regarding a possible offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company.

Hytera confirmed to the Sepura board that any offer was likely to be solely in cash. The usual caveats were issued that there was no certainty any deal would go through and shareholders would be updated on new developments.

Founded in 1993 in Shenzhen, China, Hytera has grown to be a key player in the PMR (Professional Mobile Radio) communication industry with a large customer base in more than 120 countries and regions across the world.

In China, Hytera’s market share ranks first among Chinese manufacturers while globally Hytera has reached second place in the overall terminal category.

As one of the few corporations that masters TETRA, DMR and PDT technologies, and produces all series of products and solutions of all these mainstream digital protocols, Hytera leads in the draft of digital trunking standard in China.

Its acquisition of the Rohde & Schwarz TETRA business in August 2011 further strengthened its competitive edge in TETRA market.

Hytera has established a global sales network with 30 branches in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Brazil and other territories and through  600+ partners across the world.

Hytera has an R & D team of over 1200 engineers in five research centres. Sepura won the Business Weekly Awards Business of the Year title in March after a record-breaking

2015 but hit liquidity problems this summer and has temporarily lost its CEO Gordon Watling to ill health.

http://www.businessweekly.co.uk/news/hi-tech/chinese-corporation-bids-acquire-sepura