Motorola Solutions Introduces APX NEXT™ XN Portable Fire Radio Designed to Withstand New Extreme Heat and Immersion Standards

The company conducts extensive research with firefighters and designs radios to meet their unique needs.

By Alan M. Petrillo

Motorola Solutions has brought out its newest radio for firefighters, the APX NEXT™ XN, part of its APX NEXT portfolio of next generation Project 25 (P25) radios that incorporate data applications for enhanced situational awareness.

Jon Touvannas, director of product management for Motorola Solutions, says the company conducts extensive research with firefighters, learning about the extreme heat, little visibility, and deafening noise they face in emergency situations, and designs radios to meet their unique needs. Touvannas notes that like Motorola’s APX NEXT XE radio, the APX NEXT XN “combines mission-critical communications with broadband applications that provide essential information to help firefighters respond to an emergency.”

Motorola Solutions has introduced the APX NEXT™ XN fire radio that’s designed to withstand new extreme heat and immersion standards. (Photos 1-2 courtesy of Motorola Solutions.)

The radio includes interactive maps with firefighter locations to coordinate response, multimedia messaging to share pictures and videos, GPS location information that updates every few seconds to enhance firefighter safety, and features ViQi™ Voice Control, which enables users to control their radio through simple and intuitive voice command.

Scott Alazraki, senior manager of product planning for Motorola Solutions, points out that the APX NEXT XN passes several specific tests for heat and water immersion. “The radio was heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for 15 minutes, and then immersed in five feet of water at room temperature for 15 minutes,” Alazraki says. “The test was then repeated six times, and then the radio was examined for quality levels of speech and levels of radio operation, which it surpassed.”

The new APX NEXT XN fire radio features ViQi™ Voice Control, which enables users to control their radio through simple, intuitive voice commands.

Alazraki says the prior drop and impact test was at a four-foot drop, but the APX NEXT XN faced a 10-foot drop onto concrete when exposed to minus-four degrees F and 160 degrees F temperatures. “From a height of 10 feet, the radio was dropped on all its faces, one edge, and one corner, and passed the test,” he notes. “For the high temperature test, the radio was heated for five minutes in a 500-degree F oven and then tested for speech quality. Also, for the heat and flame test, the radio was exposed to a direct flame of 1,500 to 2,100 degrees F for 10 seconds. It’s companion speaker microphone, the XVN500, passed the same tests, as did the antenna, knobs, and other elements that make up the radio.”

The APX NEXT XN radio uses a SmartLocate function that delivers high-efficiency, high-precision location data of the radio; SmartMapping, which allows a mapping app to run on the device; a SmartMessaging app that allows the firefighter to receive information and images on the unit’s display screen; and Bluetooth capability to allow the radio to link to a SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) mask. Touvannas notes that the new platform brings the broadband LTE (Long-Term Evolution) standard to the LMR (Land Mobile Radio) standard to meet the most stringent fire standards for speed and mapping capabilities.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.

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