Uncovering the truth behind these 4 Bluetooth microphone myths
Your department can benefit from the safety and convenience of Bluetooth microphones
Sponsored by Earphone Connection
By Courtney Levin, Police1 BrandFocus Staff
Law enforcement officers rely on clear communication to do their jobs efficiently, effectively and safely. As technology has advanced to provide new ways of communicating while on the job, not every solution has been well-received. Officers who have tried Bluetooth devices in the past may have experienced frustration, but today’s equipment is a far cry from older options.
Overcoming many of the fears surrounding the use of Bluetooth devices on the job is the Nighthawk microphone and radio adapter by Earphone Connection. Designed to be smaller than a traditional device without the nuisance of wires, it provides a reliable and more convenient option for law enforcement officers.
Initially developed in 2009, today’s current model of the Nighthawk is the ideal solution for officers who are skeptical of Bluetooth use.
“Throughout this process, we've done a better job in eliminating that fear with better technology,” said Ruben Scheimberg, owner of Earphone Connection. “Technology is evolving, the chipset is evolving, so we are always working to make great strides to improve the product.”
If you’ve previously tried a Bluetooth microphone and weren’t impressed, you may have experienced some of the following issues. The Nighthawk, however, solves these problems and puts these four myths in the past.
MYTH #1. COMMUNICATION THROUGH BLUETOOTH ISN’T SECURE
The ease of Bluetooth connectivity appears as a double-edged sword with many in law enforcement questioning its level of security. The information a cop communicates via microphone is often sensitive or confidential, but the Nighthawk has several features which can put these concerns to rest.
The ability of an individual to connect to a police radio and eavesdrop on communication is highly reduced thanks to the encryption of the Nighthawk microphone. This encryption applies an algorithm to incoming and outgoing communication, preventing others from being able to intercept your data. The device sits only 18 to 20 inches away from the Bluetooth radio adapter, adding another layer of protection.
“If the microphone was 30 feet from the radio, then yes, I could see a concern,” said Scheimberg. “As far as someone eavesdropping and interfering on the radio – that’s just not a reality.”
Discretion can be difficult to maintain with a traditional wired microphone, another challenge that the Nighthawk has overcome through its design. Instead of sensitive information being transmitted for anyone in earshot to hear via speaker, the Nighthawk uses an earpiece that fits securely into an officer’s ear.
Made from soft silicone that nearly instantly adapts to your ear, the Fin Ultra ear tips reduce ear fatigue and come in three sizes. They can be worn underneath ear protection on the firing range or in tactical situations.
MYTH #2. HEARING CLEARLY USING BLUETOOTH IS DIFFICULT
In a high-risk situation, it’s critical to be able to receive communication clearly and quickly. Older Bluetooth technology had a reputation of disconnecting without notice and often imparting significant latency.
Bluetooth technology has come a long way since its early days, and each advancement has benefited the functionality of the Nighthawk. Better filters along with improved digital noise processing, says Scheimberg, have been integrated into the wireless microphone, ensuring a connection that officers can count on.
Device placement can also impact the clarity of communication when using any Bluetooth microphone, including the Nighthawk. It’s recommended that officers place their radio on their hip or their front to allow the best connection between the Nighthawk and the Bluetooth adapter. When an officer’s radio is placed behind them, says Scheimberg, connectivity can be more challenging.
MYTH #3. MY BLUETOOTH DEVICES RUN OUT OF BATTERY QUICKLY
Early adopters of Bluetooth technology may remember that these devices tended to use a tremendous amount of battery life. If it wasn’t the Bluetooth equipment itself going dead quickly, it was the device it was connected to.
As smartphones and other electronic accessories aimed to reduce their size, the battery size of these items also became smaller. The Nighthawk microphone has overcome this issue despite offering a compact design.
“We made it so our products will last 12 to 14 hours on a single charge,” said Scheimberg. Earphone Connection uses a Bluetooth Low Energy chip to allow for 12 hours of talk time and up to 150 hours of standby time. In the event you do need to recharge the Nighthawk mid-shift, it comes with a USB adapter for mobile use.
MYTH #4. I’M LIMITED TO PAIRING ONLY ONE DEVICE AT A TIME WITH BLUETOOTH
While most Bluetooth communications are limited when it comes to connectivity, Earphone Connection’s Bluetooth adapter integrates dual-link connectivity.
“A radio that has a built-in Bluetooth chip only allows one device to be paired at a time,” said Scheimberg. “You couldn't pair a Bluetooth microphone and a wireless button to the radio - it's either one or the other. With our adapter, you can pair both of those devices.”
Officers who regularly require a hands-free way to communicate appreciate this wireless button, an accessory that’s available for use with the Nighthawk. The remote PTT button can be attached to your steering wheel, pistol grip or placed around your finger depending on your needs.
The Nighthawk can be used as a standalone option for FirstNet and other Push-to-Talk over cellular apps. It’s important to note that officers will experience the best results when they pair the Nighthawk with the Bluetooth adapter by Earphone Connection, even if their radio already houses a Bluetooth chip.
MAKING YOUR JOB EASIER
While some law enforcement officers prefer wired devices, the Nighthawk microphone’s features are above and beyond what a wired option can provide. In addition to greater discretion and dual-link connectivity, there’s another benefit that cannot be overlooked.
“The greatest advantage of going wireless is the freedom from the big wire that wraps from your shoulder to your radio,” said Scheimberg. He notes that it’s a huge liability if it gets caught during a foot pursuit and, in some cases, has been used by an assailant to choke an officer.
Providing a safe and secure way to communicate, the Nighthawk microphone and radio adapter feature the latest in Bluetooth technology. With its long-lasting battery and optional PTT remote switch, the Nighthawk is a great choice for departments looking for reliable wireless communication.
Visit Earphone Connection for more information.