ARCON Corporation is a small business with a high percentage of Ph.Ds that provides high-level engineering design, scientific research, and technical evaluation to government agencies and international customers. ARCON specializes in analyzing engineering systems, identifying problems, and formulating and implementing solutions. Our areas of expertise include air traffic control; tactical surveillance systems; digital voice communications; image processing; space surveillance; GPS navigation; sensor design; information fusion; atmospheric physics; atmospheric optics; complex electromagnetics and radar technology; and radiation and particle transport.
Federal Aviation Administration
ARCON's Air Traffic Systems division has maintained a relationship with the FAA....
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group has maintained a relationship with the NSA research group responsible for speech coding (R22) since the mid 1980s. NSA has provided the chairmanship to the DoD Digital Voice Processing Consortium (DDVPC) and its predecessor organizations since the selection of Linear Predictive Coding as a DoD standard in the 1970s. ARCON participated in the DDVPC as an Air Force technical consultant for many years. In 1996 ARCON was contracted by NSA to provide technical consultation and management of the DDVPC. In 2000 these responsibilities were extended to include technical consultation to NSA as the US national representative to the NATO SC/6 AdHoc Working Group 3 on Narrowband Voice Coding. This effort continues to the present day.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
DARPA is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD). It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions. The Advanced Technology Office (ATO) researches, demonstrates, and develops high payoff projects in maritime, communications, special operations, and information assurance and survivability mission areas. These projects support military operations throughout the spectrum of conflict. ATO adapts advanced technologies into military systems and also exploits emerging technologies for future programs. The ultimate goal is superior cost-effective systems the military can use to respond to new and emerging threats.
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group has provided technical consultation and T&E services to the DARPA/ATO Advanced Speech Coder program (ASE) from its Phase 1 effort through to the present day. ARCON has worked directly with the program management team providing expertise on subjective test metrics and methodologies. ARCON performed the testing for the ASE Phase 1 milestone decisions and provided analysis of the test results. ARCON has been chosen to provide corpus collection, test plan design, subjective testing and analysis for the ASE Phase 2 effort which is focused on an ultra low rate coder operating at 300bps.
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group provides technical consultation to the NATO Command Consultation and Control Board Communications Networks Subcommittee 6's Ad Hoc Working Group 3 (NC3B SC/6-AHWG/3). This AHWG was recently renamed Multimedia Conferencing from its previous name Narrow Band Voice Coder. This support is provided through an ARCON contract with NSA, the US DoD representative organization and chair of AHWG/3. Since 1999, ARCON has been heavily involved with this group in the selection and standardization of STANAG 4591 THE 1200 AND 2400 BIT/S NATO INTEROPERABLE NARROW BAND VOICE CODER.
The selection process for STANAG 4591 took place in two phases, which are now completed. These are followed by a validation phase involving communicability tests using real-time implementations of the selected voice coder. ARCON has been supporting this effort throughout all phases, providing the English language portion of the input speech database, performing and analyzing the Intelligibility, Quality and Speaker Recognizability tests in English, and the design of the selection criteria. Support will continue in the validation phase by conducting the communicability test and test bed developed at ARCON.
The SC/6-AHWG/3 is currently changing its direction from speech coding to multimedia conferencing and end-to-end network security. ARCON will continue to provide support to AHWG/3 through NSA.
The NATO C3 Agency (NC3A) is tasked by the NATO C3 Board (NC3B) to develop, procure and implement state of the art C3 capabilities for NATO and to provide unbiased scientific advice and support to NATO authorities. As such, the NC3A has acted as the contracting agency for the SC/6-AHWG/3 group for all efforts associated with the selection of STANAG4591. During the selection process, ARCON was contracted by the NC3A to provide Intelligibility, Quality and Speaker Recognizability testing services. ARCON is currently contracted by the NC3A to provide communicability testing of the selected STANAG4591 coder.
The NC3A is the repository for all data and computer code associated with STANAG4591.
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group maintained a relationship with the AFRL Communications Security Office at Hanscom AFB and its predecessor organizations AFCRL and Rome Laboratories from 1975 through 2000. At that time AFRL discontinued research efforts in low-rate speech coding. ARCON's efforts included real-time implementation of speech coders, development of T&E hardware and software systems, speech coder research, development of new subjective evaluation methodologies and research into the relationship between military acoustic noise environments and speech coders. In addition, ARCON participated in the selection and standardization of digital speech coders for the US Department of Defense.
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group has worked for many years with groups within the Naval Research Laboratory responsible for Digital Voice Coding. NRL has represented the US Navy in the DoD Digital Voice Processing Consortium (DDVPC) and its predecessors since the early 1970's. Through ARCON's work consulting for the USAF and later NSA within the DDVPC, ARCON has worked closely with NRL scientists on the T&E and selection of several DoD voice coder standards. In addition, ARCON has provided consultation in the area of Human Factors directly to NRL through the GSA schedule. ARCON has also collected acoustic noise and speech corpora for NRL. The acoustic noise platforms included a US Marine Urban Warfare scenario and locations aboard the USS Washington Aircraft Carrier. Conversational speech in noise corpora were provided to NRL for the DARPA SPINE 1 and SPINE 2 programs.
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International, Inc. - APCO International - is the world's oldest and largest not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications.
ARCON's involvement with APCO has been through APCO Project 25, an industry-wide effort to set the recommended voluntary standards of uniform digital two-way radio technology for public safety organizations. It (P25) is the standard for interoperable digital two-way wireless communications products and systems. This standard has been developed under state, local and federal government guidance and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) governance,
P25 is gaining worldwide
acceptance for public safety, security, public service, and commercial
applications. The published P25 standards suite is administered by the
TIA in their Mobile and Personal Private Radio Standards Committee
(TR-8). Equipment that demonstrates compliance with P25 is able to meet a
set of minimum requirements to fit the needs of public safety. These
include the ability to interoperate with other P25 equipment, for example
so that users on different systems can talk via direct radio contact. At a
minimum, a P25 radio system must provide interoperability with these two
mandatory P25 Standard interface components:
1. The Common Air Interface (CAI)
2. The Improved Multi-Band Excitation (IMBE) vocoder
These two components, when used together enable P25 users to interoperate and communicate digitally directly between units and across networks, agencies, and vendors.
While under contract to Rome Laboratory (USAF) in 1992, the Digital Speech Processing group at ARCON provided host laboratory, test laboratory and analysis capabilities to the initial APCO-25 Speech Coder Selection effort. This effort also included the collection of acoustic noise recordings from environments typical of the APCO-25 application. These environments included firefighter, police and emergency medical situations. This material was incorporated into the selection process. This effort resulted in the selection of the IMBE coder as an APCO-25 Standard. ARCON later worked with TIA TR-8 - APCO25 to provide for the distribution of these materials to interested parties.
ETSI is an independent, non-profit organization, whose mission is to produce telecommunications standards for today and for the future. ETSI is officially responsible for the standardization of Information and Communication Technologies within Europe. The GSM wireless telephone network within Europe is an example of ETSI's ability to bring together diverse commercial interests in the standardization process,
The Digital Speech Processing group at ARCON has worked closely with the ETSI STC SMG11 committee on the standardization of voice coders for the GSM system. In the summer of 1998 ARCON received a request to provide the Host Laboratory function for the initial Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR) coder selection effort. ARCON has continued its involvement with ETSI and has provided Host Lab services for the AMR characterization effort, the AMR Wide Band coder selection and the AMR Noise Suppression selection.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaborative Agreement between Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and other related bodies for the production of a complete set of globally applicable Technical Specifications and Reports for a 3G System. The current SDQs are ARIB, CCSA, ETSI, ATIS, TTA, and TTC.
The original scope of 3GPP was to produce globally applicable Technical Specifications and Technical Reports for a 3rd Generation Mobile System based on evolved GSM core networks and the radio access technologies that they support (i.e., Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA) both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) modes). The scope was subsequently amended to include the maintenance and development of the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) Technical Specifications and Technical Reports including evolved radio access technologies (e.g. General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE)). The 3GPP standardization committees took over much of the responsibilities of the groups within ESTI in which ARCON was active. The 3GPP working group that ARCON has remained active in is the Technical Specification Group - Services & Systems Aspects - Working Group 4 Coders (TSG SA WG4).
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group was directly involved in 3GPP's characterization of the ETSI Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR) narrow band coder acting as Host Laboratory, one of the Test Laboratories and as the Global Analysis Laboratory. ARCON also provided Host and Test Lab functions for the AMR Wide Band extension characterization project for 3GPP. In 2003 ARCON performed a communicability test for 3GPP on the AMR coder under VoIP conditions.
TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop voluntary industry standards for a wide variety of telecommunications products.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is the leading U.S. non-profit trade association serving the communications and information technology industry, with proven strengths in market development, trade shows, domestic and international advocacy, standards development and enabling e-business. Through its worldwide activities, the association facilitates business development opportunities and a competitive market environment. TIA provides a market-focused forum for its member companies, which manufacture or supply the products and services used in global communications.
ARCON's involvement with TIA has been through two Standards committees, TR-45 and TR-8 -APCO25. Within TR-45 ARCON has worked with two subcommittees TR45.3 and TR-45.5,
TR-45 Mobile and Personal Communications Systems Standards, provides performance, compatibility, inter-operability, and service standards for mobile and personal communications systems. These standards pertain to, but are not restricted to, service information, wireless terminal equipment, wireless base station equipment, wireless switching office equipment, ancillary apparatus, auxiliary applications, inter-network and inter-system operations and interfaces.
Subcommittee TR-45.3 Time Division Digital Technology - Mobile and Personal Communications Standards, is assigned the authority to develop performance, compatibility, and inter-operability standards for equipment that makes use of Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technology for radio access in a system that supports any combination of international, public, non-public, or residential mobile and personal communications. These standards pertain to service definition, wireless mobile station equipment, wireless base station equipment, ancillary apparatus, as covered by applicable Parts of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rules.
The scope of subcommittee TR-45.5 Spread Spectrum Digital Technology - Mobile and Personal Communications Standards is the consideration of Spread Spectrum Digital Technologies and the development of such wireless standards within, and in concert with the scope of the TR-45 Committee. It has the authority to develop performance, compatibility and interoperability standards for Spread Spectrum Digital wireless access systems that support any combination of international, public, non-public, or residential mobile and personal communications. These standards apply to service definition, mobile and portable station equipment, base station equipment, ancillary apparatus, as covered by applicable Parts of the FCC Rules.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is international organization within the United Nations System where governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services. The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) is one of the three Sectors of the ITU. Its mission is to ensure an efficient and on-time production of high quality standards (Recommendations) covering all fields of telecommunications.
The Digital Speech Processing group at ARCON was worked closely with two of the Standards groups within the ITU-T, SG16 Multimedia services, systems and terminals and SG12 End-to-end transmission performance of networks and terminals.
ARCON provides Listening Lab, Host Lab, and Global Analysis services to the ITU-T in qualification, selection and validation test efforts of digital speech processing algorithms.
Colleges & Universitiesexpand
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group has worked closely with the Speech Group at Lincoln Laboratory since the 1980's. ARCON's relationship with the USAF Comsec Engineering Office coincided with LL's contractual work for the same group. ARCON provided LL with T&E services for speech coder development through the USAF. A direct effort with LL for the collection of a conversational speech in noise corpus was conducted in 1997. A three way program between Motorola, LL and ARCON was conducted for the USAF to generate a Secure Voice Conference Capability using the LL Sine wave Transform Coder (STC), Motorola hardware and ARCON control algorithms. This required close cooperation between ARCON and LL since ARCON's responsibility included the real-time coding of the algorithms. ARCON contracted with LL to provide the DARPA ASE Phase 1 Speech Corpus working very closely on issues of corpus design, sensor optimization and human subjects issues. ARCON continues to work closely with the LL Speech Group as both are part of the DARPA ASE Phase 2 government team.
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group worked closely with CAIP and their partner Sarnoff Laboratory during the DAPRA ASE Phase 1 program. ARCON provided CAIP with advice on the setup of an Intelligibility test capability. This facility was then used for the evaluation of their ASE coder candidate during its development.
ARCON's Digital Speech Processing group work closely with the WPI Electrical Engineering Department during their involvement with the DARPA ASE Phase 1 program. This effort enabled the group to collect speech data in a simulated acoustic noise environment from a small number of talkers using multiple sensors. The sensors include the WPI developed Glottal Transfer Electromagnetic Resonator (GTEM) sensor. This effort allowed WPI to have a speech corpus that was traceable to the ASE Pilot Corpus.