XE500 Remote Speaker Microphone

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  • 2018

  • Product Design
    Commercial and Industrial

Designed By:

  • Motorola Solutions Innovation Design Team
  • Motorola Solutions Design Engineering Team

Commissioned By:

Motorola Solutions

Designed In:

United States of America

The XE500 Remote Speaker Microphone is a rugged interface for a two-way radio and is intended for use in extreme environments such as firefighting and emergency services. Designed for heat exposure and submersibility it enables vital communication in extreme conditions.


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  • Designers were challenged to create a function driven aesthetic which would resonate with the rugged, mission critical nature of a dedicated user group. This solution needed to address not only the durability and heat resistance specifications demanded in firefighting but also the need for improved usability and safety. Before any concepts were defined team members took several opportunities to conduct interviews, site visits, ride-alongs, and hands-on fire training with firefighters. Such experiences served as effective guides for the development of the XE500 RSM.

  • The asymmetrical shape and contrasting controls serve to orient and guide the user to intuitive control locations. By thinking about controls in a more three-dimensional sense, designers were able to get beyond a nondescript “box with buttons” and create a distinctive landscape of recognizable forms. Other features such as the strobe, unique impact green color, protected PTT and emergency button all resulted directly from experiencing the firefighting environment. End users have responded with statements like “This was designed specifically for us, not just adapted from some other device. “Now this is for firefighters,” and simply, “You listened to us!”

  • The fire industry was thought of for many years as not warranting the attention to develop specialty product solutions. Devices adapted from other disciplines, such as police equipment, were deemed “good enough” to serve this industry known for tight budgets and abuse to equipment. This device has become an iconic symbol of purpose built preparedness in the industry and is now demanded by customers as a vital necessity for safety and productivity. This newly emerged expectation has benefited the client by creating a reliable category and further sales opportunities with Fire Agencies.

  • -The large push-to-talk button and an extra-large emergency button, which illuminates orange when activated, are easy to find, but protected to avoid accidental activation. -Designed to withstand heat exposure of 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) for up to five minutes and an IP68 (2m, 4 hours) submersibility rating to allow communication in extreme conditions. -Five integrated microphones and an Adaptive Audio Engine automatically changes the level of noise suppression, microphone gain, wind porting, and speaker equalization to produce clear and loud audio in any environment. Firefighters frequently experience “situational disability” as they respond to emergency incidents. High noise, smoke, dirt, water, and heavy protective clothing contribute to this condition as the ability to hear, see and operate equipment is severely diminished. Designers were challenged to create an audio and visual lifeline which enables firefighters to communicate clearly and effectively in spite of their harsh environment. The importance of the culture and tradition of firefighting also emerged as a significant factor during the research phase of this program. Users demanded a purpose built device for their unique application. Firefighters were clearly ready for their own specific microphone, not merely adapted solutions from other groups such as police or military.