Comms consolidation in the networked nation

VisionStream Pty Ltd

Wednesday, 11 November, 2015

Comms consolidation in the networked nation

Network consolidation will enable the most cost-effective use of critical network assets, improve consistency and ensure efficiency.

As technology evolves, the community's demand for more efficient and effective services increases. And none more so than the demand for more responsive and economically efficient outcomes from Australia's emergency response agencies.

State and federal governments across Australia, including first responders and public safety authorities, are faced with significant challenges around the capacity, coverage, efficiency and interoperability of their disparate networks.

Consolidation and upgrade of legacy communications networks is needed to reduce the number of operable sites, increase coverage and minimise operational costs.

For the end user, emergency responders, this means better coordination and interconnectivity than ever before, with access to rich, real-time information in and from the field.

State governments across the country are investing in the next generation of mission-critical infrastructure to reduce risk, eliminate unnecessary duplication and improve their communications networks. Earlier this year, NSW Telco Authority began consolidation of its government radio networks, a development echoed by Emergency Management Victoria as it moves to provide broadband data services and a resilient voice and narrowband network for all agencies. It is expected that other Australian states will follow suit, with similar investment plans.

Partnering for success

One of Australia's largest ICT network services companies, Visionstream, is helping to drive this innovation, leading the design and development of some of the country's largest mission-critical and communications networks across a wide range of fixed and wireless technologies.

Visionstream General Manager Communications Rupert Holloway believes consolidation efforts will enable the most cost-effective use of critical network assets, improve consistency and ensure efficiency of approach across the overall program — something that is not possible when individual networks are delivered by different vendors.

“Network consolidation is the next step in the evolution of mission-critical infrastructure. It not only ensures the efficient and cost-effective delivery of services, but more importantly, improves coordination and therefore improves community safety," he said.

“It will involve the coordination of key disciplines to provide an end-to-end turnkey approach, from strategic planning and network architecture, through to construction, configuration and network monitoring and maintenance."

Most recently, Visionstream supported Victoria's Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) under a PPP arrangement to deliver its market-leading Emergency Alerting System (EAS). The mission-critical messaging system provides on average over 80,000 pager messages during a busy month to 40,000 emergency services members of the Victorian CFA, SES and Ambulance services.

Originally constructed by Visionstream, the EAS is owned by the state of Victoria and comprises 224 transceiver sites providing pager coverage across over 98% of the state. Visionstream continues to manage the network and operates a 24/7, every-day-of-the-year Network Operations Centre (NOC) and call centre which monitors the network and sends paging messages.

“EAS was a flagship project for Visionstream and for Victoria," said Holloway.

“The scale of delivery and unique operational requirements required strategic collaboration with both ESTA and our network of project partners, providing significant project agility, to develop a state-of-the-art, whole-of-life solution," he added.

“The result has been a great outcome for the Victorian CFA, SES and Ambulance services, and the Victorian community as a whole, and we look forward to delivering these successes across other states."

Visionstream's Peter Humphreys, Executive Manager for Intelligent Infrastructure Networks, will speak at Comms Connect Melbourne at noon on 3 December, on the topic of the 'Challenges in rationalising government radio networks'. The company will also be taking part in the exhibition, on Stand 92.

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