Integrated comms for big projects


Monday, 11 June, 2018

Integrated comms for big projects

Modern, large-scale infrastructure projects demand next-generation communications solutions.

As the scale of infrastructure projects grows in Australia, there is an integral need to ensure critical communications remain reliable between vastly spread out job sites and teams, above and below ground.

Some of Australia’s biggest-ever public transport projects are currently happening in New South Wales, with the NSW Government spending billions of dollars to create the ‘30-minute city’. The scale of these projects requires next-generation, secure and innovative communications networks that can transcend traditional ground-level barriers.

The mining industry has used holistic technology for years to keep its surface and traverse teams in check. What we haven’t seen in Australia, until recently, is a complete radio system integration during an infrastructure construction project, allowing for a central point of command to be able to view and track its entire fleet, no matter where they are.

Undisrupted workflows and meeting delivery timelines are essential elements to successful tendering for infrastructure companies. Those not in the radio industry will never know that the background thread which keeps our society moving is a virtual, two-way radio one — Where are my staff? What is happening on job site A? Did the delivery make it on time? Have we evacuated everyone?

The safety of contractors relies heavily on reliable, undisrupted communications between site supervisors and central command stations. For many years there has been a discontinuity in the system, holding back the fluid nature of what total fleet communications should be. When separate communications channels have been used between above- and below-ground sites, or inexpensive or faulty radios have been sourced, there have been massive financial and reputational implications for construction companies.

Not only that, accountability was a throwaway term as no tracking was available below ground.

So, how can Australian infrastructure companies take control of their entire fleet?

Australian-based solutions provider Mastercom has recently been brought in by the contracting group for one of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects to solve this problem.

“We were approached by the contractors for a multibillion-dollar infrastructure project and asked to supply and install a reliable, centrally controlled communications system,” said Mastercom’s Sales Manager Robert Glover.

Mastercom’s technical team made the innovative decision to integrate Motorola’s MOTOTRBO Capacity Max to solve this problem.

“Mastercom is the first company to integrate Capacity Max above and below ground on a large-scale transport project,” said Glover.

“We’ve taken the initiative to use beacons in the tunnels so command can see exactly where their people are. This kind of data is integral to fleet management, allowing for monitoring and activation from one point, rather than segmenting project communications.”

“Segmented communications creates disharmony within the communications chain, and also disallows a central point to make quick and efficient decisions which keep the project moving,” added Mastercom Technical Manager Spiro Mavroidis.

Mastercom chose the Capacity Max trunked radio system due to its multiple redundancy layers, centralised system management software, encrypted IP network and radio authentication, and user ability to command infrastructure, devices and talk groups.

The way Mastercom integrated Capacity Max on such a large scale is indicative of the company’s forward-thinking approach. The company will later this year celebrate 50 years of service to the Australian radio industry.

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