So you have voice comms, now what?

Thursday, 03 September, 2020

Modern TETRA radios are capable of much more than voice communications. Organisations operating large mining, heavy industrial or utilities sites have a need to keep staff safe in dangerous environments, while best managing extensive resources and maintaining efficient operations.

By deploying a range of bespoke applications, designed around the needs of mission-critical users, organisations can enable automated features which can play an important role in improving staff safety and enhancing operational efficiency.

Example: GeoSmart Application

This solution can be used to automate essential tasks with the benefit of increasing staff safety and helping to ensure continuous communication. The application can be initiated by one of several triggers within digitally mapped zones. These could be geofences, Bluetooth beacons or an action from within the radio, such as a loss of signal or a received message.

Once the application is triggered, the radio automatically carries out a pre-determined action. As an example, the radio losing signal when moving to an underground location could trigger a switch from TMO to DMO mode, ensuring constant communication is maintained. Similarly, passing a Bluetooth beacon and entering a specific operational area such as a blast zone could trigger the radio to switch to a different talk group, or initiate a warning alarm to the wearer.

By employing digital zones, fleet administrators can ensure that their teams are constantly in communication with the right teams at the right time, and their status can be constantly monitored.

Example: Crash Alert Application

This application immediately alerts the control room when a vehicle is involved in a crash and automatically sends critical data to emergency response teams and nearby colleagues. This would typically include the GPS location and time of the incident, the vehicle and staff IDs. It can also be configured to add additional detail, such as whether hazardous materials are being carried.

By automating the emergency response, the application ensures that emergency response can be initiated as quickly as possible, with accurate information.

TETRA systems can also be used a hub to join mission critical systems together. By using the radio’s Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity to connect to additional devices or data sources, organisations can use the TETRA network to carry mission critical or operational information to the control room. This has the advantage of reducing operational costs while giving control room staff full operational oversight.

Example: SDS Alert over Wi-Fi

Rather than employing a second device, for example a less-robust smartphone, organisations can connect TETRA radios to secure site Wi-Fi to enable emergency messages to be sent direct to fleet radios. This is particularly relevant in heavy industrial, utilities or mining environments which may have locations where radio signal is not available. Examples include transport tunnels, underground locations or remote sections of a site. The ability to reach all staff using a simple SDS message could be a life-critical factor in an emergency situation.

Example: Failed Call Reporter

This is particularly relevant for sites such as open cut mining, where the size and shape of the site and key focus areas for resource deployment may change over time. The application works in the background to record and log incidents of where and when calls have failed — this could be because of coverage dead spots, low network capacity, network faults or user error.

By using this application organisations can ensure that faults can be investigated and fixed quickly, meaning that during operational periods full communication capability is maintained, with all the advantages that this brings.

An aerial view of an open cut mine

A large mining site can include remote areas or underground tunnels where radio signal does not reach. Using Sepura applications, organisations can monitor and rectify black spots in the network and use alternative methods for ensuring emergency messages reach staff.

Finally, by using wireless programming tools, organisations can remotely upgrade or update their radio fleet with vital tools or information at a time that suits their operation. By using a secure Wi-Fi connection to upgrade the radios, there is no need for radios to be by physically connected to the programming device. Fleets of radios can be updated at a set time without needing to take personal and vehicle radios out of service, and without interrupting ongoing communications. This reduces the administrative burden for fleet operators, increasing their efficiency by freeing up their resources. Radios can remain in service while updates are being downloaded, and updates can include license files, images, talk group changes or updates to AppSPACE application.

Sepura have extensive experience of deploying powerful, bespoke communications solutions such as these to support organisations with mission critical requirements. Our solutions increase staff safety, improve emergency response and enhance everyday operations and are used by many mining and heavy industrial organisations throughout Australia and around the world. Our SC Series hand held and mobile radios are application and wireless programming ready, enabling organisations to quickly add powerful solutions build around their specific needs.

To find out more, visit

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