Race radio - Grand Prix comms

Simoco Wireless Solutions Pty Ltd
Wednesday, 24 September, 2014

More than 1000 rented radios keep participants, organisers and spectators safe and secure during the Australian Grand Prix.

The Australian Grand Prix is the longest-running motor racing competition in Australia, having been held 79 times since it was first run at Phillip Island in 1928. Since 1985, the race has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship and is currently staged in Melbourne, where it is contracted to remain until at least 2015.

The annual event is held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, a street circuit that winds around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of the CBD.

In a communications-critical event like the Grand Prix, the reliability of equipment is essential. With crowds of over 300,000 attending over the race weekend and cars travelling up to 360 km/h, organisers need a system that enables them to communicate with team members, race marshals, security staff, cleaners and caterers to ensure the safety and smooth running of the event.

The day-to-day operation of the event involves many groups of users with specific communication requirements. The Grand Prix needs an interoperable digital radio system to achieve reliable communication across the entire site, meeting the needs of operational staff and contractors.

Radio equipment has to be able to support the control and coordination of the race and ensure the safety of drivers, spectators and event staff. It needs to work 100% of the time, too - especially outdoors when there are variable factors like the weather.

Simoco has built a reputation for providing critical communications solutions to large-scale public venues and events and has supplied custom rental solutions to the Australian Grand Prix since 1997.

Simoco worked closely with Grand Prix event organisers to provide a private communications infrastructure that offers extra capabilities such as enabling radio users to coordinate a rapid response and ensuring that emergency services had access to communications should a critical situation arise during an event.

Following a comprehensive consultation, Simoco’s digital mobile radio (DMR) network, Simoco Xd, was identified as the solution.

DMR is a digital radio standard specified for professional mobile radio (PMR) users developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

Simoco Xd Trunked DMR radio is a complete end-to-end, standards-compliant DMR system, with both DMR Tier II (conventional) and Tier III (trunking) modes of operation. The system offers scalability, resilience and simplicity through a switchless IP distributed architecture, removing the need for costly core network equipment and easing installation and maintenance.

Simoco developed a custom rental package involving the supply of over 1000 portable radios, mobiles and accessories as well as a multiple-site infrastructure radio system for added resilience. Covering the 5.3 km circuit, Simoco’s Xd DMR network ensures there is fast, consistent access to communication for all event staff. Plus, should a single base station channel fail, communications would continue for all staff via alternative channels across the site.

Simoco Xd offers increased call capacity built on an IP backbone and provides reliable coverage right to the edge of the signal range - an important factor for public safety and efficient operational management at the Grand Prix. The trunked radio solution offers a number of benefits for the race track including dynamic allocation of channels to allow simultaneous calls for multiple user groups, thus eliminating queuing.

Simoco’s rental division continues to play a critical role in the Australian Grand Prix every year. By renting the DMR equipment, the organisers of the Grand Prix are able to effectively manage and control their critical communications across the circuit, which is fundamental to the overall visitor experience. Grand Prix personnel benefit from the most up-to-date technology with the latest in open digital radio standards and secure, guaranteed wide area coverage with crisp and clear reception. The organisers and contractors also have access to 24/7 technical support in the event of any problems with equipment.

“The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix plays out on a world stage to a massive audience, both at the venue and in terms of global viewers,” says the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s Engineering Manager, Craig Moca. “It’s critical that organisers and contractors are able to communicate with team members, race marshals, security staff and other workers to ensure that the event runs safely and successfully.

“The fact that Simoco provides a reliable rental radio solution means that companies involved with the event can access high-quality communications equipment on a short-term basis,” adds Moca.

Simoco offers rental two-way radio solutions services that include short- and long-term rental contracts, casual rental and rental with purchase options. Its rental fleet is accessible nationwide and is supported by its offices, which are located across Australia. This means organisations who hire rented communications are able to benefit from true manufacturer-level technical support.

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