Overcoming Licence Availability in London with Wide Area Radio Communication Serviceearsman
A Tait Tier III system using Band III offers the solution to the challenge of licence availability and provides EARS’ courier client with a future-proof solution.
EARS’ client is a large ground transport company based in London, offering courier and taxi services, that moves over 10 million people each year, with expanding operations in the UK and worldwide.
This growing company, which has been a clients of EARS two-way radio leasing for more than 15 years, was using an analogue system supporting over 180 radios to coordinate its bike couriers. Whilst reliable, this analogue system offered limited capabilities to expand coverage of the system due to a lack of available UHF spectrum in London. When the company also made the decision to relocate their head office to a building with restrictions on roof top aerials this prompted a total review of the solution.
Being a forward-looking company and ready to embrace relevant new technologies, the client was looking for an innovative solution to the challenges they faced in ensuring a robust communication solution together with any additional potential benefits, including health and safety and future proofing of the system.
EARS’ client wanted greater coverage but couldn’t achieve that on the UHF frequency that they were currently using. UHF frequencies in London can be hard to come by but there are licences available in Band III and are often less expensive than UHF licences. Band III, is at the top of the VHF spectrum but just below UHF and offers the best of both worlds – superior coverage to UHF in rural areas and good operation in built up areas, where VHF is generally less suitable.
Taking advantage of Tait technology and working with support from Logic Wireless, EARS designed a Tait Tier III multi-site system using Crosswire, an IP based despatch and radio management platform for their client. This removed the need for roof top aerials on the new building and traditional desktop radios for the central controllers. The Crosswire software despatch and radio management system currently allows up to eight controllers to independently coordinate and monitor the radio users.
There were several benefits in using Tier III in this application:
1. Tier III makes more effective use of the available frequency spectrum than analogue or Digital DMR Tier II due to the fact that the system dynamically allocates channels to each user for the duration of each call. On a busy system, this significantly improves channel availability for radio users and maximises the available channel capacity. For a courier company with high call and voice traffic rates this has proven to be a big advantage and provides greater assurance for the users and controllers of being able to make and receive calls.
2. Tier III brings significant health and safety benefits over and above conventional analogue or DMR Tier II systems. The Tait radios have an emergency alert button which allows the user to alert a controller in the event of an emergency situation. If GPS is available in the radio units, individual location data can be sent back to a central controller to identify position of users on a map using the Crosswire system. This is useful for tracking purposes but also particularly important in an emergency situation. Unlike Tier II systems Tier III uses a dedicated data channel to report back GPS information to ensure that voice channels are not affected.
In the event of an incident Tier III offers priority on emergency calling and the potential for a designated accident or incident controller to take control and broadcast to all users, certain groups or individual users depending on their priority level. This level of control is not available in non Tier III systems
4. The Tait Tier III system allows for remote monitoring and configuration which means that operators can access the system even if they are not in the coverage area, offering clear benefits for business continuity. It also means that EARS can carry out regular maintenance checks and upgrades quickly and cost effectively providing the best support to their client.
5. The Tait Tier III system is very scalable allowing organisations to easily expand the system in the future. Because Tier III is much more efficient than analogue and DMR Tier II systems in the use of available channel capacity, generally less infrastructure is required to expand the system in future when adding additional voice capacity.
A key advantage of the Tait TP9310 DMR used in this system is the audio quality. The radios are equipped with enhanced digital audio technology that ensures voice communications are clear even in noisy environments. The Tait TB 9315 base stations are engineered to provide enhanced RF performance giving greater coverage and resilience in communications.
Crosswire is flexible, easy to use and ideally suited to this application. In addition to meeting the client’s key requirement for an IP based radio despatch solution, Crosswire has provided a number of additional benefits which have helped to improve communications, safety and operational efficiency for the client. These include:
Voice recording – All incoming and outgoing communications are recorded – This is extremely useful for auditing and training purposes and allows operators to quickly playback a missed call if they are away from their desk.
Call Queuing – The Tait radios can be programmed with an assignable key to alert the central controllers that they wish to be placed in a queue for call back if an operator is not available. The queue is displayed on the controllers Crosswire screens to allow them to prioritise calls and see who is awaiting a call back.
Emergency alerting – The Crosswire system together with the Tait portables allows individual radio users to alert central control in the event of an emergency.
Personalised User Interface – Each despatch operator can personalise their view of the system according to their own specific requirements and radio groups or individuals they are responsible for.
An Industry First
The Tait system that EARS have supplied is unique in London for this industry. It is the first Band III Tait Tier III system using Crosswire IP despatch, providing this level of technological advancement.