The Mall of America (MOA) is the largest mall in the United States, located in Bloomington, Minnesota. Every year close to 42 million people visit its restaurants (50+), stores (520), the nation’s largest indoor theme park and much more. And it’s only going to grow, with plans to add a water park, major hotel and office buildings.
Because the safety of visitors and staff is a top priority, MOA sought to upgrade their communications to strengthen security and streamline operations. At 96 acres and over 12,000 employees, the scale of MOA presents significant communication challenges.
“We operate like a municipality,” explains Chad Martin, Communications Manager for MOA Security. “There are many moving pieces, from security and engineering to housekeeping and grounds keeping, and everything goes through our centralised command centre. We all must communicate with each other, and the primary means is our radio system.”
Eliminate interference, static and dead zones
Like many operations with older analogue radio systems, MOA was experiencing persistent coverage and frequency issues. Also, the mall has four levels, concrete, with many parking ramps and service corridors. Employees were interrupted by interference and loud static blasts over their analogue radios. Certain areas of the massive mall were punctuated by dead zones, forcing employees to walk to another location to communicate on their radios or use personal cell phones. Radio users could hear unrelated people on their channels.
After carefully evaluating options, they selected Motorola’s MOTOTRBO digital two-way radio system as the perfect fit for their diverse departments, many users and super-size footprint.
Added capabilities a major benefit
As Martin describes, one of the greatest benefits of MOTOTRBO is the added capabilities that weren’t possible before.
“The caller ID seems like a small feature, but it really does makes a difference,” he says. “Previously when our dispatchers communicated with multiple departments with analogue radios, they may not have known who was calling. Because the MOTOTRBO digital system identifies the radio user, it definitely improves our response and efficiency.”
MOTOTRBO’s transmit interrupt is a critical feature MOA relies on to send out priority transmissions. If someone is talking, they can immediately break into radio traffic and convey information instantly. Group calling is of real benefit for reaching the right personnel at the right moment.
“Our security teams operate on several different channels and there are times where we want to talk to them all at once,” says Martin. “We can flip to a channel and broadcast a description or send out important information to a specific group and not do a fleet wide announcement to every radio.”
Read more in the MOTOTRBO Mall of America Case Study.