In every industry, all aspects of business are improved by better communication. The transport industry is no exception, depending on superior communication networks to meet primary objectives: excellent passenger experience; higher service punctuality and reliability; safety for all employees and customers; and maximised operational efficiency. This is especially true in times of emergency or serious disruption, when the reliability of the communications infrastructure is critical.
Enabling everyone to talk to anyone
To achieve seamless communication, all workers need the ability to talk to each other, whether they are security staff, deskbound computer aided dispatch (CAD) operators or working directly with customers at the departure gate or on the platform.
Push-to-talk (PTT) capability between workers, regardless of device or network, is the key to seamless communication. WAVE Work Group Communications is a solution that enables teams to communicate instantly, reliably and productively by turning almost any smart phone, tablet, desktop phone, PC or handheld mobile computer into a PTT communications device.
WAVE delivers interoperability by connecting your entire workforce to a single communications platform. For example, computer aided dispatch (CAD) operators can access the network via their desktop, security guards via their two-way digital radios, managers on smart phones and other team members via a tablet.
The potential benefits of interoperability are significant for all forms of transport, such as bus companies, airports, ferries and rail systems. These benefits have already been experienced by a number of transport organisations, including in Australia and New Zealand.
- Device of choice and best suited to the taskWith WAVE, staff use the device best suited to the task at hand. Security staff using two-way radios can be contacted by anyone in the organisation for a rapid response. Managers can maintain an overview of network activity and talk groups on a smart phone, stepping in where required. CAD operators, the central hub of the business, can communicate with any other worker. Customer-facing staff can update passengers and improve their experience with access to real-time and accurate information without leaving the customer’s side to seek more information.
Transdev Australasia is a leading public transport company which includes buses, ferries, heavy rail, light rail and industrial services. Transdev workers are very mobile, yet they still need to communicate with workers for whom the two-way radio is not their device of choice. WAVE is fully integrated with the network, allowing Transdev to bring in supervisors on broadband devices. For example, during special events, onsite supervisors are often used to better manage crowds and to assist with the smooth flow of buses, yet they use smart phones and other devices. Using WAVE means that everyone – bus drivers on two-way radios and supervisors on smart phones – can communicate quickly and easily.
At Christchurch International Airport Ltd, the WAVE3000 application provides constant contact with radio users and enables management to stay abreast of developments as they happen, particularly evacuations.
Using WAVE, British Airways now has the opportunity to operate a mixed estate of devices without impairing functionality.
- Extended coverageThe Canadian Pacific Police Service (CPPS) oversees the safety and security of the Canadian Pacific Railway, a 14,000-mile rail network that runs from Vancouver to the Montreal and into major rail hubs in the US.
CPPS needed a push-to-talk solution that covered the entire length of their operations; however, no broadband carrier provided service across all of the territory the railroad traversed. CPPS needed a solution that would provide efficient, reliable communications across the many miles – and networks – in its coverage area.
The Canadian Pacific Police Service stays connected across 14,000 miles of rail and multiple commercial carriers with WAVE’s broadband PTT platform.
- CollaborationStaff who require access to talk groups can do so from their desktops without the need to invest in two-way radios. Talk groups are created according to function or team and not limited to purely two-way radio users.
“Bringing everyone together under one umbrella, everyone will be able to work with each other. It’s more cooperation, you get things done faster. You can move trains faster — that’s pretty much the essence of the business,” says Cullen Bonnell, Signals and Communications Supervisor, Canadian Police Service.
WAVE was recommended for and deployed to British Airways because it provides secure, real-time communications from any IP-enabled position on the network and from a number of industry standard smartphone devices. Deployed to more than 75 operational positions serving in excess of 1,000 users, the WAVE Desktop Communicator application allows British Airways’ operators to communicate to smartphones, radios and carrier push-to-talk (PTT) networks from any WAVE-enabled PC, across a secure network infrastructure. This capability not only removes the need to deploy radio handsets to desktop workers who do not need them, but also allows users to participate in communications between multiple radio channels.
“WAVE is a tremendously powerful unified communications platform with a suite of applications that makes it possible for teams of people, whether mobile or in their offices, to effectively communicate and collaborate,” Weatherley said.
- Cost savingsWAVE can be deployed using existing devices and networks, a benefit experienced at British Airways. As it is no longer wholly dependent on ageing radio base station and repeater hardware, spares inventory, recurring maintenance charges and monthly leased telephone lines, British Airways has seen immediate and longer-term cost benefits associated with its IP-based ground-to-air system.
Companies can eliminate an upfront investment in WAVE software by placing everything in the cloud with a scalable, flexible and affordable PTT service that is carrier-independent and has a low monthly subscription. More flexible than carrier PTT services with single network coverage, limited devices and restrictive contracts, WAVE works with all providers. Companies can keep their current service or chose a provider with the voice and data plan that fits their needs.
- Enable visiting specialists/bring-your-own-device (BYOD)Quickly and securely give access to workers who bring their own device or specialists who may need network access for repairs or building works.
At Christchurch Airport, WAVE technology enables availability to workers who bring their own devices (BYOD). External people, such as a specialist technician, who need temporary access to the network can use WAVE3000 software and do so from their device, even a smart phone.
Security of communications is a critical requirement in the transport industry but WAVE ensures that communication across the network is secure. WAVE is highly secure, JITC-certified* and trusted by many of the top military organisations worldwide to provide secure voice and data communications.
WAVE has the potential to scale with the business, providing a solution that meets current requirements, with the capacity to extend if required.
The implementation of WAVE has delivered a number of benefits to British Airways. WAVE operates on a single IP network infrastructure, making it accessible from any location and from a range of devices. This provides British Airways with a flexible and scalable ground-to-air communications capability that can be extended to any location in the world.
- A multi-modal transport solutionMany of Australia’s larger cities include multi-modal public transport networks, such as trains, buses, ferries and light rail services operating under one company.
WAVE can improve communications not only within each form of transport, but across modes of transport. Where the passenger is travelling on different modes, the coordination of those services could become a more seamless experience with interoperability between modes. Ferry passengers can receive accurate passenger information about a connecting bus service, or train staff can be made aware of an issue affecting buses that may impact train services.
A communications system that keeps every employee informed helps deliver the safe, timely and outstanding experience expected by the passenger.
* JITC-certified: Joint Interoperability Test Command) is a body which ensures that services, tools, and environments to ensure joint warfighting IT capabilities are interoperable and support mission needs.