Once the planning is done and performers are booked, the execution of a great event rests on great communication. Not only can organisers contact everyone seamlessly, but an advanced system also uses applications for additional and advanced functionality.
For a smooth event, organisers need wide-ranging coverage over reliable devices and networks. Both Zeon Digital and Orion are digital two-way networks that provide business critical grade communications.
The Brisbane Festival brings a unique and sophisticated set of communication challenges and it falls to Skye Murphy, Brisbane Festival logistics manager, to manage the logistical challenge of hosting over 501 events across multiple and unique locations.
With such diverse locations in use, adequate coverage is critical, which is where Zeon Digital comes in. “The coverage is awesome,” says Murphy, “which is really important in managing logistics because we have people all over Brisbane 24/7.”
To handle long shifts, good battery life is an essential requirement. Next generation two-way radios now offer even longer battery life of up to 27 hours.
“I use my radio from 7am until it goes back to the docking station late at night, so battery life is very important,’’ says Murphy. “This is especially true for drivers who are out and about with less flexibility to recharge at a docking station.”
Easy for seasonal or contract workers to master
Seasonal or contract workers are a key part of events, providing a large workforce for a short period. This also means minimal time to train staff in operational equipment.
Motorola Rental Solutions not only provides a wide range of the latest products, but can provide customised programming to simplify operation of the radios.
“The customised programming is a fantastic service,” says Murphy at Brisbane Festival. The radios must be set up a particular way for the festival, ensuring certain staff can talk to other designated people. Using the fleet map, the Motorola Rental Solutions team program every handset so everyone is on the correct channel/s and connected to the right people.
Using the radios is relatively easy to pick up, even for those staff unaccustomed or hesitant to use two-way radios. To make things easier, the Motorola Solutions Rentals team switch off any capability not required to simplify handset operation.
Emergency services are informed
A two-way radio system helps emergency services monitor and manage many events, especially in large public spaces.
For example, more than half a million people gather to watch Melbourne’s New Year’s Eve fireworks. For the event, Optical Audio Productions (OAP) manages communications for the Melbourne emergency operations centre, which houses all emergency services and other stakeholders. MOTOTRBO radios are deployed to staff on the ground such as area wardens, crowd marshals, security staff and others, ensuring that everyone involved is using the same system.
Talkgroups and dedicated channels
Dedicated talkgroups enable teams to work together seamlessly, while also accessing individual and group calls.
For the Formula 1 Grand Prix, two-way radios provide critical communications for the duration of the event. For example, medical teams who provide immediate medical support on the track all carry radios. Moreover, the medical team’s channel is locked down so they cannot accidentally change channel.
The Brisbane Festival system has “one secure emergency channel which only eight to 10 people can access. This improves our incident response and minimises the chance of the wrong people listening in. This is especially important for our major event Sunsuper Riverfire where approximately 500,000 people attend,” says Murphy.
Incidents are attended to – quickly
Events can present an element of risk to participants, such as the Australasian Safari, the ultimate off-road adventure through the remote and rugged landscape of Western Australia.
One year a motorcyclist had a serious accident and activated the duress button on his radio. Using embedded GPS positioning, he was located and a helicopter deployed within six minutes. Under the previous communications system, the rider may have lain unassisted for an extended period of time.
Unexpected crowds are accommodated
For three years OAP has provided the communications system for White Night Melbourne, an all-night cultural event.
The system really proved its worth in the first year. Organisers expected several hundred thousand visitors to the new event, however, more than 550,000 people arrived. With such large numbers of people moving around the city, the demand placed on the communications system was high. Fortunately, as OAP had based the network design in a much larger event – New Year’s Eve in the Melbourne CBD – the infrastructure had adequate capacity and could handle the extra demand.
Other bells and whistles: applications
A digital radio communications system offers more than purely voice communications, with applications that help event management.
For example, telemetry applications on MOTOTRBO devices monitor and manage remote equipment. Few people will know that the timing of the fireworks at Melbourne New Year’s Eve is determined by telemetry technology uploaded to the MOTOTRBO system. The program of fireworks is triggered remotely via the repeater on Eureka Tower. Once received, each radio transmits this signal to the relevant fireworks control box, telling them when to fire.
Other applications provide sophisticated functionality indispensable for event management:
- text messaging
- GPS tracking of workers or assets
- job ticketing to create, assign and monitor job tickets
- automatic alarms that detect if a worker has fallen or is motionless
- lone worker monitoring
- voice recording of all calls
- indoor positioning to locate workers where there is no GPS coverage and
- event logging for voice calls, text messages, status changes, start and end of shifts
Alternatively, MOTOTRBO offers the capacity to integrate third party technologies, for a tailor-made system that accommodates very specific needs. One such technology added to the MOTOTRBO system is OAP’s “show call” feature – a semi-duplex channel. This enables all users to hear simultaneously when this channel is used.
Your next event
A two-way digital radio system not only ensures reliable communications, but also provides functionality that can improve safety and efficiency. When organising your next event, consider whether digital communications can provide the reliability and functionality that makes your event a successful and safe experience.