Armidale Dumaresq Council improves workforce safety, efficiency with Tait P25 solution

A P25 digital communications solution from Tait, operating over a Vertel next-generation network, is bringing real organizational benefits for the Armidale Dumaresq Council in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

The P25 system is helping to increase the safety and efficiency of the council's utilities and road network staff, who operate throughout the urban centre of Armidale and the surrounding rural Dumaresq Shire. 

"The biggest outcome for us is increased safety for staff," says Andrew Levingston, Plant Manager, Armidale Dumaresq Council. 

"We operate across a large, mostly rural area and a lot of our staff work in small, remote crews. In the event of an accident, where there isn't mobile coverage and it's a half-hour drive to reach a public telephone, staff can now rely on a direct link back to the council, with the reassurance that, if required, emergency services can be dispatched to their exact location as quickly as possible."

The council's radio network has been expanded to include ranger staff, the sewerage treatment plant and water treatment plant. 

"The Tait network means there's a lot more cross-team communication happening, which means better use of resources in the field and greater day-to-day workforce management and efficiency across the whole organization," adds Mr Levingston. 

"Furthermore, we are now able to drastically reduce our reliance on mobile phones for operations. Truly reliable communications is now a reality, and that will make a real and lasting difference to the way we operate as a team, as well as the outcomes we achieve for the community." 

The three-site TaitNet P25 digital network has been implemented by local partner Vertel, incorporating Tait TB9100 base stations and replacing the council's old analog network. The solution includes worker safety features such as Data Over Radio's location services software, which allows for GPS monitoring — specifically for man-down alerts which include terminal location.

Vertel constructed a new digital radio tower and designed the associated digital network to address the specific challenges of providing greater coverage across the geographically remote area that the Armidale council covers. 

"Vertel has extensive experience in microwave back-haul and digital land mobile radio networks implementation, and we are uniquely positioned to assist Armidale Dumaresq Council with the design, installation and maintenance of its upgraded network," says Andrew Findlay, Managing Director, Vertel. 

"The project also included the implementation of additional features such as the GPS tracking of handsets, and vehicle emergency alarm systems, as well as integration with the existing phones system, which were a vital part of the project to ensure staff safety on the road." 

Brett Smythe, General Manager, Tait Communications Asia Pacific, comments: "We are delighted that the Armidale Dumaresq Council is able to reap the benefits of an open-standards communications system that meets its organisational needs today, while still ensuring the flexibility to expand and upgrade as needs dictate in the future."