WILTSHIRE COUNCIL: HIGHWAYS
Wiltshire Council is the unitary authority of Wiltshire in south-west England. The Highways Department is responsible for a wide variety of services, such as highways improvements, cycle lanes, special event road closures, roadworks, gritting and snow clearance. Teams work across the county and rely on efficient wide area communications.
Although Events Crew Limited operates predominantly within the events industry, providing professional support to many prestigious clients across the UK and Ireland, it has recently adapted to offering a wider range of activities, from winter road gritting, logistics and transportation, to building temporary hospitals. Events Crew understands the importance of delivery deadlines and attention to detail and prides itself on its clear accountability and excellent customer service. Good communications are key to the company’s success.
“I would like to highlight the strong collaboration between our companies. We are able to share a communal channel with Wiltshire for the winter gritting teams and WAVE PTX is so much more efficient than any other communications system we’ve ever used. It’s a win-win situation for all parties.”
Wiltshire Council’s Highways Department had been using an outdated analogue radio network shared with other government-run agencies; the network was complicated, costly – also due to the Ofcom licences needed – and comprised special ADSL lines into County Hall in Trowbridge. It also did not offer reliable coverage across the county, so mobile teams were often having to reach for their mobile phones. The management team was keen to revert to a reliable push-to-talk (PTT) all-call communications system, offering added functionality such as GPS tracking, but, having trialled various solutions, had not yet found one that met its requirements. However, this all changed when it started working with Events Crew. Events Crew had been successfully using the Motorola Solutions WAVE PTX broadband PTT solution and recommended the technology and its long-term trusted partner, and Motorola Solutions platinum partner, Roadphone NRB.
Roadphone arranged for Wiltshire Council Highways to trial five TLK 100 WAVE PTX radios. Simon Rowe explains, “I was amazed. We at last had a radio that worked, countywide, apart from the very rare temporary blind spot. And, although the radios look basic, when you start using them, they come into their own; combined with the dispatch console, we now have efficient, cost-effective wide area PTT communications, which we can manage centrally. We’ve completely come off the old analogue network and just use WAVE PTX now, to radio out jobs and to communicate. The system recently proved invaluable during summer solstice, as we were able to keep the teams at Stonehenge and Avebury connected and informed, which was impossible previously as the coverage of our old network didn’t extend to Avebury. It’s great we can all hear what’s going on now when needed – my radio scans all channels – and broadcast group-wide emergency calls, but that we still have the flexibility to have 1-2-1 conversations on closed channels, or move groups to other channels when needed.” Wiltshire now has 56 TLK 100s deployed across its gritting lorries and mobile highways teams and has eight talk groups across eight channels, although it has just set up another channel for the enforcement team that deals with general highway enforcement such as fly- tipping. Its principal maintenance contractor will now also start using WAVE PTX to communicate with the council. And the GPS functionality has led to increased driver safety and, combined with the call signs, improved radio etiquette.
Events Crew, meanwhile, had previously been using mobile phones to communicate internally as well as setting up temporary networks or using back-to-back radios for events; and, with yards at different locations and teams on the road or at events, managers were constantly on the phone to one individual after another. Now, however, all internal communications are conducted over the TLK 100 radios, mostly on an all-call channel, although they do have five channels available in case they need to switch. Each team member has their own issue TLK 100 radio, and they can also use WAVE PTX during event set-up and for some smaller events, which saves a huge amount of time and cost and makes the whole event much easier to manage. Events Crew will deploy more WAVE PTX radios as it employs a bigger team over the summer event season.
Events Crew is contracted to Wiltshire to assist with the winter gritting campaign and, this winter, Roadphone and Motorola Solutions provided the two organisations with a shared talk group for exceptionally easy, flexible communications and to help operations run more smoothly. This has been so successful that Wiltshire is going to set up other talk groups with its contractors, as they move onto the WAVE PTX system. On an ongoing basis, Roadphone supports both companies with any changes they need and delivers all radios fully configured, operational and engraved with the radio’s call sign. Roadphone also has a large hire fleet of WAVE PTX TLK 100 radios, so can supply extra radios should either company have a temporary requirement.
PTX is really helping Events Crew adopt a dynamic and aligned approach to delivering services to its customers whilst delivering coordinated cost-effective countywide communications and enhanced worker safety for the Wiltshire Council Highways Department. The radios are robust, easy-to-use and offer exceptional coverage and audio clarity. And both companies are looking to expand their use of WAVE PTX, with Wiltshire wanting to roll out the radios to its technicians and all its maintenance contractors, whilst also looking at vehicle base radios for future use; and Roadphone will continue to support them every step of the way.
Wiltshire Council: Highways
Events Crew Limited
Motorola Solutions Products:
WAVE PTX™ solution
TLK 100 WAVE PTX radios
WAVE PTX Dispatch Console
Accessories including earpieces, single, 6-way and USB wall chargers and radio holsters
Reliable, flexible push to-talk (PTT) wide area communications that were not previously possible
Shared communications for Wiltshire Council and Events Crew for winter gritting campaigns
The open communications system makes Wiltshire Council’s and Events Crew’s mobile workers feel more included and connected
Wiltshire Council now has reliable, clear communications across the county and is appreciating the added functionality of WAVE PTX; it has also significantly cut other communications costs.
Events Crew was an early adopter of WAVE PTX and now relies heavily on the system, finding it easy-to use and a sure method of reaching members of its team quickly and reliably; not having to install temporary communications infrastructure at events is saving time and costs