Reliable communication with easy to use radios are key elements to keep everything running smoothly in large scale sports and other events.
Whether it’s a major sporting spectacle, a pop concert or a political summit, security is essential to ensure the safety of people and the smooth running of the event. Achieving real security is about more than gates and guards. It also requires the best possible organisation, and that calls for special communications.
The top priority for security operations is to help everyone feel safe by protecting people and property. Spectacular events draw huge crowds and need large numbers of personnel to manage them. But organisers also need to maintain security discreetly so that it doesn’t interfere with the event itself.
Airbus Defence and Space has TETRA, Tetrapol and LTE based solutions which lets security personnel stay in touch at all times. Special talk groups can be programmed into the radios, with separate groups for security, event organisers, and any special teams. Scanning different talk groups can provide early notice of a security incident, so the relevant personnel can anticipate a call and be on their way, even before a request for help arrives.
Another big advantage is the ease with which temporary talk groups can be set up. Security teams may only come together for the duration of an event and can include a wide range of people, from security professionals to eager volunteers. These temporary teams can have an effective communications system “built” to their needs. Any radio user can reach other group members and the dispatcher with a voice call or data message.
More than 15,000 performers dazzled a global audience during the opening ceremony at Beijing 2008. Their spectacular performance was the culmination of more than 13 months of rehearsals and marked the launch of the world’s biggest ever sporting event. This very public performance was matched behind the scenes by the success of Beijing’s digital communication network in keeping events running smoothly throughout the event’s fortnight.
Nearly 90,000 users relied on Asia’s biggest TETRA network to provide them with secure and seamless communication services and handle up to 1.6 million calls a day.
Communication was provided by the Beijing Government Shared Radio Network, operated by Beijing JustTop Network Communications. Established users include the police, fire, health, water conservancy, and various government organisations in and around Beijing. During the games the network was also used by 10,000 staff from the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG).
The TETRA system used advanced network architecture to connect almost 90 venues, both indoor and outdoor. Dedicated base stations were allocated to BOCOG and the Chinese authorities, to ensure that peaks in communication traffic among one group would not disrupt communications for the other.
The network was the culmination of years of development. Trials of the TETRA system started in Beijing as far back as 2003, and rapid development and testing followed the decision in 2006 to use the network for the event.
The network provided both voice and data services for all the subscribers and more than 8,000 talk groups, handling up to 1,600,000 calls during the busiest day.
The system enabled supervisors to set up talk groups flexibly and allocate the appropriate network resources to each group. Virtual private network (VPN) technology meant that each organisation could manage its users independently, while authentication and coding provided all the users with unrivalled security against eavesdroppers.
Handheld and mobile TETRA radios from Airbus DS complemented the network by providing a Chinese-language interface and exceptional battery life. In addition, the intuitive user interface made it easy to introduce all the new users to the system.
“Such a grand sports event requires the best communication flow,” said Pan Feng, director of Beijing Government Network Administration Centre. “The technical support provided was outstanding, and this played a vital role in the communication and event management of Beijing 2008.”