Project casebook: Command and control rooms

Oslo airport looked to an advanced communications system from Zetron to keep operations running smoothly during the harsh Scandinavian winters

Project casebook: Command and control rooms

Oslo Airport opts for Zetron to preserve its reputation for quality

Having twice been named the region’s most efficient airport and four times the most punctual, Oslo Airport Gardermoen has a very proud reputation for quality to protect. This meant it required an operations centre among the most advanced in Europe.

As a result it looked to an advanced communications system from Zetron to keep operations running smoothly during the harsh Scandinavian winters. Its mission critical touch-screen system, Acom, enables just three operators at Gardermoen to handle many of the radio and telephone calls between the 13,000 people and 100 companies that together keep the airport open for business.

For the deployment at Gardermoen the Acom system brings 27 TETRA, VHF and UHF radio channels and 60 PABX lines onto single screens, making it easy for operators to coordinate key elements of ground operations, from power and other support systems to security, fire and rescue. Such displays mean that operators can swiftly make decisions that get the right teams and people talking so the airport functions efficiently.

With the same solution already widely deployed in airlines and emergency control centres around the world, as well as airports including London Heathrow and Geneva, it has built a reputation for reliability and flexibility among those using it.

With Gardermoen being Norway’s international aviation hub and about to embark on a second phase of expansion that will grow capacity from 21 million to 28 million passengers per year, it was important that any solution had substantial capacity for cost-effective expansion as airport traffic volumes grew and new communication technologies were deployed.

For the Gardermoen rollout Zetron partnered with TC Connect, a regional system integrator, during installation.

The Norwegian firm configured the Acom system to operate with multiple brands of existing hardware, including Motorola radio equipment, while working with airport control staff to customise display screens.

According to Alf-Einar Larsen, project leader for Gardermoen control centre, the graphical user interface is just one of the many strengths of the Zetron system.

‘It means that each member of staff can log on and have information presented to them just the way they want it,’ he says. ‘The combined Zetron and TC Connect team has delivered a highly capable solution that will enable us to maintain and build upon our reputation for quality service to airlines and travellers even as we set out on our latest expansion programme.’

Alan Pinnegar, EMEA VP and general manager of Zetron, explained that reliability was an absolute pre-requisite for deployments in the aviation sector – something Acom had delivered on every time.

‘The Oslo team is justifiably proud of its reputation and we are delighted to be part of maintaining the operational capability of Norway’s busiest airport,’ he says.


Palm Beach county sheriff turns to Motorola Solutions for CAD

The system will utilise Microsoft’s Connected Justice and Public Safety (JPS) solution. Motorola was selected due to its ability to deliver an integrated solution based on industry standard technology that will enhance information flow, improve response times and increase responder and citizen safety.

Common services including messaging, query and geographic information services (GIS) reduce administration needs and provide consistent user experiences from all PremierOne applications. For example, dispatchers can attach real-time query results and other multimedia information to calls for service for heightened awareness and a higher safety factor for first responders and citizens.

As Tim Boyle, VP of Motorola Solutions, explains: ‘By working closely with Microsoft, we are extending the capabilities of our platform to automate business processes across systems, agencies and jurisdictions for faster and smarter decisions.’

The solution can also be integrated with other Motorola products and solutions such as the MCC 7500 IP Dispatch Console, Motorola GPS-equipped radios, Motorola data-capable radios and real-time video.

Wes Anderson, VP of US public sector services at Microsoft, adds: ‘Our public safety customers seek a better way to eliminate their information silos and gain greater insight to make more-informed decisions.

‘Together with Motorola Solutions, Microsoft has made a commitment to help public safety organisations nationwide achieve simple and secure information sharing using Microsoft technology, open architecture, and national standards. We are thrilled to help PBSO in safeguarding their communities.’

Shropshire Fire & Rescue turn to Actica for new control room

Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service, which employs 650 staff and operates from 23 fire stations, workshops and the service’s headquarters and training centre, was another fire service whose long-term plans were altered by the cancellation of the UK Government’s FiReControl project. The Service couldn’t wait to see how the FiReControl situation developed because its existing command and control system was originally installed in the late 1980s and, while it has received several major upgrades, it had become very limited in its compatibility with other technologies, both in terms of hardware and software.

The age of the existing system created problems in obtaining spares, and ongoing maintenance arrangements were difficult and costly to secure. In addition, a number of peripheral systems connected to the command and control system had similar limitations and were reaching the end of their expected operating life.

Actica Consulting was initially engaged to support the Service in understanding its future requirement for an interim control room solution pending the transfer of its existing control room functions to a regional control centre as part of the national FiReControl Project. Requirements on all operational sub-systems were captured covering mobilisation, GIS, Gazetteer, Integrated Communications Control System (ICCS) functionality, mobile data terminals, connections to BT for 999 call-taking and Airwave for TETRA provision.

Steve Worrall, assistant chief fire officer at Shropshire Fire & Rescue, says: ‘Actica provided us with a range of services to a demanding timescale and demonstrated a clear and firm understanding of all of the complexities involved in developing a strategy and implementing a mission critical command and control system.

‘While initially only intended as an interim solution, the service’s new command and control system offers a degree of longer-term resilience and affordable enhanced functionality – particularly in the absence of the now cancelled FiReControl project.’

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue upgrades control room in spite of reduced budget

When Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) was faced with a need to upgrade its control room, the situation was made more complicated by the current climate of reduced budgets. This was exacerbated by the recent cancellation of the nationwide FiReControl room project, which has removed long-term visibility into the technical framework for fire and rescue operations.

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service approached Wiltshire Police to examine the feasibility of working together on the project. A joint agreement was reached that allows both organisations to counter budget cuts, share services and better support over 600,000 citizens throughout Wiltshire.

The services chose APD’s hosted CORTEX Software Integrated Communications Control System (SICCS) service. The service enables Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to share the police force’s telephony platform and gain access to Airwave’s full range of TETRA features for the first time, at a fraction of the cost of buying a dedicated ICCS.

The Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service control room simply connects to the existing joint fire/police CORTEX system, which is partitioned so each emergency service has its own dedicated system, tailored for its specific needs. Sharing the same hosted system allows both emergency services to make significant savings. For example, Wiltshire FRS can now use any CCI ports not being used by Wiltshire Police, ensuring local citizens receive an improved level of service at no additional cost.

Discussing the deployment, John Cox, FireLink/communications manager at Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, explains: ‘The decision to deploy the joint service was a simple one. The hosted nature of the CORTEX SICCS service combined with the ability to share services will help us meet new budget cuts, secure return on investment quickly, while helping us improve the service we offer.

‘The joint service will also help from a strategic level – providing senior officers within both organisations with access to a complete view of incidents that involve fire and police. In short, the deployment will ensure citizens throughout Wiltshire and Swindon receive a first class service.’

Wiltshire Police is also able to make significant budget reductions by cutting the number of CCI (command and control interface) ports it requires from Airwave.

The reduction is possible due to functionality within the hosted APD CORTEX SICCS system, which enables the inter-customer pooling and virtual reallocation of CCI ports between multiple organisations. Use of APD’s latest generation pooling technology is already saving Wiltshire Police over £100,000 per annum.

 ‘Following the Government’s cancellation of the regional FiReControl room project, Wiltshire FRS looked at how best to modernise their operations to take advantage of the latest TETRA and telephony features, all within the current climate of budget cuts. The new-hosted joint CORTEX SICCS service allows Wiltshire FRS to upgrade the Devizes-based control room to provide staff with a range of new services without the need for an expensive new system,’ says Steve Denison, managing director at APD.

‘The deployment will enable control room operators to conduct their duties effortlessly, while providing Wiltshire FRS with access to a full range of the latest SICCS services. In short, because CORTEX can be hosted in this way and because almost half of UK police forces already have CORTEX systems, this collaborative approach can be easily replicated elsewhere, offering both police and fire and rescue services the perfect joint solution to ensure budget cuts do not affect the service provided to the public.’

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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