Sepura's SDA ensures smooth running of World Cup in South Africa

Use of short data application (SDA) kept TETRA channel largely free for high priority calls

Sepura's SDA ensures smooth running of World Cup in South Africa

Sepura’s short data application (SDA) enabled South Africa’s public safety organisations to receive simultaneous status reports from all 37 venues without clogging up voice traffic on its TETRA network during the 2010 World Cup. The use of the SDA meant the TETRA channel could be kept largely free for high priority calls.

Users were able to send short data messages to the Johannesburg Joint Command Centre (JCC) providing it with status updates and incident reports from each venue quickly and easily. Each communication was automatically captured and logged for analysis and review by the JCC.

Neels de Klerk, station commander at the JCC, said: ‘This was the first event of its scale we’d ever hosted, so we were preparing for the unpredictable. We needed to ensure continuous communications between the JCC – which in the event of a major incident doubles as a disaster operations centre – and each of the 37 individual venue operations centres (VOCs).’

The South African authorities were worried that the number of users on the TETRA network would adversely load the system, potentially compromising vital communications. The solution was to use Sepura’s SDA, which enabled data messages to be sent over a control channel from one of the local TETRA base station sites.

Users sent customised short data messages from Sepura hand-held radios to the JCC grouped under types of event: medical, security, fire and logistics – including status updates on venue capacity.

The messages were also categorised according to severity or type of incident to make it easier for dispatchers to indentify and prioritise those that required a response. Each message, user and the venue from which it was sent was automatically captured and stored by the system.

The logs provided valuable insight into how incidents were managed and if correct procedures were adhered to. They also enabled the organisers to alter operational processes and responses if necessary.

‘Pre-defined messages helped the dispatchers tackle the vast volume of incoming information quickly and in the most efficient way,’ said de Klerk.

The standardised menu of messages made it much easier for the many volunteer users to cope with the job without much training. Most importantly, the use of standardised messaging kept the airwaves free for more urgent communications that could not be conveyed by a short data message.

Sepura worked with Global Communications, its long standing partner in South Africa, on the project.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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