• ARCIA President's Report September 2016 - Improving Public Safety Outcomes for All

    Posted on: 16th September, 2016

    July saw Queensland shine as we gathered to attend a one-day Comms Connect and then ARCIA networking dinner. The event was held at Rydges South Bank, and both the daytime Comms Connect and networking dinner were well attended. Comms Connect included an excellent presentation from the Queensland Government Wireless Network, including presentations from the police, fire and ambulance services.

    We learned about the huge difference new and reliable radio technology is making to public safety personnel using the GWN. It was interesting to hear that while the network is a unified trunk radio network, each key agency had been able to adapt their operational procedures because of the availability of new coverage and features. We often take for granted features such as duress functionality and multiple working groups, plus extended coverage for portable users, which can make a big difference. This was borne out by the presentation from the Queensland Ambulance Service, which showed how medical staff are able to maintain the critical connection to the coordination centre even when leaving the ambulance. The GWN has not only improved officer safety but is also providing better patient outcomes.

    During the panel debate, questions were raised about the need and effectiveness of interagency communications, which is often cited as one of the major reasons to build one public safety network. The agencies all agreed that their first priority had been to ensure that the new network provided the maximum benefit for each agency, with at least replication of existing service and coverage levels. However, it was clear that the success of the project has led to a new level of collaboration between agencies. Common talk groups are being used where appropriate; however, the potential for the new network to do more over time is seen very positively.

    The lesson I learnt from listening to the GWN panel at Comms Connect is that when people work together with the aim to improve the service levels for all public safety, great outcomes are possible. The GWN is a giant leap forward for public safety communications in Queensland, but even more impressive is how the agencies and government are working together to ensure that the investment in new digital radio technology provides dividends for the community overall. With the present considerations regarding public safety mobile broadband, there are lessons for other jurisdictions in how the individual agencies worked towards a common goal and outcomes, and with this in mind individual concerns were addressed as part of a common solution.

    The next ARCIA event will be in Adelaide in September at the prestigious National Wine Centre; we look forward to seeing you there. Don’t forget Comms Connect and the annual ARCIA gala dinner in Melbourne — November will be here before you know it, so it’s time to think about your nominations for the industry awards and begin to book your tickets for the Melbourne industry dinner and Comms Connect.

    Hamish Duff


    Australian Radio Communications Industry Association


    Original article published here - www.radiocomms.com.au/content/industry/article/improving-public-safety-outcomes-for-all-838572409

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