Basildon Council: Future-Proofed Communications
Basildon Council serves a population of 177,000. 30 miles from central London in the centre of South Essex, the district includes the key towns of Basildon, Billericay and Wickford. More than 2,000 manufacturing, construction and service companies are based in the region, which is a priority area for development and part of Thames Gateway, one of the government’s biggest regeneration initiatives.
Real Time Location Tracking for Improved Worker Security, Enhanced Transmission Quality and Increased Spectrum Capacity
Two-way radio had already proved its value at Basildon with a trunked Motorola analogue solution supplied and managed by long-term communications partner and Motorola Authorised Dealer Chatterbox Ltd. The system was being used by the council’s refuse and recycling teams to coordinate collection rounds and provide an efficient service to residents.
Motorola mobile radios and hand portables were used by the 91-strong team of operatives in 38 vehicles to keep in touch with each other and the control room during the weekly refuse and fortnightly recycling collections to streamline operations and ensure no streets were overlooked.
Continued urban development was resulting in poor quality transmission and communication black spots in built-up areas, while increasingly heavy radio use had led to channel congestion. The council wanted to improve spectrum capacity and take advantage of GPS technology to maximise worker safety. Basildon also wanted to replace the mobile phones used by civil and environmental enforcement officers working alone, out of hours or in remote areas with a GPS enabled tool.
Improved Efficiency and Health & Safety for Waste Collection Teams and Civil and Environmental Enforcement Officers
Basildon commissioned Chatterbox to analyse its communication needs and recommend a solution that could provide the health and safety benefits of GPS and greater channel capacity without increasing operating or licence costs. The council also wanted a scalable platform with the power and flexibility to add new safety and productivity enhancing features as they became available.
Following an on-site demonstration by Chatterbox the council chose a CALM system based on Motorola’s professional digital two-way radios, integrated with a GPS tracking application. GPS could provide built-in worker security by enabling each user’s precise location to be monitored in real-time.
Upgrading to digital would also enhance voice quality, particularly in outer areas of the borough, and eliminate communication black spots in built-up areas. Digital technology could provide twice the calling capacity of analogue for the price of one licence, which would eliminate channel congestion without incurring additional cost. The council chose to rent the CALM system from Chatterbox to eliminate the need for up-front investment.
Basildon opted for a three-frequency, six channel system to meet the needs of its waste collectors and replace the mobile phones used by its 16 civil and environmental enforcement officers with a GPS-enabled solution. Motorola mobile radios were installed in each of the council’s 38 refuse and recycling vehicles, with 47 Motorola hand portables used by collection teams and their managers.
Chatterbox trained key staff, which ensured that mobile workers quickly became confident users of the new radios. Most users broadcast messages to all colleagues, while managers and team leaders can speak on a one-to-one basis to contacts on their caller lists and also have the facility to scan traffic and monitor usage across all channels.
Basildon’s civil enforcement officers, control traffic flow and parking and carry out safer neighbourhood initiatives such as stopping and reporting anti-social behaviour. The council’s environmental enforcement teams have a range of responsibilities including occupational health & safety, housing and public health. Both teams spend a large proportion of their time operating alone or after dark and may have to visit unpleasant and potentially dangerous places. The CALM GPS tracking application gives controllers the precise whereabouts of each on-duty officer at all times. It is also used in conjunction with Motorola’s emergency button that lets officers alert colleagues and the control room if they need urgent assistance. GPS pinpoints the officer’s exact location, which allows nearby emergency services teams to reach them more quickly.
Chatterbox’s expert knowledge of digital radio systems and the latest advances from Motorola allows us to enjoy the health & safety and productivity benefits of leading edge technology without risk.
Brian Boyce, Manager of Enforcement and Technical Services, Basildon District Council Operational Services
Basildon Builds Scalable Digital Foundation with Predictable Monthly Overheads
Basildon District Council now has a robust communications platform that can be extended to an infinite number of mobile workers simply by adding new handsets or mobile units.
Chatterbox’s expertise in digital two-way radio and quick replacement service for faulty units gives Basildon an end-to-end managed solution without the need to retain in-house expertise. Regular site visits from Chatterbox ensure that the council leverages the potential for CALM to meet its expanding needs. CALM will enable Basildon to add innovative new safety and productivity-enhancing features in the future.
The new CALM system has already doubled spectrum capacity for Basildon without increasing licence costs. The council could further optimise capacity without the need for new frequencies or additional infrastructure using a digital trunking solution that allows voice and data communications to share the same frequencies.
Transforming Communications with Next-Generation Functionality
Basildon District Council has upgraded from analogue to digital to give its mobile work force a high-performance GPS enabled communications platform that extends coverage district-wide, enhances voice clarity and maximizes health & safety. The CALM system, which is on rental from Chatterbox, is used by refuse and recycling teams and the council’s civil and environmental enforcement officers
The CALM system gives Basildon the scalability to accommodate more users and add new features to meet its evolving needs.
Chatterbox has helped us build a two-way radio platform that ensures the safest possible working environment for our mobile workforce and leverages the productivity benefits of digital two-way radio without increasing costs.
Stuart Noyce, Manager of Refuse and Recycling, Basildon District Council
- Integrated GPS for tracking real-time worker location
- District-wide coverage with clearer transmission
- Double spectrum capacity without increased licence costs
- Rented solution with back up and support from Chatterbox
- Enhanced security for workers operating alone
- Faster communications improve efficiency
- Scalable platform to accommodate more users and features
- End-to-end management with expert consultancy and guidance
Working with Chatterbox
Chatterbox has partnerships with all world-class two-way radio manufacturers and over 20 years experience of providing two-way radio solutions. It is a market-leading supplier of bespoke integrated two-way radio systems but is still very much a family business that prides itself on customer service and is constantly looking for better ways to work with suppliers and customers.
Chatterbox is based in south London with easy access to the M25, and offers a nationwide service.
For a no obligation evaluation of your existing two-way radio system or to discuss your two-way radio requirements please call 0800 387 760.
Thank you to Basildon Council for helping compile this case study.