Robust and reliable communications are essential for emergency medical services that work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to reach people in need anywhere, anytime. To improve the robustness of the network and give staff enhanced access to critical communications in remote areas, St John New Zealand opted for a Tait Push-To-Talk over Cellular (PTToC) solution.
St John is on the frontline of medical response, providing ambulance and healthcare services throughout New Zealand. Bringing emergency ambulance services to nearly 90% of New Zealanders, St John treats and transports approximately 400,000 people every year.
They have more than 600 operational vehicles and 205 ambulance stations. On average, their vehicles travel more than 17 million kilometers annually to attend around 330,000 emergency incidents.
Improving coverage and reliability of the LMR radio network
To manage its ambulance stations and officers around the country, St John operates a commercially provided, nationwide analog LMR radio network from three communications centers. The network’s backhaul is a mixture of fiber and microwave and connects the three communications centers to a conventional network formed by more than 165 repeater sites all over New Zealand.
St John identified several regional groups where – if part of the network failed – the organization could potentially lose the ability to communicate with ambulance stations and staff in districts served by the cut-off repeater.
A Push-To-Talk over Cellular solution
To enhance the robustness of the radio network’s backhaul, St John purchased Tait TeamPTT, a Push-To-Talk over Cellular solution to provide their operational and administrative staff with enhanced access to instant communications. The Tait TeamPTT app works on Android and iOS smartphones and enables communications over any available communications network, including LMR, cellular, and WiFi. Communications centers are also equipped with tablets as a back-up to the radio network.
The St John solution is monitored 24/7 by Tait and runs on a Tait Cloud-based multi-tenant server, housed in a secure high-availability data center. The solution includes donor radio installations connected to a Tait TeamPTT gateway to provide a workaround in the event any part of the backhaul fails.
Benefits of the Tait TeamPTT solution
First and foremost, Tait TeamPTT has enhanced the robustness of St John’s radio network’s backhaul and increased coverage and availability for all mission-critical users, and allows non-frontline staff to monitor and take part in emergency communications through their cell phones.
It also allows staff to access communications on radio networks outside their immediate geographic area when they need to coordinate a response across a wide area outside their local LMR network.
“Tait TeamPTT provides several benefits. It is not only a business continuity tool, it also enhances our radio capability by enabling communication across wide geographic areas, and within buildings.”
– Tony Howard, St John Solution Specialist
Because St John’s radio network is designed for mobile coverage, radio communications within a building is not always possible. In these cases, St John staff use the Tait TeamPTT app on their smartphones to get WiFi or cellular access to the LMR network.
Tait TeamPTT has also proved useful at events where a number of St John staff are on duty. Event managers can use GPS tracking on the smartphone app to see the location of all St John staff and ensure the closest staff respond to any incident.
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