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desks, a touch-screen which acts as a front panel for the C-Soft Plus dispatcher technology from Cyfas Systems. Tis product provided the solu- tion to a serious design headache for Paul Bol- ton, who needed to find a satisfactory means of plugging Airwave radios into the control room installation. “My biggest issue for radio was that the po-

Surveillance cameras outside a store near Bolton’s town hall (above) and in two of the main shopping streets. The town also has two transportable cameras for temporary coverage when required

lice decided that they wanted to put a police radio into all Greater Manchester authority control rooms”, he says. “I’ve been in another couple of control rooms in Greater Manchester – I’m not going to quote who they are! – and what they end up with is a desk-mount vehicle- type radio bolted on a desk, fixed. You end up with two – or in Manchester’s case, they ended up with seven! “Aesthetically, it did not look very pleasing;

operationally, it tied people to certain desks. And looking at it, I was thinking there’s got to be a better way round this. I wanted some sort of integration.”

Connecting to Airwave If trunked radio or VHF standard radio inte- gration was all you needed, an add-on module was available for Synergy, Paul found. “But the minute you mention Airwave and police Air- wave, then it’s a different matter altogether. Everyone starts running for the hills then, and nobody could really help us! “Te link to Cyfas was basically me searching

the Internet. Obviously, I was aware that police control rooms had similar technology. I was looking, if you like, for a CCTV cutdown ver- sion of what you’d find in a police area opera- tions room. I hadn’t seen it anywhere else, and I’d been to quite a number of national meetings and things, but nobody was talking about it. And we’d been talking about police radio in control rooms since 1999.”

Finding a supplier Trough the Web, Paul identified a couple of possible suppliers – but the choice quickly nar- rowed down to Cyfas Systems alone. Ten, af- ter extensive discussions over technical aspects, specifications and price, Cyfas agreed to add Tetra support to its C-Soft dispatcher prod-

uct – enabling touch-screen access to Airwave, as well as the analogue PMR networks, to be made available to all operators in the control room. “If we didn’t have this system, which allows

access from every desk, we’d end up with five radios stacked on a desk”, Paul says. “It would simply not have been workable. If we’d put them on the CCTV Town Centre side of the control room, how would the IEP people get to them? Tey are at the opposite end of the con- trol room, quite a distance away. How would they hear the audio? “But now, with the Cyfas, they can sit at any

desk. It’s a completely generic desk environ- ment. It’s all about your login – so any of the staff can sit anywhere.” Taking the integration a stage further, Cyfas

also brought in NCP’s internal telephone net- work, a Cisco SIP telephony system, enabling the same headset to be used for both radio and telephone calls. Paul is hoping to arrange a trial of DECT cordless headsets soon, to provide better freedom of movement for the operators.

Instant response Te Airwave interface went live towards the end of last year. “And it’s proving to be abso- lutely fantastic”, Paul Bolton enthuses. “We’re probably using the police radio now more than any other radio, because we get an instant re- sponse from the police. “But it comes with its downside. All the staff

have got to be police-vetted; it’s quite rigorous. And we’ve had to apply for the TEA2 algo- rithm, the protection algorithm – we had to go to the Cabinet Office for licences. It’s been quite a lengthy process, but it’s absolutely well worth the effort.” One practical detail Paul points out at the

workstations is the foot-switch PTT control for the radio, a long bar running from left to right under each desk. Originally, he says, small foot- switches were provided, but operators found it difficult to locate them on the floor. Instead, they took to lifting the foot-switches on to the desktop and pressing them with their hands. Using Cyfas’s treadle PTT switch instead, they can keep their hands free.

Facing page, clockwise from top right: rear-projection display screens in Bolton’s new CCTV centre (the control software, by Synectics, enables the operators to arrange the screen layout according to the task in hand); the joystick, generally the best means of controlling cameras; the review suite, a separate part of the control room suite where enquirers can be shown pictures they have requested (“It’s purposely put here so that if we bring someone in, we’re not breaking data protection by showing them the control room”, Paul Bolton says. “They can just come in and view the footage that they need to view”); on charge, handportables used by NCP, which operates the suite; an operator’s control position; and a visitor to the control room,Craig Bayliss of Cyfas Systems, whose touch-screen provides access to the radio channels. “It’s saving valuable time”, he says. “Having Tetra and Airwave integrated into Cyfas C-Soft Plus means that these guys and ladies can actively see what’s going on and get straight on the radio to the police. So you’re saving valuable seconds”

20 LAND mobile October 2011

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