Transition to digital communications pays off for EA security firm
Facing challenges with its analogue two-way radio security network, Senaca EA deployed Motorola Solutions’ Broadband Push-to-Talk technology.
In both the commercial and residential property sectors, the importance of security should never be underestimated. Above all, reliable, team-based communication is essential for any firm or government agency that provides security services.
This was the challenge faced by Seneca EA when providing residential security services for its many private clients in Kitisuru, an affluent residential suburb to the north-west of Nairobi, Kenya.
The analogue two-way radio network the company was using – managed by the Communications Authority of Kenya – has served the security firm for many years. However, providing reliable connections throughout a jurisdiction known for its rolling terrain, long distances and large wooded estates isn’t straightforward. It resulted in the security firm experiencing coverage black spots in some of its required patrol zones.
Such challenges created critical pain points, which the company needed to urgently overcome. Other challenges included the high network licence fees and maintenance costs for the network’s ageing hardware.
The integration of two-way radio communications with broadband technology isn’t a new development – in fact it has increased steadily over the past decade – but combining these two technologies presented an important way for Senaca EA to overcome its biggest challenges.
Through its technology partner, BCE Systems, Senaca EA adopted the latest developments in broadband push-to-talk (BBPTT) technology, trialling Motorola Solutions’ WAVE PTX communications service, which extends the reach of radio communications via broadband regardless of the network or devices that organisations use. With traditional radio communications being somewhat problematic in the Kitisuru zone, a BBPTT solution could provide reliable communication while boosting efficiency and minimising costs.
After a successful trial, Senaca deployed WAVE PTX and equipped its patrol guards in Kitisuru with TLK 100 radios. The supervisor for the security zone was provided with a smartphone mobile app that enabled direct communication with field workers from the organisation’s HQ to the other side of Nairobi.
Although Senaca initially deployed the solution to provide clear and reliable communication for security teams, it discovered other advantages, including region-wide coverage that can be extended nationwide and a flexible, scalable solution that reduced the company's operational costs.
The compact TLK 100s provided guards on the ground with a robust handset, clear communication along their routes and long battery life to last beyond the normal shift. In addition, the fact that the devices have an IP54 rating means they can be safely operated in very hot, dusty conditions or heavy downpours.
This resulted in improved operational efficiency and faster incident response. Furthermore, Senaca EA now has improved management of its costs by removing analogue network licence fees and repair charges for the ageing analogue radio fleet and hardware. Instead, WAVE PTX has a predictable, low-cost per-user subscription fee, with no capital expense in significant infrastructure.
Being software-based, the solution connects to other devices, such as tablets or smartphones, via the WAVE PTX Mobile app, enabling supervisors to connect directly to the guards in the field via their smartphones.
Looking ahead, the company is also planning to deploy WAVE PTX Dispatch. This will enable a dispatcher to log in from HQ in Nairobi, to manage the guards patrolling in Kitisuru. Moreover, using the location and tracking function on the dispatch console, co-ordinators can gain visuals of the radio users in their field to track their movements in real-time and help keep them safe.
In some ways, the transition from analogue radio to a broadband push-to-talk solution has been a big change for Senaca EA. However, there’s also a chance that its security guards quickly came to the realisation that they can always reach supervisors or other security officers, while ultimately delivering a better service to Seneca's end customers.