Mobitex Technology - Solutions - Case study

New South Wales ambulance services, Australia

Building on its established position in the public safety sector in Australia, Mobitex was recently selected in a very competitive tender process by the authorities in State of New South Wales for a wireless data network that will initially be used by the ambulance service and later by most public safety services in the State. The initial application in the State Government’s new wireless data network will be similar to that already deployed for the Queensland Ambulance Service.

The New South Wales network, which will cover Sydney and surrounding areas, will be the second private network in Australia, joining that already operated by the Ambulance Services in Queensland. The public Australian Mobitex network is operated by ADT Wireless, which will also take responsibility for operation and management of the New South Wales Network.

“This is a huge win for both our company and for the people of New South Wales. The mobile data radio service is already being used by the Queensland Ambulance Service, where it has proven to be a lifesaver,” says Bill Delaney, CEO of Technisyst Pty Ltd, which is the prime contractor for the five-year contract.

The new Mobitex network will augment the Government Radio Network (GNR), which is primarily an analog voice network that has been operating in New South Wales since 1993. As of April 2001, the latest date for which officially published statistics were available, the GNR had over 12,000 users from 40 agencies and handled an average of 12 million calls a month. Increasing demand for not only voice, but also data applications has resulted in an increased demand for data capacity that the government is meeting by building a new network to be used initially by the NSW Ambulance Service.

“The new system will also overcome radio black spot problems,” says Robert Gray, corporate services general manager for the New South Wales Ambulance Service.

Turnkey system

The New South Wales authorities wanted a network that would be built from the ground up and that would have the capacity to handle government communications in the future. A threestage tender process was initiated in which demands on data security, performance and scalability were extremely high.

“The government demanded that no data would be lost and that round-trip message times would be less than ten seconds at all times under all traffic conditions. In addition, the requirements called for scaling the system from a single agency with a few hundred terminals to multiple agencies with thousands of users,” recalls Bill Delaney.

Furthermore, the government wanted a turnkey system and a single supplier, who would be able to build the network, supply the terminals, implement gateways and take responsibility for systems integration. Technisyst was able to fulfill this requirement by teaming up with Ericsson and Australian Mobitex operator ADT Wireless, two companies with which Technisyst already had a well established partnership.

Key connectivity requirements

Technisyst thus assumed much more than a systems integrator role in the New South Wales project. While partners Ericsson and ADT Wireless are largely responsible for planning and building the network, Technisyst is providing mobile data terminals based on its TC-Connect embedded mobile computing platform, and a sophisticated Message Management Facility which includes Technisyst’s TC-Gateway product. TC-Gateway allows simultaneous connection to multiple networks and hosts, application and systems software.

“Supporting multiple networks and multiple hosts was a key customer requirement,” notes Bill Delaney. “While the Mobitex system meets all the requirements for communications in public safety services, the customer wanted connectivity options to other networks, such as GPRS and CDMA-1xRTT. We also allow connection to the public Mobitex network in disaster circumstances.”

Interconnection to other networks was not simply a matter of convenience, however. Because communication is the lifeline of public safety services and must never fail, there always has to be an alternative when a unit is out of coverage, for example. In critical situations when many units must respond at once and their actions must be coordinated centrally, it is also essential to have a gateway to public networks. Technisyst was able to provide these and other capabilities using its TC-Gateway product, which is an intelligent software switch that provides simultaneous connectivity to multiple host systems, simultaneous connectivity to multiple wireless and fixed networks and simultaneous support for multiple remote clients.

Real-time performance monitoring

Performance monitoring was another key customer requirement. New South Wales did not just want historical statistics and log files documenting network performance over time. The customer demanded a system that would allow real-time monitoring of packet transmission and application performance. The government tender also included two contracts, one for building the network and another that is a five-year management contract based on service levels defined by the customer on the basis of performance data.

“While the basic functionality was available in the network, Technisyst engineers faced a formidable challenge to integrate performance measurements from the network, linking infrastructure, and the application. We were fortunate in that the TC-Connect embedded computing platform used in this application provides many connectivity options and supports a wide variety of devices, including mobile data terminals, radio modems, GPS devices, various sensors and other equipment, such as patient care systems,” notes Bill Delaney. TC-Connect provided the computing capacity within the mobile vehicle to initiate and monitor network performance measurements even when the vehicle was outside network coverage.

The performance monitoring system interacts with the network management system, operated by ADT Wireless, the Australian public Mobitex operator, and the IP router-based linking infrastructure. More importantly, there is also a web-based interface that allows the customer to monitor actual performance at all times.

Security was a particularly important consideration in designing this interface, since it was absolutely essential that only authorized persons would be able to access this data. Both host and mobile access is only granted to authorized parties. Data sent over the network may also be protected by a variety of compression and encryption algorithms at both the communications and application layers. Finally, each wireless modem is uniquely identifiable, so that each modem’s access to the network and to particular host systems can be managed individually and permanently disabled if the modem is lost or stolen.

World-class care

Build-out of the New South Wales network is now proceeding at a rapid pace. Field testing will begin shortly, and when the first stage of the new network is completed later this year, it will consist of some 35 base stations and serve more than 300 ambulances.

“Work on the system has already begun, and it is expected to be operational before the end of 2003,” reports a spokesperson for New South Wales’ Information Technology Minister Kim Yeadon, adding that “other agencies are expected to use the data system as soon as the Ambulance Service has confirmed its performance.”

Judging from the performance of the same Mobitex application in Queensland, this should not take long. Residents of New South Wales should also quickly notice a significant improvement in emergency care.

“The Queensland Ambulance Service leads the country in clinical care and paramedic training and is among the best in the world in providing state-of-the-art emergency care,” states Mike Reynolds, Member of Parliament and Minister for Emergency Services, adding that ministry statistics show that the Queensland Ambulance Service attends to more patients per 1,000 population than any other service in the nation; achieving results 19.7% above the national average.

Featured solutions
Mobimed® by Ortivus Patient Data Collection™ by Technisyst BodyKom Series from Kiwok
Additional solutions

Search the Mobitex Association web site for solutions tailored for Mobitex technology


Success story 

Mobitex for public safety
Success story 

Mobile Data Magazine
Theme issue 

Case studies
New South Wales ambulance services, Australia Gothenburg Ambulance Services, Sweden Summit Health, USA Intercontinental Medical Statistics, UK Kent Ambulance, UK
Articles & Press
Velocita Wireless High-Availability Data Network Withstands Hurricane Katrina