The Regional Country Fire Authority is a volunteer and community-based fire and emergency services organisation.
Due to the nature of the service provided by CFA, vehicles and trucks are expected to be deployed anywhere in Victoria
CFA helps protect 3.3 million Victorians, and more than one million homes and properties across the state. CFA is wholly committed to the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery phases of emergency situations, providing a diverse range of risk reduction, fire suppression and incident management services to minimise the impact of fires and other emergencies on Victorian communities.
CFA has over 1000 vehicles of different types to deal with various emergency situations. To operate in an efficient way, and while covering an emergency response in a large area, knowing the location of each vehicle engaged in the emergency incident is essential for coordination.
CFA originally relied on a radio system, however, when units left the radio reception area all communication was lost. This had a disadvantageous impact on the incident response outcome.
This meant that a more wide-spread communication solution was required. The CFA considered the cellular network and even beyond cellular, by researching satellite as a failover option.
To cover scenarios where the CFA team is operating outside of cellular coverage, or in case the incident has affected the cellular network.
Solution (Service provided by M2M Services team)
M2M Design Services team worked with the CFA team to understand the application requirements and choose suitable hardware for the solution.
It was immediately identified that there was an existing off the shelf hardware however, customisation was required to accommodate for the existing infrastructure and protocols.
M2M engineers started exploring the CFA application running on their radio devices, the server requirements on the control centre side, and were able to come up with a solution that optimised the use of the hardware alongside a network design to accommodate for both cellular and satellite data traffic.
The professional services provided by the M2M engineering team involved work on several levels:
• Scoped the code development requirements and worked with the supplier team to produce the code that runs on the hybrid cellular /satellite modem.
• Integrated the hybrid modem into 2 CFA radio devices that can send data simultaneously.
• Designed a complex network topology that combined cellular and satellite traffic pushed under one feed into the CFA server.
• Implemented secured pipe to protect the cellular traffic and comply with the CFA security requirements
M2M Design Services team took in consideration existing environment and hardware and tried to minimise imposing changes on the existing infrastructure in order to reduce integration complexity as well as unnecessary development on the customer’s side, providing a scalable, manageable and secure solution.