VIRVE two-way radio leasing provides up to 100 handsets for use in public events. This makes event organizers’ life considerably easier. The handsets are pre-parameterised to ensure that they work as intended when things get busy. Leased VIRVE handsets from Senop Communications (formerly Virve Tuotteet ja Palvelut Oy) also played an important role in the recent Arctic Rally Finland.
“I have used Senop Communications’ services for several years, and it was therefore a natural choice to turn to them with this issue as well. We needed 100 VIRVE handsets, and getting them through Senop was extremely easy”, says the rally’s Chief Rescue Officer Jari Wilen.
The public safety network VIRVE and reliable handsets made an important contribution to the success of the rally and the overall safety of the event. The technology allowed rescue services, the police and the event organizers to communicate with each other and react quickly to unexpected developments.
“Regular mobile networks do not always work in remote areas and the voice quality on satellite phones is often poor, which makes the satellite network unreliable, too.”Harri Hildén, VIRVE Production Manager State Security Networks
“The reliability of the system ensured seamless cooperation between the authorities and the rally organisers. A shared network makes it possible to, for example, direct ambulances to the right locations when needed”, explains Harri Hildén, VIRVE Production Manager from the State Security Networks Group.
VIRVE also works in extreme conditions
The Arctic Rally Finland took place in the middle of the harsh winter in Lapland. Outdoor temperatures were close to -30 °C, and there was well over a meter of snow in places. The VIRVE network was truly a lifesaver on the remotest sections of the route.
“Regular mobile networks do not always work in remote areas and the voice quality on satellite phones is often poor up north, which makes the satellite network unreliable, too. We set up a number of local VIRVE base stations along the route to boost signal strength”, Hildén explains.
The three-day event tested the mettle of the organisers, as every aspect of the race had to be carefully thought out in advance. Having pre-parameterised handsets and a clear plan as to how they would be distributed, used and tracked during the race was crucial.
“Advance parameterisation ensures that the handsets work as intended. We had supplied Senop Communications with an Excel spreadsheet of our requirements in terms of status messages, talk groups and positioning. All our wishes were taken into account and fulfilled”, Wilen says.
“Feedback on the way in which the rally was organised was extremely positive. The fact that reports about the rally identified communication as the second best thing about the whole event is a huge achievement for us.”Harri Hildén, VIRVE Production Manager
State Security Networks
“A lot of the staff at the rally were volunteers, which meant that the handsets were largely given to individuals who were not familiar with VIRVE technology and needed clear instructions and straightforward call features. Having to observe the rules about social distancing due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic also added to the challenge. Handsets that were in use on Friday had to be cleaned so that they could be used in a different location on Saturday, and the same process was repeated for Sunday. Fortunately there were no technical issues”, explains the rally organisation’s Communications Officer Matti Heikinoja.
According to Heikinoja, modern technology played a big part in ensuring the smooth implementation of the plans. In addition to parameterisation, all the handsets were supplied with the same basic settings already in place, which was a positive surprise for Heikinoja.
“Not having to set the language and microphone volume on a hundred handsets saved a lot of time. Brand-new equipment is also more reliable in terms of, for example, battery life”, he says.
Internationally recognised communication excellence
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) was full of praise for the event. For example, the President of the FIA Jean Todt thanked the organizers for a smooth and unique race.
“Feedback on the way in which the rally was organised was extremely positive. The fact that reports about the rally identified communication as the second best thing about the whole event is a huge achievement for us. We have every reason to be proud”, Hildén says.
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