It’s one of the biggest and most important environmental remediations in Canadian history.
When the massive Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup is finished in the next couple of years, it will bring to an end a defining chapter in Cape Breton’s industrial history and will see the beginnings of a new green space for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
To complete the monumental job, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency (STPA) has enlisted the help of some cutting edge technology, including leading communications systems, thanks to an innovative digital wireless installation by Nova Communications.
We have seen the impact of the move from analog to digital in our personal lives – it’s changed the way we take pictures, play music and store data, according to Andrew Boswell, president of Nova Communications.
“For individuals, digital generally means more functionality, more ability to network and interact, and entirely new ways to do things,” he says.
That same shift to digital is also happening in business-critical communications. Companies and government are putting real-time data into the hands of field workers, creating seamless wireless networks inside offices and across large areas, and enabling productivity in creative new ways.
Digital communications are also vital to delivering on our increasing hunger for bandwidth. A simple example of how organizations are realizing this potential is with high bandwidth point-to-point links or mesh networks to connect buildings across a project site or city. It means networks with large bandwidths can be established across a campus or highway or even a body of water.
The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency saw this potential for digital wireless technology. Nova Communications was tasked to integrate two digital wireless networks across the large project site:
The first wireless network was focused on voice communications. A digital push-to-talk radio network allows workers in the field to communicate easily and safely across the team and with supervisors. The digital two way radio system is also able to track the users on the project site for both enhanced productivity and safety. PC-based software allows supervisors to better interact and manage activity across the project site and better respond to emergency situations.
The second wireless network was to enable high bandwidth data across the site. A Motorola mesh network was deployed which provides secure Wi-Fi service across the project site. This allows staff to connect to the network with Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops while in the field. It also allows the Agency the flexibility to easily extend their corporate network to connect cameras, environmental sensors, and project trailers on the site.
“Having the ability to connect some of our field resources under an integrated secure, digital wireless network is a tremendous advantage for us,” says Chris Parsons, IT manager for the STPA.
Chris adds, “The network delivers the flexibility and efficiency we needed to improve the day-to-day operations at the project site. And because we own the wireless network the Agency does not pay monthly network charges for voice and data on the project site which is a real cost savings.”
Digital has also driven dramatic improvements in price-performance for wireless communications products. Paralleling what we have experienced with laptops to smart phones, digital wireless devices have become much more powerful while price-points have improved significantly.
“The starting point for wireless projects hasn’t changed however,” says Boswell. “The starting point is still to clearly understand our customer’s business problem or opportunity. Digital allows us more flexibility and creativity to design and implement wireless solutions that meet that business need and make financial sense.”
For more information about the technologies used in this project, please contact Nova Communications.