15th December 2014 – Thames Water’s Event Response Vehicle has been fitted with the latest satellite communications technology to boost customer service during emergencies.
Wireless Innovation has undertaken a major refit of the vehicle, which has been installed with Eutelsat satellite broadband communications and the full suite of technology required to set-up a mobile emergency response centre.
With 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, Thames Water staff are now better equipped to be co-ordinating activities through the vehicle within minutes of arriving at a destination. It greatly improves communications on the ground, and provides secure links back to the operation control centre in Reading and, when necessary, to the media.
Using a Dawson auto-acquire antenna, the vehicle connects at the push of a button to Eutelsat’s KA-SAT satellite over Europe for its high-speed broadband connection. This satellite connection turns the vehicle into a Wi-Fi enabled communications centre enabling email, internet and VoIP calls.
The vehicle is powered by its own generator and comes equipped with an electronic Variable Message Sign, so that information can be constantly relayed to customers.
“During emergencies, such as last winter’s flooding, this vehicle becomes the focal point and control centre for those on the ground,” said Clive Dickens MBE, the Senior Technical Engineer for Operational Control at Thames Water. “With this refit, we have the very latest technology at our fingertips to quickly assess and respond to any emergency, while ensuring that we maintain clear communications with the local community, operations control centre and media.”
Eutelsat partner Wireless Innovation, which specialises in providing satellite and GSM based SCADA/telemetry backhaul solutions to utilities, governments, renewable and oil and gas companies, was contracted by Thames Water to specify and carry out the upgrade. The 48-hour refit was supported by Dawson, one of Europe’s most innovative and successful suppliers of fixed and mobile data communications equipment.
Phil Rouse, Managing Director at Wireless Innovation, said: “We looked at a number of options for the satellite connection but quickly settled on Eutelsat’s KA-SAT satellite broadband solution because of the price performance ratio it offered. In the event of an emergency, this mobile solution will be transferring large amounts of critical data and no other satellite provider was able to offer the quality and data bandwidth capabilities necessary, alongside the flexibility and competitive rates offered by Eutelsat.”
Jean-François Fenech, General Manager of Eutelsat Broadband, said: “Wireless Innovation’s choice of KA-SAT to help protect the UK’s water infrastructure is the strongest possible endorsement of the quality and capability of the satellite to meet the toughest communication challenges of industry across Europe.”
KA-SAT, the first High Throughput Satellite (HTS) in Europe, is a new generation of high capacity satellite optimised for broadband communications. With a total satellite throughput beyond 90 Gbps, KA-SAT is able to offer high-speed bandwidth and operate with small, competitively-priced end user terminals. It allows businesses in remote or low Internet connectivity areas to quickly and effectively establish data services and scale them to meet their needs.