Critical Communication Technologies from Motorola Solutions Connect Panama Canal with More Than 20 Security and Emergency Agencies at Canal Expansion Events

on Monday, 11 July 2016. Posted in Two Way Radio Industry News Blog

  • Thousands of people and delegations from 60 nations participated in inaugural events surrounding the expansion of the Panama Canal, a focal point in global transport and logistics.
  • More than 11,000 officers from 20 public agencies used technologies by Motorola Solutions to communicate with each other and maintain order at inaugural events.
  • Motorola Solutions TETRA and ASTRO®25 mission-critical communication systems are being used by agents responsible for monitoring the 80km stretch of the Panama Canal. Both systems, which have different standards for regular operations, were made interoperable thanks to the MOTOBRIDGE solution, which helped to ensure the safety of the thousands of people who participated in the events.

PANAMA – July 1, 2016 – The Panama Canal has been a central link in the global supply chain for more than a century and, as of this year, the expanded waterway will double the amount of cargo it is able to handle, improving the efficiency, reliability and ease of international trade. To celebrate the expansion, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) hosted public events at the new Atlantic and Pacific locks, which were attended by the authorities and leaders from 60 nations. The mission-critical instant communications traffic involved in managing the canal and the security of the inaugural events was handled by Motorola Solutions systems complying with TETRA and Project 25 (P25) standards. Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) also deployed MOTOBRIDGE, an interoperability solution that enabled communications between the different technologies to guarantee the constant and transparent flow of critical information.

More than 11,500 officers were responsible for security at the inaugural events using a communications system by Motorola Solutions that conforms to the P25 standard. To ensure constant, seamless contact among the communications systems of the PCA and the 20 agencies involved in the effort, a MOTOBRIDGE was deployed. This system is based on Internet Protocol (IP) and creates a communication bridge that allows different teams to work together, regardless of which communication standards they use, allowing the agencies to stay connected to the remote command and control center as well as dispatch facilities.

As a result, different teams were able to communicate quickly and hear each other clearly, with optimum levels of reliability and redundancy that ensured communications in the face of different types of events. Officers received high-quality audio and were able to respond more quickly thanks to applications like emergency alarm notifications set off by certain situations, call prioritization based on the type of event and how critical it is, and other intelligent features of the system.

A Canal that Brings Two Worlds Together

Critical communications are needed to guarantee that canal operations always run smoothly for the hundreds of ships, 10,000 workers and hourly operations at the Panama Canal. The PCA has been using Motorola Solutions' communications technologies for decades, both to coordinate with the pilots of the ships that pass through the canal and to fully manage the 80 km-long canal.

The three most important operations related to the canal include: dredging operations to maintain the waterways navigable and in good condition; controlling the hydrographic basins (dams) to guarantee both, the supply of potable water used for main cities (with more than 1.4 million people living in metropolitan area) and to operate the locks; and overseeing the entrance and exit of ships. In order to perform all these tasks, reliable, high-quality critical communications are essential.

The aquatic fleet, including 4 dredgers, 30 floating towing devices, 80 personal transportation crafts and more than 4,000 employees, uses radios by Motorola Solutions to coordinate their efforts. The TETRA communication devices allow agents to communicate with other devices in the system using voice and data services, like telemetry, text messages and localization.

“The Panama Canal is a focal point in international trade that is expanding and seeing its coordination needs grow as well. These inaugural events marking the canal expansion required the latest coordinated mission-critical communications. We are proud that the technologies by Motorola Solutions are connecting the thousands of workers who need to make decisions in real time to ensure the flow of activities," said Mike Devente, vice president and general manager, Motorola Solutions Latin America.