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Mission accomplished: NSW Police’s zero downtime Radio Communication Data Centre upgrade

Credit: Photo by panumas nikhomkhai from Pexels

When the NSW Police Force identified that its data centre infrastructure wasn’t keeping up with demand, it turned to APC by Schneider for a solution. The challenge: The Radio Centre electrical load was unknown as it was going through the final design stage, consequently requiring a solution that would be capable to support the current and future demands.

Few organisations have statistics like NSW Police Force: 7.8 million customers (aka members of the public), 20,000 staff and a data centre that uses 70kW of power to transmit 2.1 million radio broadcasts each year.

While the best-known role of police may be monitoring crime and arresting criminals, the NSW Police Force in fact has a much broader mission – to work with the community to reduce violence, crime and fear.

To achieve this, the organisation has more than 430 police stations and a large ancillary workforce supporting police officers in the field.

It responds to a steady stream of calls for assistance from members of the public via Emergency Triple Zero (000) and the Police Assistance Line (131 444).


Radio still the data centre star

The NSW Police Force is relatively unique compared to most organisations; it uses radio as the primary means of communication with officers in the field.

The Force broadcasts about 2.1 million requests for assistance every year – ranging from routine enquiries about a vehicle registration to the co-ordination of hundreds of officers during major events and emergencies.

The solution is carefully engineered to ensure each delivery and support layer works well, from the radio terminal all the way through to the environment in which components of the back-end infrastructure are housed.


Demand outstripping capability

The NSW Police Force identified that its mission-critical radio infrastructure was starting to face challenges meeting constantly growing demand. The facility housing it had barely evolved over recent years, even though new types of police services had been introduced along with new equipment that relied on the radio network.

Newer technologies had become available that could deliver these more advanced service types and the Force identified that new power and cooling systems were required along with server racks and equipment cabinets.

Another complication was stringent security and workplace safety requirements: the datacentre was housed in a highly secure police building, in a major metropolitan CBD location.

This meant all contractors working on the project had to meet strict Police security accreditation requirements.

Finally, the geographical location of the building, home to numerous operational policing units, also meant that any product delivery and installation work couldn’t inconvenience operational personnel.

The specific requirements of the new data centre set out by the customer meant that the design was quite complex. Part of the reason for this was that the specific electrical load was unknown – requiring a solution that would suit a data centre of 50-70kW.


How APC by Schneider Electric got the job done

APC by Schneider engaged their project and internal engineering consulting team to perform a detailed site assessment and interview with key police stakeholders.

From this a dedicated Project Manager was assigned to coordinate the many moving parts of the relatively complex task of delivering a turnkey solution that met the above brief.

The Project Manager worked with the NSW Police Force to ensure the scope of the project was clearly understood and then worked with Schneider Electric experts to specify the possible solution designs for the communications centre upgrade.

The solution devised included multiple redundancies and technologies to ensure continual uptime.

First step was to design and implement a Uniflair Access Flooring system to adequately support the weight of the new data centre equipment. Special attention was given during this build to ensure that access to underfloor cabling for server racks was maintained for future works.

Then APC by Schneider Electric server racks, Power Distribution Units (PDUs), Eco Aisle containment as well as InRow cooling units with VSD technology were selected and installed to produce an energy-efficient, robust and reliable solution that will meet the growing demands of NSW Police


On-time and on-budget

Schneider Electric’s involvement in the refurbishment of the NSW Police Force’s radio communications centre was successful, underpinned by strong engagement by the sales team led by Sergei Vovchak and Schneider Electric’s delivery team under the Project Manager Andrew Spicer.

“Our team was able to successfully fulfill the requirements of the NSW Police Force and ensure the ongoing safety and security of New South Wales residents,” Schneider Electric Secure Power and Strategic Segments Vice-President, Joe Craparotta, said. “No matter the project, we work hard to maintain the uptime of our customers, and the quality of our products and solutions, as well as the expertise of our personnel, supports this.

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