Celtic FC’s dominance of Scottish football is long-standing, but some of their radios were purchased when Charlie Nicholas was still banging in the goals back in 1994. The whole radio estate was a mix of different models and makes which had been purchased over the years, with no collective overview of the radio estate.
There was no systematic, consistent method of programming the radios, many of which were analogue and operating on VHF in simplex mode. Equally, there was no centralised repeater to amplify the signal.
Sponsorship Manager, Suzanne Reid, said:
We needed a complete review of our radio infrastructure from top to bottom. The system had to be robust and future-proof, taking into account the different business requirements, including match-day operations, as well as Lone Worker and Man Down functionality, plus site-to-site links connecting the training ground to the main stadium.
A Hytera radio solution was chosen, given Hytera’s reputation for providing outstanding 2-way radio solutions in leading stadia around the world. After a site survey, recommendations were made and the Company’s re-seller, Vital Comms, were selected to provide the new Hytera 2-site XPT system.
The radios were asset tagged and deployed by the Celtic FC IT team to each department along with user guides. Site-to-site IP links were configured and tested to ensure that the Lennoxtown Training Academy could communicate seamlessly with security teams at Celtic Park; from stadium, hospitality, facilities & operations personnel to car park attendants, security (at both Celtic Park and Lennoxtown Training Academy), catering, multimedia, cleaning, contractors and retail staff on match days.
Improvements in Business Continuity & Security
One of the key improvements required by the Club was the reliability of communications between two locations: firstly, the Lennoxtown Training Academy and secondly the main site, Celtic Park. With site-to-site IP links configured, the teams are able to stay in touch at critical times.
Equally, on match days, with the old analogue system, coverage could be poor. The move to digital has improved both coverage and quality of transmission. Noise cancellation ensures that the various departments are able to use their radios without fear of not being heard, and the extended coverage means that there is no worry about not having reception.
The Man Down and Lone Worker functionality are also important to the Club. With contractors working in potentially perilous situations such as on the roof, or in other isolated parts of the stadium, it is important for teams to know where each worker is and whether they are safe.
On top of improved performance and enhanced safety features, Celtic FC have made the most of their channel resources by selecting a Hytera XPT (Extended Pseudo Trunking) solution.
In traditional DMR (Digital Mobile Radios), groups are tied to a single channel resource. This can lead to one channel resource being busy, whilst others are idle. XPT works by taking the channel resource given to site and pooling (or “trunking”) them. This leads to reduced infrastructure and licensing costs, as well as a more efficient, robust solution.
Better Comms For Everyone
With the radio system extending across all teams, from operations and car park attendants to security, facilities, retail and hospitality staff, Celtic FC now have a robust, reliable system. The radio estate is easier to manage, it charges within one hour, and most importantly, match-day communication is clear and dependable.
Reid commented on the benefits noticed so far:
Overall, the radio estate is much easier to manage. Radios only take one hour to full charge, coverage has been greatly extended, and what’s more, the clarity of communication is excellent.
Security teams at both Lennoxtown and Celtic Park can stay in touch, which helps with business continuity and emergency situations. And the Man Down and Lone Worker functionality has been really useful for contractors working in dangerous situations, such as on the roof or in isolated parts of the stadium.
As the Scottish Champions prepare to launch another assault on the Champions League, they can be sure that both their stadium and academy are able to communicate seamlessly.