From Start to Finish: WAVE PTX's Impact on a 120km Cycle Race

One of the biggest challenges that large cycling events face is ensuring seamless communication between staff, volunteers, and participants across vast distances. This was the exact challenge faced by a famous cycling race . The event needed a communications solution that would cover a 120km route.

They approached Airsys for help. Here’s how we used WAVE PTX to solve their challenges — and improve the safety of their event far beyond what their previous solution provided.

The Challenges WAVE PTX Needed to Overcome

Sporting events are high-stakes situations, where any communication issues can place participants in danger. For the cycling race  that engaged us, the likelihood of communication issues arising was heightened by the huge area that required coverage.

We needed to cover a 120km route that spanned large swathes of remote areas, terrain types and topographies. Communication was needed for multiple groups, including organisers, race officials, marshals, first aid and emergency response teams, and support vehicles consisting of motorbikes and cars in convoy.

The solution needed to provide contrast, high-quality coverage that could withstand any weather event. At the same time, an advanced dispatcher system was needed that could efficiently manage the communication of so many talk groups.

How Did WAVE PTX Perform?

After weighing up the options, we supplied the cycling race with WAVE PTX, a broadband push-to-talk communications solution created by Motorola Solutions. WAVE PTX consists of two-way communication devices, dispatcher tools, and an app that converts smartphones into event communication devices. To help the race organisers see fast value from WAVE PTX, Airsys provided next-day delivery, training and ongoing support, including on the day of the event.

Utilising area-wide 4G coverage, WAVE PTX was able to provide clear and stable connections for the entire route. Event personnel were equipped with two-way WAVE devices that are capable of one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-all calling — a feature that is not possible using ordinary smartphones. Staff were also able to communicate using text messages, voice notes, video streaming, and file sharing. The devices had durable, slim bodies, resembling traditional push-to-talk two-way radios. This made them easy to use without any additional training.

But one of the greatest benefits of using WAVE PTX is the advanced dispatcher system. The system could be managed remotely and gave users the flexibility to add or remove people from talk groups as the race unfolded. Significantly, the system has real-time GPS tracking, enabling the dispatcher to map the route and locate every staff member.

The Results

WAVE PTX was a tremendous success, facilitating clear, real-time and continuous communication across multiple user groups. The added ability for staff to communicate using multimedia messaging enhanced the clarity and efficiency of messaging. After all, sometimes a picture or video has greater explaining power than a voice conversation.

The race ran smoothly, which is evidence of WAVE PTX’s impact. But in the event of an emergency, GPS tracking and route mapping would have been indispensable tools for dispatching the right resources to the situation. All communications data is captured and securely stored, enabling organisers to prove due diligence in the event of an investigation or when dealing with their insurance providers. This data can be analysed to improve how they manage future races.

The final result was a safer and more efficiently run event on race day — leading to safer and better run races in the future.