This mining conglomerate is using IP-based push-to-talk to reduce radio costs, improve worker safety, and get the most from its private LTE infrastructure.
Higher mining productivity, safer workers
Connecting radios with smartphones
Communications have always been an issue for the mining industry, with mine sites often located in remote areas with limited network coverage and other connectivity challenges, including underground operations.
To surmount these obstacles, one of the world’s largest mining companies has chosen a key North American site to deploy an ambitious wireless broadband LTE/5G communications network for use both above ground and underground, along with Wi-Fi in some surface buildings. The company is leveraging the private LTE network to:
streamline the addition and management of dozens of “apps” over the network
open up new opportunities for autonomous mining operations – the key to the future
provide its workforce with state-of-the-art IP-based voice communications from Instant Connect
The company is leveraging Instant Connect as its push-to-talk (PTT) platform, as the software can turn virtually any device – desktops, mobile phones, even IP phones – into an internet-connected PTT device that can link with radios and other equipment. This level of interoperability offers the flexibility required to conduct safe and efficient mining operations.
Any device, any network
Take this example: Miner A is using a ruggedized smartphone underground. Miner B is using a radio in another tunnel. They need to communicate with each other as well as a remote supervisor who is using a desktop at corporate headquarters. With Instant Connect, they can all communicate despite the inherent challenges of linking different devices over different networks. This unified environment vastly lowers the risk of being disconnected when miners can’t afford to be.
The next frontier in “heavy industry”
Instant Connect offers the mining company a second major advantage – its unique use of automation as the natural next step in the evolution of frontline voice communications. The software can automatically respond to real-time IoT-triggered alerts with voice-enhanced workflows and dynamic talk groups that can help the company’s frontline teams manage events faster, smarter, and safer.
Instant Connect running on LTE/5G and Wi-Fi
Gartner Research named Instant Connect a 2021 Cool Vendor because of how it has elevated the automated capabilities of frontline communications.
Instant Connect’s automation capabilities are driven by the Dyna™ automation engine, an embedded software component that powers the platform’s advanced automated features. The software can integrate with a company’s existing IoT infrastructure and building systems, reacting to these environments in real time and contributing to the incident response workflow if and as needed.
For example, in response to an IoT alert, Instant Connect can automatically assemble a talk group (voice channel) connecting the key people who need to know. The miners are notified immediately and can collaborate to resolve the issue. Everyone is instantly connected and the software can include data, such as workflow instructions, relevant to the event. Unlike the clutter of conventional radio, these talk groups include only the team members needed to complete the specific task or mission. No one is interrupted who doesn’t need to be.
Automatically sets up dynamic talk groups triggered by IoT sensors, cameras, events, or workflows
Only connects the miners critical to the task – no background clutter as you would get on radios
Automatically disassembles the talk group it when the work is done, allowing team members to go back to their normal routines
Workers can be on as many talk groups (voice channels) as they need to be – simultaneously
"Keeping our teams connected, productive, and safe is top-of-mind. Instant Connect's easy-to-use PTT environment helps our workers execute faster. Overall performance is enhanced, worker safety is enhanced, and the return on the IT investment is enhanced."
Senior IT Business Partner, North American mining site
Improving productivity for miners on the move
Instant Connect push-to-talk is helping improve efficiency and strengthen safety for the company's miners, enhancing the company’s overall operations with broad, consistent voice communications.
The software offers the mining ecosystem a convenient and fluid choice of both pre-set and ad hoc talk channels seamlessly organized by missions, teams, and workflows. Dispatch – including patching in channels and adding users on the fly – is easy. The software's friendly push-button communications include texting, private intercom communications, and telephone calls.
“Our miners appreciate the reliability and quality of Instant Connect. It keeps everyone connected in a working environment where there’s no room for gaps in communication. The mobile app running on smartphones is convenient and easy to use, especially for frontline workers who have been used to radios.”
Senior IT Business Partner, North American mining site
The mining company and its PTT partner, Instant Connect, share a legacy of leadership in their respective fields. Instant Connect traces its roots back to Cisco, where the concept of voice interoperability was originally developed in response to the communication chaos surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The events of 9/11 exposed the inability of first responders to communicate across organizational and technical boundaries. Push-to-talk devices and radio networks were isolated, unable to connect to other devices and networks.
Cisco wanted to explore if different devices could share a common environment that allowed people to use any device they wanted to communicate with each other. The platform that makes it all happen today is called Instant Connect.
Now, everything and everyone who needs to be, stays connected.
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