Have you seen Ottawa’s bid to Amazon for its second global headquarters? Besides wooing the giant that is Amazon in their video pitch you will immediately notice the massive expansion plans that Ottawa-Gatineau is undertaking in the coming years. As one of Ottawa-Gatineau’s largest and most well-known service providers and integrators for critical building infrastructure, FCi is uniquely positioned and embedded in the city’s transformational development and deployment plans. We know change is happening and it is happening now!
One of the key public infrastructures being developed as part of this transformation is the “Confederation Line” or what is popularly known in the city as the “OLRT” (Ottawa Light Rail Transit). The Confederation Line will connect the length and breadth of the city and is scheduled to turn the lights on in 2018. FCi is deploying multiple infrastructure projects for the OLRT and one is linked to public safety – the P25 system.
In a nutshell P25, or Project 25, (refers to the channel size (25khz) and packet radio) provides digital radio voice and data communications for emergency services and first responders. Governed by APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications Officials), P25 maintains a suite of standards that ensures interoperability among manufacturers of P25 devices. Every time you see a cop, law enforcement official or emergency responder use those sturdy looking handhelds to communicate you are watching the P25 radio system in action!
The P25 system is a quintessential components of all public (and increasingly private) infrastructure. During the unfortunate events on September 11th, 2001, the Fire and Police departments of New York (NYFD and NYPD respectively) experienced serious radio communications problems due to limited in-building coverage for radio systems. This led to P25 standards being upgraded and further standardized to ensure first responders are always connected. So, the P25 is a must-have for new infrastructure and it follows for OLRT – no radios, no trains!
As 2018 approaches residents of Ottawa-Gatineau look forward to welcoming one of the first visible changes of a fast-modernizing city. Much more awaits as the landscape quickly changes and we at FCi are really proud to be a part of this positive transformation!