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Racing Park & Casino Covers its Bets with Expanded Coverage from Digital Two-Way Radios
April 13 2011

For more than 15 years, a racing park in the Midwest has offered the heart-pounding action of live Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. In 2007 the park added a 54,000 square foot casino, expanding gaming options while increasing the demands on its existing analog radio system, which was unable to provide adequate coverage inside the new building. With its new MOTOTRBO™ digital radio system, staff now has access to reliable communications with clear audio throughout the casino and park that overcomes even the noisiest environment, increasing staff efficiency, park safety and guest satisfaction.

Situation: Analog radios unable to meet coverage needs for park expansion
When the racing park opened its doors nearly 15 years ago, it offered a 7/8 mile horse track featuring harness, quarter horse and thoroughbred racing. In 2007, the park began expanding the venue, adding a casino with 54,000 square feet of gaming space.

During construction of the casino, it became clear that a new two-way radio communication system would be needed. Although the site had not expanded, the addition of the casino changed the configuration and doubled the park’s indoor coverage requirements, posing insurmountable challenges to the existing analog radios.

In addition, the park now needed a system that would allow multiple talk groups, enabling maintenance, housekeeping, security, the track crew, casino employees, food and hospitality teams to communicate without encountering channel busy signals and interference.

Budget requires phased migration from analog to digital
Due to the flexibility and added features of digital technology, a two-way digital radio system seemed to be the right approach, especially for casino personnel who needed communications throughout the new indoor facility. However, because budgets did not allow for an entirely new radio system at that time, the park wanted a solution that would enable employees using the digital radios to communicate with employees operating on the analog system.

The park’s assistant director of security met with a local Motorola channel partner to discuss options. The goal was to identify a solution that would not only meet the park’s challenges for seamless radio communication throughout the building and grounds, but would also let them migrate to digital technology at their own pace.

Solution: MOTOTRBO digital two-way radio system
The Motorola channel partner recommended MOTOTRBO digital two-way radios, which could
operate in both analog and digital mode to provide instant communications between all staff members. This approach would allow the assistant director of security to equip the casino staff, security team and selected work groups with digital radios, while migrating the rest of the park’s staff to digital as budget allowed and existing analog radios reached end of life.

Cost-effective, efficient and flexible
Designed with TDMA digital technology, the MOTOTRBO radios would also allow the park to
double its capacity per channel. This cost-effective solution allows twice the number of users per
repeater for the price of one license and without the need to purchase additional repeaters.
TDMA also uses only half the transmitter’s capacity, resulting in longer battery life over analog radios for extended shifts or for the increased power demand where data applications are used, such as an
automated work ticket system for maintenance.

Finally, the MOTOTRBO radios would provide the flexibility needed to create multiple talk groups throughout the park to allow for greater work group collaboration and efficiency.

“We set up an on-site demo of the radios to allow park staff to test them throughout the coverage area, both inside the casino and outside on the grounds,” says the channel partner. “Everyone was impressed with the system. They found virtually no gaps throughout the entire coverage area and no busies, even with the added capacity.”

Working closely with the park and its construction contractor, the channel partner designed a nonpenetrating rooftop antenna system for the two MOTOTRBO digital repeaters. The design minimized roof penetration and lessened the impact on the new building, while protecting the equipment during strong winds.

Results: Reliable communications improve staff efficiency and park safety
With clear communications throughout the entire park, including the track outdoors and the casino
indoors, park staff can easily collaborate for greater efficiency. Both track and casino employees communicate directly with Food Services and Maintenance. And the security team is immediately available to the park’s staff, as well as having the ability to rapidly coordinate response as needed.

Multiple talk groups improve productivity

The flexibility of MOTOTRBO radios enabled the channel partner to program multiple talk groups. Each talk group allows radio users to call an individual one-on-one, or to call all users within that talk group without tying up the channel or forcing other talk groups to listen to conversations that don’t pertain to them.

“We set it up so the caller’s ID shows up on display so that the person on the receiving end knows who is calling,” says the Motorola channel partner. “We set up talk groups for anyone who needed to communicate with any other group and also created talk groups that aren’t even being used right now, so they can add people as needed.”

Clear audio in noisy environments
Whether it’s trackside during a race where the stands are filled with excited spectators or inside a packed casino with slot machines ringing on a Saturday night, digital MOTOTRBO radios offer crisp, clear audio throughout the coverage area. With sophisticated technology that virtually eliminates static and background noise, the park’s staff can be confident that messages are received and fully understood.

Ruggedized radios meet the challenge both indoors and outside
The MOTOTRBO radios meet the demanding specifications of IP57 standards for submersibility in water, as well as U.S. Military and Motorola standards for durability and reliability. “The racetrack staff is outside most of the time on race days,” says the channel partner. “The radios are designed to withstand dust, rain, temperature extremes and other elements, which makes them perfect for the track crew. And even indoors, the radios can withstand a drop on a concrete or tile floor, fitting the needs of the busy casino staff.”

Dependable communications throughout extended shifts
Using digital technology, MOTOTRBO portable radios operate up to 40 percent longer between recharges, compared to typical analog radios. And when using Motorola’s state-of-the-art IMPRES™ technology, battery maintenance is automated to help prolong battery life and maximize talk time. Not only does this ensure reliable communications in the event of an extended work shift, but in the two years the park has had the system, not a single battery has had to be replaced.

What’s next?
MOTOTRBO’s integrated voice and data capability allows a variety of flexible applications. For example, using an automated work order application, casino staff can radio maintenance to report a problem. Using MOTOTRBO, maintenance can open a ticket and assign it to a staff member who verifies receipt. The application directs the flow of activity by monitoring the open ticket and measuring repair time. When the repair is completed, the staff member uses the radio to close out the ticket, which documents the activity from start to finish. The application helps accountability and ensures that the request is taken care of in a timely manner.

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