Tips and best practices

Event security: Five tips for keeping connected

How to plan for secure radio communication that doesn’t let you down at your next large event.


Big sports events are always a special security challenge.

For example, the 2008 Beijing Games brought together athletes from 204 nations, the leaders of 50 countries and a sell-out crowd that purchased 6.8 million tickets.

What could organisations that look after security at large events still learn from the Beijing Games organizers?

For one thing, that efficient communication between all the players is key to being well informed, alert and prepared for anything.

Here are five tips for making sure your communications don't let you down the next time you provide security for a large event:

1. Guarantee availability.

People can't communicate if the network is unavailable or if there are black spots.

That's why Beijing Games security organisers selected a TETRA network supplied by Airbus. When you're providing security for a large event, you need a secure, resilient radio network like TETRA.

For seamless availability, make sure to build in enough time before the event to plan, set up and configure the network for optimal performance and to correctly configure the radio terminals.

2. Ensure communication flow.

Managing a large event takes a concerted effort. Communication must flow efficiently within and between organisations.

As part of operations planning, define and set up communication structures - such as talk groups and their priorities - well in advance.

3. Plan operations.

You shouldn't have to plan your communication processes around your network's technical limitations. Make sure your network is truly seamless and set up to provide uniform coverage throughout the event area.

Beijing Games officials, for instance, used the TETRA network's indoor coverage to keep security personnel in touch at all times. That meant officers didn't have to keep switching to DMO (Direct Mode, or radio-to-radio) operation.

4. Work the radio system.

Some radio communication systems can guarantee capacity for certain user groups and deploy extra capacity when needed. Take advantage of these options.

For instance, Beijing Games officials made capacity estimates well before the events. Then they used those projected figures to plan capacity expansions, which they rolled out in advance.

5. Remember the users.

Big events often involve volunteers who are unfamiliar with radio communications. For them, make sure your radios are as easy as possible to use.

One event security organisation, for example, supplied radios that weren't intuitive and easy to use to first-time users. These users clogged the network with 30 percent more traffic in the first weeks of operation than the first-timers who started with easy-to-use radios from Airbus.

TETRA radios from Airbus are very logical and intuitive to use. This reduces the learning curve so volunteers can start using the equipment quickly and efficiently after minimal training.

Event security success

When it comes to security for large events, the goal is to provide a safe, relaxed atmosphere. One key to success: co-ordinated, efficient, seamless communication.

Handpicked content -

An innovative look at event security - at a football match, for example. This blog post "How to boost cooperation and security at a sports event" looks at the following questions:

What if different technologies could actually work together? What if different communication networks really complemented each other? How would things be if the people responsible for security could use hybrid communications?