One of the UK’s largest nationwide pub chains needed to upgrade its radio communications across its entire estate of 1,400 sites. The challenge was too difficult for some suppliers to respond to within the required timescale, but Hytera and its partner Wall to Wall Communications were able to assess and meet the needs of every site and deliver the appropriate radio upgrade to each one on time.
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UK pub chains
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Market Segment

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Project Time

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The Background

The customer is the UK’s largest pub company with 1,400 directly owned and managed pubs in locations spread across the whole country. The company was keen to standardise radio communications across its estate, so it could better manage its security requirements. It also wanted to centralise its radio purchasing and hire agreements, rather than allowing sites to individually negotiate their own deals. That way it could control budgets, as well as improve the quality and reliability of its communications.

The Challenge

A key problem for the customer was that historically the pub sites did not buy their radios through a central purchasing system administered by head office. This meant that not only was it difficult to control budgets, but that the quality of the radio products was not consistent throughout the business.

The pubs were using a wide mix of radio brands, most of which were various types of PMR446 unlicensed hand portable radios. The sites have live music and the poor audio quality of these old radios meant that transmissions could often not be heard over the noise. In addition, the low power output of the radios meant the sites had coverage problems, all of which impacted operational efficiency.

The pub company resolved to upgrade its communications by deploying a consistent range of modern radios across all its 1,400 sites. The major challenge facing any potential radio supplier was how to address the size of the requirement and the highly dispersed nature of the sites scattered across the UK in a consistent way.

The Solution

The customer had long standing relationships with two radio suppliers, including Wall to Wall (WTW) Communications. One supplier tended to simply offer the cheapest radio solution available.

WTW, however, always took the trouble to call the site first and then after making an assessment of the site would recommend the correct radio for the venue. This was not always the cheapest option, but it was the right thing for the site and the business.

The pub chain approached WTW Communications to support them in delivering the massive radio communications rollout, as it considered Wall to Wall to be a trusted partner with a 100 percent perfect track record in support of its sites.

WTW began by opting to contact all 1,400 locations to provide a report back to the client’s HQ detailing what radio equipment was being used, along with the current standard of the equipment.

Hytera was chosen as the preferred radio manufacturer for the project, because when everyone else said it could not be done, Hytera was able to step up and produce 3,800 Hytera hand portable radios.

The choice of handsets was partly dictated by the fact that WTW has already supplied a number of sites with Hytera radios and had received great feedback from the users. As the sites had such a poor collection of 446 radios, it was deemed a sensible choice to upgrade to analogue radios.

WTW has supplied around 2,600 HYT TC-620 licensed analogue radios, but a further 1,200 of Hytera’s new AP5 Series analogue radios are also on order. Some sites required a digital solution, so they have been provided with robust Hytera PD405 DMR radios.

The roll out was run by a professional WTW team who supported the client’s requirements in every way. The major challenge of the rollout stage was to deliver the huge number of terminals within the required timeframe, which put a lot of pressure on Hytera’s stock availability. However, Hytera and WTW succeeded in delivering all the radios to the sites within the permitted project timeframe.

The Benefits

By upgrading the radios across all 1,400 sites, the client will save around £1m from not having to hire radios over a three- to five-year period. The new radios feature Hytera’s latest audio processing and in-built speaker technology, which delivers enhanced audio performance. This allows the site teams to communicate despite the high levels of noise and the busy environments, which is something the old radios were not able to handle.

The radios deliver wider coverage and they also have a longer battery life, so they will last a full shift. Site teams, including managers, bar staff and security, all use the same radio with an acoustic earpiece to provide a consistent and reliable communication experience. This helps to enhance teamwork, efficiency and productivity, so staff can better respond to their customers’ needs and provide them with a better service.

WTW will continue to support the pub sites as and when required. WTW will have already agreed an upgrade plan for years to come. Until then WTW will be on hand to undertake repairs and support for all 1,400 sites.

The team at Wall to Wall contacted and collated requirements for our entire managed estate of 1,400 sites and managed a full rollout of new upgraded devices. We’ve worked with Wall to Wall for a number of years now and have never had any concerns. This coupled with Sam’s expertise in the industry made selecting them as our preferred supplier for this project an easy choice.

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