Communications Solution for a Wide Range of Environments

Industrial Light & Power (ILP), a recently established commercial electrical contractor serving customers in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, specializes in all aspects of high-voltage power distribution, large-format lighting, energy retrofit projects and more.

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Keeping Crews Connected Boosts Productivity

Industrial Light & Power (ILP), a recently established commercial electrical contractor serving customers in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, specializes in all aspects of high-voltage power distribution, large-format lighting, energy retrofit projects and more. It relies on continuous two-way radio communications with field crews to keep jobs on schedule and on budget.

Seamless communications also help enhance the safety of its crews. In 2011, the company began serving a diverse customer base that presented a wide range of working environments-everything from aerial work to underground tunnels, noisy casinos and multi-acre school campuses.

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"Our biggest single issue is the sheer size of some of the facilities we're working in," said Andrew James, master electrician and senior electrical project manager at ILP. "One day, we might be working in a government building with 3-feet-thick concrete walls. Another day we could be in a 300,000-square-foot warehouse or in a wastewater plant with a variety of metal and concrete structures."

As a result, ILP crews were experiencing obstructions and high-voltage interference, as well as background noise in casinos and other high-traffic environments.

"We were losing productivity because our analog two-way radios weren't talking to each other," James said.

As a startup operation, James and his team, including ILP Managing Member Douglas Smith, were doing more with less-and staying in touch with crews was critical. They knew they needed to quickly upgrade to digital communications with clearer audio.

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"When we upgraded, I wanted to go with the best two-way radio we could get," James said. "We approached McIntosh Communications, a local channel partner serving the two-way radio needs of customers throughout Las Vegas. We wanted a two-way radio that included range and crystal-clear audio. McIntosh recommended Motorola digital two-way radios for the increased capacity, integrated data applications, voice quality and extended battery performance they offer."

At the time of the demo, the company was working on a project at a local government building with crews working inside the building and outside in the parking lot.

"We had such a heavy structure to penetrate that the analog signal simply didn't penetrate," James said. "The ability of digital two-way radios to penetrate obstructions like that was one of the determining factors in our decision to upgrade."

The ILP team was pleased with the capabilities offered by the MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus digital two-way radios, including text messaging, global positioning system (GPS) tracking and private calling.

"The MOTOTRBO demo sealed the deal," James said. "By keeping the communication lines open between our guys in the field and the field office, it's already proving to be a huge productivity booster and money saver. We're seeing a 50 percent increase in productivity since we implemented the system."

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Simple and Affordable Voice and Data

With a limited budget, James and his team determined that the MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus commercial system was the best choice for them.

"With a commercial system, you have the option of buying monthly airtime service on a regional network operated by a Motorola channel partner, such as McIntosh Communications. You don't need a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, a high-powered transmitter or antenna towers. You only need the radios for high-quality communications. Not only will it save us money, we don't have to worry about the infrastructure and upkeep," James said.

New Efficiencies in the Field

The company has been on the MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus two-way radio system since fall of 2011.

"By keeping the communication lines open between our guys in the field and the field office, it's already proving to be a huge productivity booster and money saver," James said. ILP site superintendents and foremen are always equipped with two-way radios. We're able to organize materials and answer questions about design or inspections, coordinate work groups, communicate from the job site to the central office and unit to unit, and make private calls."

Now that ILP crews can communicate clearly, the company is experiencing a higher level of efficiencies in the field. Before the new system, crews missed critical communications. Now, communications come through clearly the first time, every time-saving time and money. And, the crews are safer.

"We're seeing close to a 50 percent increase in productivity in the field since we implemented the system," James said. "Now, crews experience clear and reliable voice communication with background noise suppression, the flexibility of group or private calls, quick access to contacts with keypad shortcuts, and communication with landline or mobile phone users through digital telephone interconnect."

What's Next

ILP plans to leverage GPS functionality in the near future, especially for aerial truck crews that go to jobs at night.

"I want to know how much time they spend on each job site, what routes they take-just monitor their activity more closely," James said. "ILP also plans to leverage more applications such as text messaging and add more radios in the next six months. We saw how much better the signal was going to propagate and are already looking to the future."

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