Black Star’s innovative monitoring of its network of remote stations is now beginning to pay dividends. Keeping remote Indigenous Radio Stations (RIBS) on air is no easy task at the best of times. Just ask any Remote Radio Manager. They dread this time of the year with the arrival of the cyclone season and storms that can cause havoc. Over the last couple of years, Black Star has bedded-in its SCADA system to all of our radio transmitter sites. 2020 will be another year of consolidation as we build in further redundancy and adaptation into our system
SCADA is an acronym for supervisory control and data acquisition, a computer system for gathering and analyzing real-time data. SCADA systems are used to monitor and control a plant or equipment. It’s also in a range of industries including telecommunications, water and waste control, energy, oil and gas refining and transportation. Black Star has adapted the system to our needs and we are able to closely monitor most of our equipment.
As soon as any piece of equipment fails, an alarm is triggered and a Black Star technician will receive the alarm and immediately attend to the fault. It may be a simple reboot of the system. That can be done in a few minutes, or if it is a bigger problem Black Star will then arrange a piece of replacement equipment to be on the next flight to the community and the community electrician will have instructions on how to swap the part in and out.
The wet season is only a few weeks old and we have already had power surges at Doomadgee and Aurukun, These were attended to and they were quickly back on air. In the bad old days with the road closed, services were down for months until a long road trip was done after the wet season. Not for Black Star, our success rate of keeping stations on air on our network of now 20 stations varies from 98% to 100%. For the last week it has been at 100% – all stations on air.
We recommend that RIMO’s look seriously at this model. It will not only save you money but also peace of mind if you are a manager.