London Calling

For the second time in just over a decade, The P.A. People was called upon to provide the majority of the intercom equipment and systems to support the sport component of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Early in the Games delivery process, LOCOG made a decision to bundle up the supply of all the venues audio and communications systems, and after a long procurement process a new Joint Venture company, Sports Technology Ltd, won the contract to provide audio and wired communication services for all the venues in London and across Great Britain.

On the audio side subcontractors for London included Dimension Audio, Brit Row, MCL and Delta Sound. These subcontractors normally compete for projects, but when the RFP includes 380 sound systems spread across the country it’s too big a job for any one company.

London 2012 Olympic Games AV Event Communications

On the communications side the majority contributor was The P.A. People, supplying kit for 30 of the 42 venues, with the balance being supplied by the audio contractors. Not only did The P.A. People – a veteran of world-class sporting events dating back to Sydney – provide much of the intercom hardware for the venue comms, they also supplied two-way radio packages for all of the central London venues.  OFCOM, the Radio Licensing regulator was looking for a two way radio solution that would fit in with the densely populated RF spectrum in central London, and PAP were able to provide the solution.  “We were fundamentally a hardware systems supplier in London,” said Chris Dodds, MD of The P.A. People. He said that equipment selection, which included Clear-Com Eclipse Matrix with V-Series Panels and HelixNet, was based on product that had proven itself in big event communications over the last 12 years, with all products selected on merit and reliability.

Overall The P.A. People supplied

  • 27 Clearcom Eclipse matrices including Pico and Median models
  • 240 ClearCom V-Stations
  • 48 ClearCom Helixnet masters
  • 375 ClearCom Helixnet beltpacs
  • 127 interfaced base radios with multi-coupling
  • 380 Motorola two way radios
  • 30 configuration computers
  • 650 headsets
  • 30 UPS systems
  • 40km cable
  • 60 portable racks

An Order of Magnitude

The team received a basic design to work from less than one year before the Games. From there, they sat down with the governing body of each sport that was at that venue to refine the design. “We had a basic design with common principles from venue-to-venue – Clear-Com matrices for example – and from there we determined the number and location of the panels, the number of headsets and so on.”  The nature of big event productions is a bidding, planning and prep phase that lasts a few years, followed by an intense few weeks of “delivery,” followed by a rather rapid tear down. “The organisers could see the synergy between a great equipment vendor, local expertise, and the Games time capability and experience of The P.A. People” said Dodds “It was a natural fit to join forces to deliver the venues communications systems.