Attending a major event is always a special experience. Going mostly unnoticed by those in attendance, there is a large machinery operating in the background to ensure that everyone is safe and secure. Dr. Hamad Khalifa Alnuaimi, Head of Telecommunications at the Abu Dhabi Police GHQ, explains why reliable and secure communication is essential to running the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.

The end of February marks the start of a new Formula One season. While the drivers, teams and tens of thousands of fans take centre stage, there are many people working behind the scenes to make sure each race runs smoothly – from the event organisers to the security staff. 

For all of them, communication plays a central role in managing their tasks, making experts like Dr. Hamad Khalifa Alnuaimi invaluable. He is Head of Telecommunications for the Abu Dhabi Police and responsible for the critical communications infrastructure of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.

The highlight at the end of the season

The F1 race at the Yas Marina Circuit is one of the largest events in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. “We have hosted the last race of the season every year since 2014,” says Dr. Alnuaimi. “It is the grand finale of the season and we have visitors from all over the world who come to celebrate the end of the season.”

In 2023, tens of thousands of fans watched the race from the grandstands at the circuit. But that was just a fraction of the people who visited Abu Dhabi during that time. There were also plenty of opportunities to watch the race off the track, while a host of side events, from concerts to workshops, took place across the city.

Dr. Hamad Khalifa Alnuaimi - Head of Telecommunications at the Abu Dhabi Police.

Dr. Hamad Khalifa Alnuaimi is Head of Telecommunications at the Abu Dhabi Police. His team is responsible for providing a secure and reliable infrastructure for critical communications.

Effective communication
All of these visitors wanted to experience the race and its surroundings in a safe and secure environment, with many different stakeholders involved to ensure just that. “Effective communication between stakeholders is crucial during such a large event,” says Dr. Alnuaimi. “But when thousands of people are making calls, sending messages, pictures and videos all at the same time, you cannot rely on the public telecommunications infrastructure for critical communications.”

What constitutes critical communications? “We are talking about communication that can be truly vital when it comes to protecting people and providing rapid assistance in case of an incident,” Dr. Alnuaimi explains. As such, critical communications must meet high standards of security and reliability. “Essential personnel such as security staff, event organisers, ambulance and fire brigades must be connected with each other at all times in order to coordinate in the best and most efficient way possible.”

This is why the Abu Dhabi Police, in collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space, is providing the organisers with a dedicated radio network, including the necessary radios for critical communications. The network is based on the TETRA standard and allows all parties involved to communicate reliably and without external interference.

“Fans should focus on the action on the track without having to worry about their safety for even a second.” 

                                                                   Dr. Hamad Khalifa Alnuaimi, Head of Telecommunications at the Abu Dhabi Police GHQ

 

 

For those who let us enjoy every moment

Dr. Alnuaimi and his team are thus laying the groundwork for effective collaboration during the event. “At an F1 race, it is not just the drivers who have a need for speed. Telecommunication is the backbone of any IT infrastructure, and it has come a long way in recent decades.” Also, the technological advancements are far from over – developments such as 5G show that communication can still become faster, more reliable and more secure in the future.

Ultimately, it is all for the benefit of the fans who just want to have a good time. “People have no idea how much goes on behind the scenes to make such an event enjoyable and safe,” concludes Dr. Alnuaimi. For him, this is exactly how it is supposed to be: “The fans should focus on the action on the track without having to worry about their safety for even a second.”

 

Click here if you want to learn more on Security and secure communications at Airbus.

 

For those who make this world a safer place

For those who make this world a safer place