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The Power of Connectivity

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Tridon Communications leads the way in oil sands communications


Most of us came to that conclusion as we drove up Highway 63 passing dozens of over-size wide loads or got off that plane for the first time and felt the bitter cold. It is obvious that here, we live in a unique place. Here we talk of numbers and scope that dwarf the imagination. From above, a vast wilderness of boreal forest stretches for thousands of acres, massive shovels dig to depths of 75 meters, and hundreds of the largest trucks in the world carry 400 tons each trip along the ever changing roadways. Thousands of workers are housed in remote camps complete with wireless internet, baseball diamonds, and driving ranges. Mining operations house thousands of radios for countless employees, operators, tradespeople, and contractors. Here, over 400 km from the nearest city, is a busy and rapidly growing community of over 100,000 individuals and families gathered from all over the world.

What we deal with here in terms of communications requirements is not just like everywhere else.

People expect the communication services of a metropolis, and Oil Sands operations require those services in order to function, and to keep their people safe, every day. Tridon Communications’ mission is to make those expectations a reality in the challenges of our remote and demanding landscape.

“The scale and complexity of providing communication solutions in the RMWB is staggering. Communication is vital. Safety here is Job #1. The needs can range from hundreds of radios to transportable communication towers and GPS asset tracking systems.” says Roger S. Ibbotson, President & CEO, Tridon Communications. “It takes a long time and a lot of skill to build a good radio system and we have dozens of technicians and engineers to make that happen.”

Tridon Communications has been answering complex communication questions in Northern Alberta for over three decades. Their background and expertise in this field led to the creation of a full service operation that includes an entire engineering staff who design and build communication systems, provide a variety of two-way radios, a full range of broadband and cellular services, and a complete service department for repairs and installation of radios and communication equipment. The communication challenges encountered in serving an isolated community like Fort McMurray are highly technical in nature and Tridon Communications has developed the resources to meet them every day.

“Effective communication to teams working in the field means many things…It means safety. It means efficiency. It means effectiveness. We are in a complex, interdependent, team-oriented, environment in the Oil Sands development, without reliable consistent communications, nothing would work.” says Ken Chapman, formerly of the Oil Sands Development Group.

We often take communication for granted. Every time we grab our smartphone or key up our radio we just expect it to work. Anyone who has stared at a blank screen on their cell phone realizes that being without communication for even a minute is surprisingly stressful, but at a work site it is also extremely dangerous. When our communication system doesn’t work, we are left in terrifying silence and a compelling need to make it work…immediately.

“We have to be prepared for any emergency situation or equipment failure. That is why we maintain millions of dollars of radio equipment and thousands of radios. We also have a fully programmed trunked radio system housed in a vehicle complete with over three hundred radios and a portable tower that can be deployed at a minute’s notice. Depending on where it has to go, it can be driven in, or dropped in by helicopter.” says Roger S. Ibbotson, President & CEO, Tridon Communications.

Tridon has been instrumental in the creation of a wide area radio network “Connect63” which provides voice coverage throughout the RMWB from Gregoire Lake north to the Oil Sands. Dispatchers, buses, delivery trucks, and contractors operating in different sites and areas can maintain clear and reliable communication using two-way radio systems engineered and deployed by Tridon Communications.

Tridon prides itself on provisioning of the last mile solutions and their staff is passionate about technology. They operate with foresight, from their years of experience in the region, to track what is coming up next. Tridon is ahead of the curve with mine sites transferring radio systems from analog to digital technology to remain at the forefront of communication technology. They’ve recently deployed a self-sufficient portable communications tower that comes complete with solar panels and methanol fuel generator which can be sent to any remote sites

Whether it is providing wireless internet services to a 2000 man camp, creation of a remote office, rapid deployment of portable 100 foot communication towers or the latest cellphone, Tridon is a locally owned, locally operated business in Fort McMurray that is dedicated to making communication happen regardless of the obstacles.

Here, we might be seen to be in the “middle of nowhere” on the map, but we still expect to connect….and we do.

“We will, through safety, integrity, and with excellence, lead our markets with innovative and effective communications technologies, relentless in our passion for absolute Customer satisfaction.”

Roger S. Ibbotson, President & CEO Tridon Communications