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Why your business needs to go digital with two-way radios

Date Added 05.12.18

Radios in the workplace are nothing new – but many businesses continue to rely on legacy solutions or smartphones to drive business communication.

However, when it comes to use in business environments, smartphones and legacy solutions do not always provide the best solution and often fail to provide the functionalities that organisations (or specific operations) require.

For personal communications, mobile phones represent the best-in-class, but for those in fast-paced or harsh and hazardous sectors like retail, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and public safety – mobile phones and legacy communication devices are simply not good enough.

The fact is, it’s time for businesses to go digital with their communications and embrace digital two-way radios as their main communication devices.

In this blog, we’ll explain why it’s time for your business’ communication to go digital.

1. Real-time and multi-user communication

One of the advantages that digital two-way radios have over smartphones and legacy communication solutions is that they allow for real-time, multi-user communication.

For example, if a retail warehouse manager needed to communicate with a specific team in the warehouse, they could set their two-way radio to that team’s channel and communicate to everyone on it.

Smartphones, at most, only allow for three-way conversations. Any more requires an application.

In addition to expanding communication capabilities, digital two-way radios are also far more secure than smartphones and legacy communication solutions. They have robust, end-to-end channel encryption, which is achieved by loading the same encryption key into radios within a group – it is extremely difficult for anyone to access the channel or decrypt the call.

2. Communication coverage

When it comes to call quality and coverage, smartphones are reliant on two things: cellular networks or proximity to a mobile tower. If the mobile network goes down or the user is too far from a mobile tower, communication is lost.

Consistent and clear communication is vital in business environments – especially in sectors where employees are exposed to a number of risks, such as transportation, logistics, manufacturing, warehousing, mining, security and industrial.

Those working in these industries need to be able to communicate with their manager(s) and the rest of their team to 1) let people know they are safe in the event of an emergency and 2) relay critical information and updates.

Any lapse in communications could result in unnecessary delays or compromise employee safety. With this considered, smartphones are simply not practical for business environments, particularly in harsh and hazardous industries.

However, digital two-way radios solve these issues as they don’t rely on mobile networks or mobile towers to facilitate communication – instead they allow users to transmit and receive signals from other similar radios operating on the same Ofcom licensed radio frequency (channel).

Coverage can be further enhanced with the use of specialist antennas or repeater base stations, which relay the signals providing a greater coverage area.

3. Audio clarity via noise-cancelling technology

As well as call coverage, another important aspect is call quality.

As smartphones and legacy solutions use more basic microphone technology to pick up audio, they tend pick up everything; background noises, machines and other people’s voices.

These issues can be avoided by using digital two-way radios.

Most are equipped with high-quality microphones with noise-cancelling technology and intelligent audio. So, for example, if the environment is noisy, the radio will automatically adjust the radio volume and microphone transmission volume to compensate. With these features, users can easily communicate in the loudest of environments and ensure that conversations are crystal clear.

4. Durability and battery life

Durability and battery life are major issues with smartphones (more so than legacy solutions that will most likely be connected to a dedicated power source).

Smartphones are not designed for harsh business environments, and hazardous conditions and can easily crack or break if dropped - something that happens on a regular basis in a normal day.

In addition to this, smartphones also have limited battery life. Most smartphones can just about last a day. If used on a regular basis to communicate, send information or access documents, for example, battery life will diminish very quickly.

Digital two-way radios are designed to be rugged, durable and long-lasting.

They are designed to withstand harsh and hazardous conditions and can operate on average for up to 15 hours with their superior battery life. In the event the device runs out of battery, the battery can easily be swapped for a charged one, resulting in minimal delays.

Most radios are supplied with ‘drop-in’ desk-top chargers that will charge the handportable or separate spare batteries. Many digital radios are manufactured to IP68 rating to withstand, dust, dirt and are resistant to submersion up to 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes.

5. Safety

Perhaps the most important reason why businesses should go digital with two-way radios is the safety benefit.

Two-way radios are equipped with a system feature called ‘lone worker’.

Lone worker is essentially an alarm system that allows supervisors/managers to check on radio users after timed intervals.

The radio will beep and the worker has to press a button to confirm they are safe and available. This feature is particularly useful when working in remote areas or in isolation.

In addition to lone worker functionality, more advanced two-way radios come equipped with a man-down function.

Man down uses a tilt-switch (with motion sensors) which can detect and send an alarm if the radio user is not moving,  or the radio is positioned in a different angle for a prolonged period of time.

Both of these features cannot be easily facilitated by smartphones or legacy communication systems – making digital two-way radios an excellent solution for businesses looking to protect employees.

 

Upgrading your business’ communications to include digital two-way radios is nothing short of essential – and key to improving productivity, communications and the safety of employees. For more information on how you can use digital two-way radios to improve your business’ communications infrastructure, click here to get in touch.

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