In 2007, Motorola launched their new MotoTRBO digital two-way radios. At their heart, they use the DMR digital radio open standard, which has become the industry standard for commercial digital two-way radio.
Since then, digital radios offer more features, better audio quality across the coverage area (but worse audio compared to a good analogue signal), and can do things such as telemetry, messaging, GPS, etc. better and more easily than an analogue radio could.
But what if you need to do more with your radio? What if you could use it for job dispatch, indoor tracking and navigation, email, time recording, picture messaging, displaying location and navigating to a certain colleague, and more? What if you could upgrade to keep up with technology, and make changes or turn on features at any time for no extra cost?
Smartphones are essentially tiny computers in your pocket. With the right phone, a remote speaker microphone, and the right software, they can do everything a radio can do, plus more. We call this PTT, Push-to-talk over cellular, or PoC.
Instant and reliable group or 1-1 calls? Easy.
Location services? Naturally.
Mission-critical reliability? Telstra LANES, private LTE, or (properly built) wifi mesh.
Rugged, intrinsically safe and ATEX/IECEx for LNG/mining/oil and gas? Of course.
Cheap accessories? Lots.
Long warranty? Up to three years.
The choice in Android smartphones for business use is mind boggling. There is a device to suit every need. An Android device is essentially a small computer which can do everything a two-way radio can, but without the limitations. In this respect, digital two-way radio has already been superseded.
- Shopping centres can combine indoor tracking, voice communications, job dispatch, duress and safety, all into one device which is covert and light, and optionally use a Bluetooth headset or surveillance air-tube.
- Mine sites can use an ultra-rugged intrinsically safe device with built-in PTT button, and take advantage of enhanced safety features via Bluetooth, NFC, SOS buttons, man-down sensors, and priority emergency broadcasts.
- Vehicle operators enjoy the flexibility of a Bluetooth microphone and can walk outside the vehicle and still be in touch, or the simplicity of a wired microphone along with the extra features such as navigation or job dispatch, either way using a unit fixed in their vehicle.
Upgrading from analogue? Don't get stuck with old technology, skip digital radio and really upgrade. Looking for more? Integrate a cellular PTT system with your current radios and see the advantages. Need better coverage? Look no further.
Ten years into the digital radio revolution, PTT over cellular is more useful, more flexible, and thus more valuable.