Two-way radio strikes many people as something of an enigma. If you have ever asked why, in the age of near universal mobile phone ownership, companies still spend good money on a much, much older form of communications technology, you would be far from the first.
On the face of it, it is easy to assume two-way radios and mobile phones do pretty much the same job. They keep people connected on the move, wirelessly. And when they think about it more, people often come to the conclusion that mobile phones are the better of the two at that job. They can, after all, be used anywhere, unlike two-way radios which have a limited operational range. Plus, mobile phones let you do all sorts of other things apart from voice calls, like live video streaming or connecting to the internet.
So why do businesses keep investing in two-way radio, when a BYOD scheme for mobiles costs hardly anything for a much more modern and flexible solution?
The answer is: two-way radios and mobile phones are actually very good at different things. Mobiles, for example, are great for remote working, for giving employees the flexibility to move around and still be contactable. With a mobile, you can take your work everywhere and still stay in touch with colleagues. You can’t do that with two-way radio because, as mentioned, they operate over a fixed network area created with other devices, not via an international network of transmission masts.
Made for industry
But there are plenty of things that two-way radio is much, much better suited for. Have you ever wondered why you still see people using radio handsets in specific environments, such as on a construction site, in a factory, in a processing plant, rather than mobile phones?
Sheer durability is one factor. We all know what happens when you drop a mobile phone, or it gets a splash of water on it. Business class two-way radios are built to last in tough environments, with the majority of models meeting exacting stress and resistance standards. They also support user safety, with a range of inbuilt alert and monitoring features now standard.
Then there is background noise and audibility. Audio quality on mobile phones is still not great, which is why so many businesses still use desk phones in their offices. You also get lots of signal interference when there are lots of other mobile users around.
So imagine you are trying to coordinate and steward a large, busy event, such as a large concert or a football match. With all that background noise, and thousands of other mobile users around, how reliable would communication via a mobile phone be? In these situations, modern digital two-way radios win hands down. Most models come with noise suppression and intelligent volume control as standard. And this is where you see the advantage of a closed, dedicated network. Minimal interference from other users, and intelligent channel routing, means critical communications can always get through, loud and clear.
There are other benefits, too. In busy, high pressure situations, two-way radios are generally easier to use – a case of pushing a button and talking, rather than scrolling through a contacts list. Two-way radios are also set up to talk to a group, without having to fiddle around with WhatsApp, although most digital models now also support private calling as well.
So in summary, choosing the right wireless communications device for your business is a case of choosing the right tools for the job. Mobile phones are great for business, and are helping to revolutionise working patterns. Two-way radio, on the other hand, is built with a different set of needs in mind. For mission critical communications, when safety and security depends on clear lines of contact, two-way radio remains much more reliable and robust. Which in short is why it continues to represent a sound investment for all types of business.
To find out more about the very latest in two-way radio technology, please visit the Brentwood Communications website, or why not give us a call on 01245 403528 to talk to one of our friendly consultants.