Let's go!

When it comes to two-way radio systems, there’s a widespread misconception that all they do is facilitate more robust communication – that their sole purpose is to allow individuals or teams to communicate in real-time across a variety of locations where mobile phones would fail.

While this assertion is not entirely incorrect, it highlights a worrying fact that many organisations are simply unaware of the business benefits two-way radios can provide – especially when it comes to expandable and truly customisable digital communications.

This point is further echoed in Hytera’s research report: ‘Worker Safety – More Than Just A Radio’. Not only are organisations failing to leverage two-way radio applications to scale communications and ensure worker safety and productivity – they are also oblivious to the full host of functionalities that two-way radios can provide.

The reality is that two-way radios are capable of much more than just real-time communication.

With the right software, two-way radios create a platform to drive all communication, monitoring, tracking and job management. This kind of functionality can then be expanded across operations (or regions) with repeaters, providing a scalable and incredibly efficient communications platform.

In this blog, we’ll highlight just a few ways two-way radio applications can provide truly customisable communications for organisations looking to scale.

Phone-to-radio, radio-to-phone communication capability

Consider an organisation making the transition from smartphone to two-way radios for example.

The organisation cannot afford to ‘turn off’ its communications to make crucial upgrades (no organisation can), so instead its infrastructure needs to be upgraded in a piecemeal fashion to minimise disruption to day-to-day business activities and allow employees on the ground to access the communications network.

As a result, staff will end up using smartphones up until the point they are provided a two-way radio.

However, the principal issue is that those using smartphones will not be able to communicate with those using two-way radios – at least, not natively. This means that staff must find another way to relay information to teams or departments within the operation that have yet to upgrade to two-way radios.

Fortunately, most two-way radio applications can be extended to legacy devices (such as smartphones and tablets) through sophisticated software. Take TRBOnet Mobile, for instance.

TRBOnet Mobile is an application for Android and iOS devices that extends the functionalities of a two-way radio network to smartphones and tablets. With the application installed, smartphones and tablets can act in the same way as a two-way radio (with essential information being delivered to the user’s device) and be seamlessly integrated into a two-way radio network.

In addition to this, TRBOnet provides a purchasable module (Telephone Interconnect) for radio systems that allows two-way radios to place and receive telephone calls. For office-based staff wanting to connect with field operators, it provides a perfect gateway to connect phones with two-way radios.

Personnel tracking and monitoring for health and safety

With the right two-way radio applications, the features of two-way radios can be extended across a communications network, as well as leveraged to provide support in areas where additional solutions would have been required.

For instance, many two-way radios provide GPS tracking, but the application or software can be installed directly to two-way radios. This feature is particularly useful for organisations in harsh and hazardous industries, such as mining, industrial, warehousing or manufacturing, as well as those in the security and transport industries.

Despite this there are many organisations which opt for a standalone solution (resulting in more costs and device management).

Instead, organisations should utilise two-way radio GPS applications alongside a standalone solution to have an accurate record of where employees are at all times. A two-way radio is significantly more reliable than a mobile phone for positional tracking (both indoor and outdoor) and has far better signal.

Also, as well as GPS tracking, more advanced two-way radios come equipped with an application called ‘Lone Worker’ – an application that gives device users a way of raising an alarm or signal for help when they are working in remote areas.

This, in conjunction with GPS tracking and standalone tracking, provides the necessary visibility managers need to ensure the health and safety of employees.

Job management tools to improve productivity

Streamlining operations is essential to increasing productivity – and organisations need to be able to communicate jobs and instructions to teams as quickly as possible.

Smartphones and tablets are already at a disadvantage on the basis they only facilitate one-to-one communication, rather than channel or region-wide communication. Two-way radios are far more efficient (as jobs can be communicated across the entire operation, to specific teams or to team members) but they can be further improved with ‘job ticketing’ applications.

Job ticketing applications are essentially task management tools that allow dispatchers to create, assign and track tasks (job tickets) across a radio network. The dispatcher (or manager) issues tasks to teams or individuals on the radio network, the teams or individuals accept the jobs and can complete the jobs with a simple click of a button or predefined text message sent from their radio.

As tasks are issued from a centralised system (the job management tool) managers have complete visibility of tasks, including details on how long those tasks take. This information can then be used to improve efficiency across the operation. Job ticketing applications can be installed easily to a number of two-way radios and provide organisations (and employees) with greater control over task management.

These are but a few applications that can be readily installed to two-way radios to provide truly customisable communications that improve productivity and health and safety. Two-way radio applications are much more than just communication solutions: they can act as the backbone of a business’ communications platform.

If you are interested in scaling your business’ communications network and leveraging the advanced functionalities that two-way radios provide, we can help.

At DTS we provide a variety of sophisticated two-way radio devices and solutions, all of which can be customised to meet your business or environment-specific needs. As well as providing the hardware, we can also help with the set-up of software, equipment and communications infrastructure to help you build your communications network.

To find out more about our services, please click here.