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At what point should you upgrade your business’ legacy communications infrastructure and supplement it with modern, digital business communication devices? When it fails? When it becomes too costly to maintain? When it fails to provide the features you need?

For some businesses, the whole notion of upgrading the communications network is far down their list of priorities. They instead just ‘get by’ using smartphones and tablets and instead choosing to retrofit them to suit business needs, unaware of the benefits that digital business  communications devices, such as two-way radios, can provide.

Of course, whilst this process can work, it’s often time-consuming, resource intensive and expensive. It also leaves holes in the communications infrastructure that sometimes cannot be plugged.

In this blog, we’ll share five signs it’s time to upgrade your digital communications, as well as the business benefits of doing so.

  1. You have no tracking software or tools

Having positional monitoring or some form of GPS tracking will ensure site managers are aware of where personnel are and that they can respond quickly in the case of an accident.

From a communications perspective, these tools allow managers to receive routine updates and check that activities are going as planned. They can regularly check in with remote workers via their business communication device (most likely a two-way radio), ask for a location update and check that information on their screen via GPS tracking. This way, managers – and personnel – have an accurate understanding of just where their colleagues are and how the operation is going.

Tools like TRBOnet, for example, can facilitate these functions and further augment existing communications solutions, adding things like route management, alert handling and indoor tracking. Though TRBO works best with two-way radios, it can be expanded to smartphone devices as well.

  1. You can’t communicate with more than one employee at a time

Relaying instructions to specific teams in across an operation – rather than just group-wide – requires a digital communications solution that allows for separate communication channels. Smartphones, for example, only allow for one-to-one communication, meaning that if a manager needed to speak to more than one person, they would have no choice but to call or text them individually.

Two-way radios and other more advanced business communication devices allow for channel-based communication. Using channels, those connected to that channel can communicate with one another in real-time. This approach would allow managers to relay instructions to separate teams across an operation, reducing the time it takes to get everyone up to speed, which could be crucial in a security or rescue operation. Channels are also encrypted and operate on a private network, meaning no one can eavesdrop and obtain sensitive information – again, very useful for security activities.

  1. You have no functions to keep employees safe when they are working alone

If an employee is working alone in another area of the site, site managers need to ensure that they have some kind of safety solution in place to monitor those employees and send help if necessary.

For instance, a construction worker could be working alone in a hazardous and unmanned area of a site and equipment could fall on them or they could hurt themselves. How do they call for help? The injured employee may not be able to reach for their mobile phone to request aid – so there needs to be a failsafe that ensures help is sent regardless.

Unlike smartphones, digital business communication devices like two-way radios come equipped with ‘lone worker’ and higher tier radios with ‘man down’ functionality. The lone worker option will make the radio sound a tone at regular intervals, if the user fails to respond, all the other radios are alerted.

Man down, on the other hand, is essentially a tilt switch that can detect the angle of the radio along with any movement. If the device is tilted or becomes inactive for a specified period of time, a pre-set alarm protocol is initialised. The radio will first attempt to get a respond from the user but if there is no response, an alarm will be sent to a designated device, alerting the supervisor that there is a problem.

  1. You can’t connect your communications networks across the county or across other countries

Particularly for international businesses with cross-border operations, having multi-site and IP site connectivity will allow workers to communicate with colleagues in the region or across the border. With such infrastructure in place, teams across the country or offshore can readily communicate in real-time and provide regular updates on the status of the operation and whether it’s going smoothly.

For example, maybe the regional transport manager for Eurostar at London St Pancras needs to communicate with the management team in Paris at the Gare du Nord regarding the latest timetable and train maintenance – he or she can quickly pick up a two-way radio, dial in to the correct channel and issue that information in real-time. No delays. No confusion.

Having this kind of digital communications network in place is increasingly essential for large-scale international businesses and will help to reduce delays and maximise productivity.

  1. Your communications network is made up of mobile phones

According to a research report by Hytera, 82% of those reviewed said that mobile phones were their primary means of communication – and less than a third of the businesses reviewed provided employees with lone worker technology.

The reality, however, is that mobile devices lack the critical functions that employees need in fast-paced and harsh and hazardous environments. Mobile devices might be affordable and more accessible for some businesses but could be a bottleneck in the future.

Here’s why mobile devices are an issue:

  • Fragile and not waterproof
  • Only allow one-to-one communication
  • Poor battery life
  • Reliant on the network provider’s signal quality
  • No noise cancelling technology
  • Require third-party apps to be used in a business environment
  • Costly to repair and maintain
  • A connection is required for communication – no real-time communication
  • Cannot be integrated into a business’ digital communications network
  • Requires signal from a phone tower
  • Cannot be ‘expanded’ to form a communications network without a lot of modification

Two-way radios do not have any of these problems, making them the perfect solution for any business requiring enterprise-grade communication devices across a large area or multiple sites.


At DTS, we specialise in two-way radios, business communication devices and infrastructure. Whilst most suppliers will provide communications solutions as standard, our expert technicians can modify your radios to suit your business requirements or specific operational environment. If you are looking to overhaul, expand or improve your digital communications or infrastructure, please get in touch and we’ll see how we can help.