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Reliable communications are an essential part of any workplace situation but never more so in an emergency scenario, or when workers are carrying out tasks in isolation or within hazardous and unpredictable environments.

To meet this need, many businesses have turned to mobile phones as their device of choice for communication in a work environment, over the use of digital two-way radios, despite some research suggesting that mobile phones are not the preferred device among employees, and actually represent an ‘unnecessary’ cost burden.

Mobile phones also come with their own, potentially more dangerous downsides, when it comes to workplace communications as they are all fine in an office environment where workers have access to reliable network connections, but in hazardous and isolated environments mobile phones can be extremely unreliable.

So the question remains, how do digital two way radios stack up against mobile phones and why should businesses be looking to this robust device to keep their employees safe?


Maybe the biggest downside of mobile phones is that they are built for the consumer market and are not able to withstand the extreme and hazardous environments when they are most needed. Simply dropping a mobile phone can be enough to break the device, so expecting it to stand up to extreme temperatures or hazardous environments is a lot to ask. Two-way radios on the other hand are tested to military standards to ensure they are able to withstand extreme environments; so they are far more reliable as a communications tool in an emergency situation.


Anyone who has ever used a mobile phone for an extended period understands the frustration of seeing the battery dwindle ever quicker – this is largely because mobile phones are not equipped with batteries designed for constant use. The prospect of an employee’s communications device running out of battery during an emergency situation is not a risk that can be taken. Two-way radios on the other hand are built to be used for long periods of time and, if they do run out of battery, these can easily be switched out.

Group communication

In many emergency situations there is a need to communicate with large numbers of people at once, to ensure information is disseminated as quickly as possible. Mobile phones cannot offer this as they are only able to facilitate one-to-one communication. Compare this to digital two-way radios which broadcast messages to numerous people simultaneously or can be configured to send alerts to specific devices – this is essential for workers in need of emergency assistance.

Emergency functions

Digital two-way radios offer a plethora of emergency alerts and functions which are essential for the safety of workers in emergency situations or in isolated areas. Features like lone worker – which send out regular alarms at set intervals, and require employees to react to them to confirm they are still ok – or the man down functionality which can provide a configurable and vital safety feature and increases confidence levels of employees that they can be helped, if they find themselves in difficult situations.