Why Two-Way Radio Just Won’t Die Let's go! Home » News » Blog » Why Two-Way Radio Just Won’t Die Blog: Why Two-Way Radio Just Won’t Die Published: 24/03/2021 “You mean, walkie talkies? Oh. Who uses those these days?” Anyone in the two-way radio industry will recognise this conversation. They’ll have had it multiple times when chat turns to chosen career paths. There are two main ways to respond. The first involves a little smile and the words, “You’d be surprised,” before steering the conversation back to their “normal” job. The second way is to go into a convoluted rant about the past, present and future of radio. Those unfortunate enough to experience this second response will end up nodding politely, wishing they hadn’t asked in the first place! To answer the original question, two-way radios are used in almost every sector, from aviation to agriculture, hospitality to healthcare. What’s more, as we move into the 2020s, the two-way radio industry isn’t showing any sign of shrinking. The era of the fixed household telephone has gone – radios remain. Nokia mobiles were replaced with Blackberrys which, in turn, were replaced by IOS and Android smart devices. In comparison, the evolution of two-way radio has been infinitely less dramatic. So how has the two-way radio hung on and thrived? Over the next few paragraphs, I’ll attempt to answer this question and explain why two-way radio is still relevant today. CONNECT, COMMUNICATE, COORDINATE The vast majority of professions involve some level of teamwork, which requires good communication. In sectors where communication is time-critical, two-way radio gives something unique – instant two-way voice communication, to a whole group. Take Security Officers. They need to update team members about ongoing and evolving situations, whilst staying focused. Just think how difficult this would be via multiple telephone calls or WhatsApp messages. Even a smartphone push-to-talk app has its limitations. With a two-way radio, the Officer can press one dedicated button and instantly connect to dozens of people. They can also hear messages from other team members without touching their radio. The value of one-to-many group calling can’t be underestimated. For day-to-day operations, it can be a time-saver – and in crisis scenarios, it can be a lifesaver. Many digital two-way radios provide one-to-one calling, but it’s rarely used. Group calls remain the preference. One of our clients in the agriculture sector recently gave an example of traipsing around his farm looking for some machinery, phoning several of his colleagues, only to find that another team member was using it, who he hadn’t even considered. Now the farm uses radios, these situations don’t happen. Every worker hears and can respond to every message – saving a lot of time. This example certainly isn’t unique and can be found in transportation, retail and countless other sectors. YOU BREAK IT, YOU BOUGHT IT Fancy throwing your smartphone out of a window? Think it would survive the drop? Thought not! Most smartphones are designed to be small, lightweight and discreet – not durable and robust. This makes them completely unsuitable for the likes of construction sites. Conversely, we’ve had radios run over by JCBs, fallen from cranes, and dropped in the sea. The vast majority still work without any repair – though they do need a good clean-up! When one accidental drop of your iPhone can cost hundreds of pounds, two-way radios provide peace of mind. COST Right up there with the surprise my friends and family express when I tell them my company sells two-way radios, is the shock of how much one costs. “A few hundred pounds per radio?” they express in disbelief. Let’s unpack that. You can expect to get around 8-10 years out of a top-quality two-way radio. How many years will you get out of your smartphone? A few? So, with radio, you’re looking at the return-on-investment over a much longer period. Then there are the monthly/yearly ongoing costs associated with the device. In most cases, the ongoing cost of owning a two-way radio system is negligible. If your warehouse team were issued with smartphones, you’d spend £15-£45 per device, per month, just to stay connected. If you deploy a two-way radio system, the only significant ongoing costs are the Ofcom licences (less than a few hundred per year), optional maintenance and replacement batteries. THE FUTURE There are other reasons why two-way radios have remained the standout solution for so many. Some benefits, such as independent and reliable coverage, are slightly less relevant now, as cellular and Wi-Fi networks reach further and become increasingly reliable. But many of the reasons two-way radios were needed in the 1980s remain today. Whilst people need instant communication, radio is going nowhere. The technology behind it, push-to-talk, is spreading faster with the evolution of Push-to-talk Over Cellular/broadband (PoC or BPTT). We’ll explore the PoC revolution in a future blog. Whether you use analogue radio, digital radio or PoC, the need for simple, effective push-to-talk functionality just will not die. Contact DTS Name* Company* Telephone* Email* How can we help?