Why use a radio over a mobile phone?

A mobile phone has become an integral part of our daily lives, whether that is communicating with friends, family or work.  However, when it comes to a commercial environment a mobile phone cannot be relied upon for all your communication requirements. Like any profession, the right tool for the job is required.  For effective communication in a commercial environment, a radio is a tool that can guarantee a level of support and safety that a mobile phone cannot.

 

There are many benefits to a Push-To-Talk Over Cellular (PTToC) radio or LTE radio over a phone that are more suited to a work environment.  Let’s take a look at a few now:

Battery life

A mobile phone’s battery performance declines faster due to the number of applications running in the background whereas a radio or an LTE radio also known as  push-to-talk over cellular is designed specifically for work and safety-related applications (i.e. GPS tracking, etc.) to run without impacting on performance.  So when you need to communicate during an emergency the radio will be available.  The batteries used in the LTE radio are designed specifically for commercial use in mind.  They are manufactured to withstand tough environments and harsh temperatures.

Network Security

Digital two-way radio devices are designed for security and to ensure the privacy of communication across a network.   Security and privacy are two major concerns when it comes to any business or government communication over a network.  Traditional radio and mobile phones have their limitations when it comes to the levels of privacy they are able to offer.  With the LTE radio, you control the network.

What do we mean by an LTE device controlling its network?  In the case of Icom (Australia), the IP501H the network communication is managed by a Cloud Server which is physically based in Australia and has had to undergo strict levels of corporate governance around the data being transmitted to and over the system network.  This data will not be relayed through a cloud server in another country where it could run the risk of being misused by a third party where privacy laws are not as strict as Australia’s.

Noise cancelling technology

Your mobile phone is designed for general purpose calling.  The unit is not built with the function for communicating in a loud manufacturing environment or mining site.  The noise cancelling technology of the radio or LTE radio is purpose built for these loud environments.   They have been engineered to remove some of the background noise improving the level of communication and eliminating the risk of miscommunication.

 

Design durability

The LTE radio IP67 Dust tight and waterproof rated and tested to withstand being submerged in 1m of water for 30 minutes. As well as being designed to handle the rigors of a tough environment that workers will put it through on a daily basis.  Mobile phones are designed for aesthetic appearance and not for harsh working environments.

User interface

The radio is designed with a simple quick user interface to improve speed and flow of communication among the group.  A perfect example is in a work environment where it is a requirement to wear gloves on the site.  The interface is designed with this in mind allowing for a quick flow of communication. Whereas a mobile phone needs direct skin contact in order to activate the screen and navigate the menu.  The time taken to remove gloves and make the phone call could delay the flow of crucial information and also under certain circumstances pose a serious threat to the workers safety.

Emergency Situations

If the user of a push-to-talk over cellular or POC finds themselves in a situation requiring emergency assistance than they need only push the emergency button on the unit to send a message to all members of the group or an individual for an immediate response.  A mobile phone needs to have a number dialled and the user needs to wait for a connection on the other end. The IP501H LTE radio also offers priority interrupt calling which allows for a call to be broken into in the case of an emergency where an announcement needs to be made.

Alternative Remote Communication Options

An alternative that many people say is the satellite phone.  To review this option lets work through the process of purchasing and using a satellite phone.

The first step is that the business will need to purchase a satellite phone handset for their staff to use.  This can be a heavy investment of around $1000.  In addition to the handset they will need to purchase some minutes with a satellite company provider.

When it comes to your staff making a call it is transmitted to the nearest satellite orbiting overhead that is attached to the satellite minute provider.  Line of sight connection with the satellite orbiting overhead is required.  Keep in mind that the satellite phone will not work well in buildings, covered areas, near tall buildings or during bad weather.

With most satellite company providers, calling another provider is quite expensive. Receiving calls can be very costly as well, especially if it originates from a landline.

It has also been found that the voice quality on many of the satellite networks may be a lot lower due to the bandwidth being limited to optimize power requirements. There may also be latency delay when you talk and the other party responds. This can happen when you are talking through a system that has satellites in geostationary orbit.

Although a satellite phone maybe good in those remote areas the cost and restrictions in communication capabilities are limited.  On the other hand, mobile phones as we all know are useful and we all have them for our daily activities. However, when it comes to a commercial environment you and your staff need a purpose-driven tool like the IP501H that is designed for the purpose of ensuring safety and efficient communication in a work environment.