Instant communication is essential. How good is your process?
Simple, instant push-to-talk communication is as critical in today’s world of sophisticated smartphones and mobile devices as it’s ever been.
For example, the ability for a school bus driver to push a single button on a two-way radio to talk to a dispatcher, a specific bus, or an entire group of buses and the dispatcher at once will always be a big part of efficient and safe daily operations on his or her route.
Smartphones are great, but not for instant push-to-talk communication.
A smartphone, although useful in many other ways, can never truly take the place of a push-to-talk (PTT) two-way radio (or “radio,” as we'll call it from here on out) that’s been designed to be universally user-friendly and to respond immediately at the push of a button.
Unlike a smartphone, a radio is always ready to go.
A radio doesn’t “time out” or require the user to unlock it between uses, and it doesn’t need an app that has to stay open and running at all times in order to offer anything close to a true push-to-talk experience. A radio also doesn’t provide the user with distractions like social media and email notifications and alerts popping up—or phone calls coming in at inconvenient times—on a device that’s needed for instant push-to-talk communication.
LMR and PoC: Two solid paths to reliable PTT communications.
Typically, push-to-talk communication like in the school bus driver example above is done with the use of traditional land mobile radio (LMR) technology, which uses the antennas on mobile (vehicle or base station) or portable (handheld) radios to send and receive audio (sound) back and forth. This means that in order for radios to “talk to” and “hear” one another, their antennas must either be within a limited distance (or “range”) of each other, or in range of a separate, higher-powered antenna connected to a repeater which then carries the audio between radios that would otherwise be too far away from each other to be able to communicate efficiently, if at all.
While LMR wide-area coverage solutions, like DMR Tier 2 or Tier 3 for example, are oftentimes valuable and practical options, they can require an initial investment in engineering and infrastructure like repeaters, towers, and antennas to provide optimal usability and coverage, and/or a monthly subscriber fee per radio to use a third-party’s existing LMR network.
Some general caveats of LMR may include things like purchasing and maintaining the FCC-licensed broadcast frequencies that are required for legal usage, as well as its dependence on variables like antenna height and characteristics, and even on strange things happening within the atmosphere that could interfere with a radio’s performance.
PoC is designed to work right out of the box.
Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) is an advanced version of earlier, similar PTT technology that’s been in development and in varying use for decades. Unlike its predecessors, though, it offers far better reliability and usability than the older technology and devices were able to provide, and it operates on the same national high-speed cellular networks that our mobile phones and devices use.
Since modern PoC devices connect to widely-available cell towers and operate on established LTE networks across the United States, coverage issues are easily solved or avoided completely. No need for any additional antennas, engineering, or infrastructure outside of possibly adding something like a cellular signal booster in a particularly stubborn building or facility.
In addition to eliminating the upfront costs that can accompany an LMR solution, the monthly LTE service fee for PoC devices can also be substantially less than an average cellphone plan or DMR Tier 2 or Tier 3 subscriber fee.
Instant push-to-talk communication in a single location or across the entire country, and dispatching and location management from a Windows PC, iOS, or Android device.
Devices like RadioManUSA RMM-750 mobile and RMP-700 portable PoC radios also come equipped with built-in GPS which ties in seamlessly with the optional full-featured RealPTT Dispatcher desktop and mobile app for location and communications management.
LMR or PoC? The choice is up to you.
Land mobile radio and Push-to-Talk over Cellular each offer great features and benefits, and they are both solid and dependable forms of instant push-to-talk communication.