Two way radio options; can they be used instead of mobile phones?

Why choose radio over mobiles-

What are your two way radio options?

Are you considering using two way radios within your business or organisation?

If you are starting out, looking for a reliable communication solution, the area of two way radios can seem like a big black hole. There are endless options which invariably conjure up questions; it might feel easier to bury your head in the sand.

That’s where this ‘starters guide’ may come in handy; Let us help try and take some of the pressure off

PART 1: Why should you choose to use two way radios instead of mobile phones?

60% of the population own a mobile phone so it would seem a reasonable conclusion to make, that these devices are the best choice for business critical communications, right? Wrong!

Regardless of the make of your device, IPhone, Samsung, Nokia, in a business critical situation, the same concerns crop up time again;

  • Durability
  • Battery life
  • Practicality
  • Health and Safety
  • Coverage

Gone are the days when ‘walkie talkies’ were a one button, squawk box.

Two way radios have been developed and engineered to give the same functionality as a mobile phone but with lots of additional features.

Durability

When you spill something on a mobile phone it is game over (unless you have an Otterbox cover or something similar)

Radios are different; all radios are given an IP rating.  This lets the user understand the levels of protection each unit has against dust and water ingress.  A waterproof and dust proof unit will have a rating of IP67

Related content – what is an IP rating?

All radio's are put through rigorous factory testing, here is a snapshot of some of the tests done by radio manufacturer Hytera

Battery Life

A reliable and lengthy battery life is critical to the success of good communications.

Two way radios typically have a battery life of a day however; this is dependent on the amount of use from the radio user. Certain two way radios have been designed with long shift patterns in mind and can last up to 25 hours

 

Practicality

Step away from the desk and you will find a whole host of industries that have a plethora of issues that get in the way of using a mobile phone:

  • Gloved hands
  • Wet hands
  • Dirt
  • Loud machinery
  • Driving

I mentioned before about the IP rating of a radio; for instance, if you work on a building site it would be advisable for the IP rating of your radio to be high.  This would take away the need to worry about rain, dirt and dust.

Radios come with various practical accessories such as:

What if you need to use your radio in a hazardous environment?  

  • Oil rigs
  • Distilleries
  • Refineries

In these types of environments, Intrinsically Safe radios are a must. ATEX standard radios offer safe, reliable communications.

Health and Safety

The man down feature  that is available with many portable radios, will let you know if the device has been tilted past a certain angle. This may happen for instance if the radio user has fallen over or is unconscious or injured. The alarm will be triggered after a warning is issued to the user. This information is then fed back to a control radio / other users.

Health and Safety is enhanced with two way radio (walkie talkies)

The lone worker feature uses a timer in the radio to measure inactivity. If the timer expires, a warning is issued, and if there is no response to that, the alarm is triggered.  As with the man down  feature, the alarm signal is fed back to control.

H&S is so important in all industries, with two way radios communication Health and Safety is increased considerably.

Related content: Health and safety at outdoor events - why is communication so important?

 

Coverage

In business you need to know that the lines of communication are always open. Mobile phone coverage is not 100% reliable.

If a mobile phone carrier e.g. O2, Vodafone, has a network issue it can result in complete network failure. If your carriers network is lost, so are your communications.  

It is not just network issues that can result in lack of mobile phone coverage:

  • The distance from you to your network providers nearest phone tower
  • The materials used in the construction of your home or building
  • Natural elements such as water and trees

Related content: Health and Safety - what happens when there is no mobile signal?

Two way radios do not rely on a third party network, they give you constant, reliable coverage in all eventualities.

This makes them a great choice for many outdoor activities such as:

  • Outdoor events
  • Race and sporting coverage
  • Cross country
  • Concerts
  • Festivals

Would you like to find out what your two way radio options are? 

Have you ever come across an issue using mobile phones in a critical situation, how did you resolve it?

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