Two-way radios (Land Mobile Radio (LMR)) have been the mainstay of mobile team communications for many years. And for good reason: They’re robust, fault tolerant during emergencies, and most importantly, reliably enable one person at a time to speak to one or more listeners simultaneously.
With the rapid development of LTE (Long-Term Evolution) high-speed wireless communications for mobile devices, we now have new options for mobile teams that take advantage of commercial networks. Similar to PTT, Push-to-Talk Over Cellular (PoC) utilizes these commercial LTE wireless networks for communications.
So what’s needed for companies wishing to try out PoC/LTE communications? You’ll need just these four things: 1) a mobile device, 2) a data network, 3) a push-to-talk (PTT) app, and finally 4) specialized PoC accessories dependent on your use case.
- Mobile Device
The mobile device can be a smart phone, tablet, flip phone or a feature phone supported by a specific PTT app maker (more about this later. See #3). Common choices are Android phones and tablets from manufacturers such as Samsung, as well as Apple iPhone and iPad. You may decide that you need a highly ruggedized phone, such as manufactured by Sonim and Kyocera, and in this instance the phones are often manufactured with an integrated push-to-talk (PTT) button. No matter what mobile device is selected, you should ensure that the PTT app and all accessories are available and supported by the device and that they function flawlessly together.
- Data Network
Different types of data networks are available for PoC technologies. For data speed, and therefore speed of communication and reliability, LTE networks are the networks of choice. The data consumption of PTT apps has proven to be relatively low. Even in high communication environments, data rarely passes 1GB per month.
Wi-Fi is also an option when available.
- PTT Apps
PTT apps from various developers have different features and options related to each specific use case and industry, and some PTT apps are also offered by carriers. A disadvantage of the carrier option is that access may be restricted to a certain network, while carrier agnostic PTT apps that work cross-carrier might be a better option if you have global communication requirements. Apps supported by Savox Communications include:Aldio (Japan), ESChat, Kodiak, Bell, AT&T, Tassta, Team on the Run, TrackIt, Wave (Motorola), Zebra PTT, and Zello.
4. POC Accessories
Most mobile phones and tablets have not been designed specifically for PoC communications. That said, accessories can optimize your mobile phone and/or tablet as these accessories allow the user to keep the mobile phone in a pocket or mounted inside a truck cab. In noisy environments, accessories can increase the volume output from 60db of a mobile phone to 100 dB. For wireless communications, Bluetooth-enabled PoC accessories are also available as an option.
Want to find out more about a practical approach to using PoC for improved team communications? Download this 10-page guide and get all the details.
If you have any questions about PoC/LTE and how it can enhance efficiencies within your organization, contact Savox and we’d be happy to provide advice for you.