With over 11 million people employed in Australia and more than 9 million adult Smartphone users, it is reasonable to assume that most workers have a Smartphone.
The vast majority of these Smartphone owners would use them to (a) make a telephone call and (b) send SMS and access search engines, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, personal email, navigation systems, music, movies, news, and, in some cases, enterprise business applications.
The impact these devices have made on our working and private lives has been enormous. However, despite this dramatic increase in the use of Smartphones and other mobile computing devices across many business groups, they are not widely or efficiently used in enterprise communications.
One of the most important goals of telephone communication is the ability to talk to individuals, work groups, or even the entire enterprise.
The question I ask is this: Why has business been slow to use these devices for critical instant communications?
In today’s communications environment, a business can instantly communicate with its workforce. Unfortunately, most businesses do not exploit the full potential of these latest mobile devices as Push 2 Talk (PTT) devices for instant communications.
We have come a long way since Senior Constable Frederick William Downie of the Victorian Police developed the first truly mobile two-way radio in 1923.
Many businesses fail to take full advantage of these new Smartphones because they use other PTT systems, including those from Motorola, Tait Radio, or a plethora of other smaller companies supplying traditional two way radio solutions.
Smartphones and other mobile devices have not been seen as an alternative to these traditional systems when it comes to business critical solutions, so most businesses have not taken full advantage of these devices to create a truly enterprise-wide voice communications network.
This has resulted in disjointed communications networks. If a business group cannot instantly talk to another group because of incompatible devices or networks, then this is certainly a drawback. To gain greater efficiency, businesses should be able to communicate instantly and easily at the push of a button with no complications caused by incompatible devices or vendor networks.
As most businesses rely on traditional two-way radio systems for instant communications, they rarely experience this instant, enterprise-wide connectivity.
(1) As a stand-alone system, traditional radio networks have certain limitations and are not the ideal communications solution when it comes to enterprise-wide solutions.
(2) Most systems are of a proprietary nature, which means that they are not naturally interoperable with other solutions, even with other radio systems.
(3) Traditional two way radio devices are purely single function devices limited to voice communications.
(4) Radio networks are moreover limited by geographic reach and cannot effectively link workers located across the entire footprint of an enterprise.
In most cases, businesses do not want to simply replace these radio systems because they can be used where rugged or semi rugged, durable, or intrinsically safe devices are required.
The assumption that business must choose between solutions based entirely on traditional radio solutions or entirely on smart devices is misguided. There are other options that allow businesses to use radio systems while linked to Smartphones and other newer devices, lowering the costs and providing a wider footprint for enterprise communications.
It is possible to extend the reach of older legacy systems so that traditional two-way radio users can reach others outside of their radio networks and connect to staff carrying smart devices like iPhones, Android, and Windows Smartphones.
Today there is no reason that any organization should limit its PTT infrastructure to traditional two-way radio systems. Any and every organization can have connectivity to more powerful devices and the latest network technologies being deployed by the Telco’s. These networks and Smartphones allow for PTT that extends across an enterprise.
These traditional two-way radio networks are often expensive to maintain or upgrade. As standalone systems, they cannot deliver PTT across an entire enterprise.
The ultimate aim of communications systems should be ubiquitous connectivity. This would mean that enterprises could continue to use both legacy devices and the latest mobile technologies as required, allowing two-way radio systems, Smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptop PCs to communicate on one platform.
Now a dispatcher on a desktop can manage PTT channels for users carrying any combination of two-way radios and Smartphones. This type of enterprise-wide PTT solution, where everyone from senior management, team leaders, to mobile field teams, has real-time access to one another regardless of locations, devices, or networks, is game-changing for enterprise communications.
In a bygone era, blending incumbent and new technologies to create a more advanced solution would have been extremely complex. Enterprises that relied on two-way radios and cellular networks to communicate must realize that these systems alone are no longer adequate in an environment where much more powerful instant communications solutions are available.
With a surplus of new available mobile devices, communications should be simpler and not more complex. Deploying an enterprise-wide instant communications solution, through which any member of staff can communicate with any other regardless of device, network, or location, makes simplicity a reality.