For over a century, Two-Way Radios have been used in multiple sectors. We find it quite impressive to think that, in a world where tech devices are replaced so quickly, the walkie-talkie is still relevant today.
Over the years, two-way radio devices have definitely evolved to adapt to our ever-changing needs and requirements, but can they really outperform phones in the workplace?
Let’s first have a look at some of the mainstream modes of communication available:
As the name suggests, landline telephones require fixed locations and an infrastructure relying heavily on extensive cable networks. In South Africa, these are usually installed and supported by Telkom.Fixed lines may be perfect for people working in office desk jobs, but they are much less practical for the factory floor, construction site, school grounds, university campus, or any other work site that requires workers to be mobile while talking to each other.
Fixed lines may be perfect for people working in office desk jobs, but they are much less practical for the factory floor, construction site, school grounds, university campus, or any other work site that requires workers to be mobile while talking to each other.
Mobile phones and smartphones offer excellent mobile communication as long as their batteries are charged and they have adequate signal strength. However, mobile coverage is notoriously inadequate in some and totally unavailable in other areas, for example, remote areas and indoor spots like elevators, stairwells and underground tunnels. Furthermore, cellphone service (GSM networks) are easily overloaded in an emergency, rendering it useless when needed most.
Sending texts or emails are great options for people who are (more) comfortable with instant silent communication, but some people are just more comfortable when having an actual voice conversation – and some information simply must be conveyed by voice. Such scenarios render text and email useless.
Digital two-way radios with keypads and displays can be ideal for texting along with all of the other benefits they provide.
Now let’s contrast them with some advantages of two-way radios:
Mobile & Durable
Two-way radios are more durable in rugged environments and often meet waterproof and dustproof military specifications so they can be used effectively just about anywhere.
Unlike cellphones, obstructions are not a major challenge. Your two-way radios might just require added power or the addition of repeaters to increase signal range. In larger facilities and across vast campuses, distributed antennas and bi-directional amplifiers can even boost signals further in even the most challenging environments. This is why two-way radios are so essential in jobs like warehousing, security or property management where users have to roam over wide areas.
On two-way radios, users push just one button to talk to each other, saving the trouble of scrolling through a contacts list and workgroups can be programmed to give users the choice between communicating with a whole team, or with other users one-to-one.
This flexibility makes workers much more efficient and it’s invaluable in emergencies or other situations where critical communications are vital.
With a cellphone or landline telephone, you have no choice but to wait for the call to 1) connect and start ringing, and 2) be answered. On a two-way radio, one-button functionality enables instant voice communication as soon as you start talking.
Instant communications are not only vital in any emergency when delays can cost lives, but also to speed maintenance technicians to the site of production line breakdowns or to help sales staff check with the warehouse to see if more products are available.
On a two-way radio network, a single user can call an entire group of people with the push of one button. Ever tried to set up a conference call or find different workgroups using a cell phone in a hurry?
Digital technology makes radios even cooler:
Digital radios convert voice signals into packets of data that can be transmitted over traditional networks, both wired and wireless. This makes your two-way radio a computing device that can send texts, receive text (including emails) and transmit voice signals around the world via the internet.
Digital radios also improve sound quality in noisy areas, and they use less battery power than analog radios, which means you can keep them on the job for longer periods of time.
They can even generate user data that can help track people’s locations and identify inefficiencies to help make businesses more profitable.
“Now, aren’t you glad we’re still here?”
– Two Way Radios everywhere
If you have already tried buying some two way radios (walkie talkies) for yourself, you will now know that there are quite a few ICASA rules and regulations that needs to be adhered to.
One of them, is the fact that you need (a) your own ICASA Spectrum frequency, or (b) permission to use someone else’s (eg. Radio Rentals).
We would be happy to see what type of Rental Arrangement we can come up with to suit your communication needs and resources, but if you still prefer to just pay & go, have a look at the Vertex Standard VX-241 license-free walkie talkie.
This rugged little buddy, needs no proof of frequency licenses or radio certificates before it can be purchased. It comes pre-programmed, and the range on it is about 3 km (line-of-sight).
Various optional accessories are available for this handheld radio, but what comes standard in each box, is:
- Antenna (fixed onto radio)
- Battery (1380mAh Lithium Ion)
- Charging bucket (cradle) & Adaptor
- Belt Clip
- User Manual & Safety Guide
Oh! And have we mentioned the 12-month product warranty? It covers all mechanical failures on the radio for 1 year from date of purchase (same warranty as on all other Vertex Standard radios).