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Chicomm Blog

Cell Phones or Two-way Radios? No Contest

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

cell-phones-or-two-way-radios-no-contesteditLet's be honest, cell phones are a wonderful tool for personal communications; but when it comes to cell phones or two-way radios for work or public safety, the fact is that no phone, no matter how smart, can compete.

People who work in education, manufacturing, healthcare or public safety simply can’t rely on cell phone technology, and two-way radio communications offer so many more relevant benefits for nearly every situation.

From longer battery life to lower cost of ownership, here are 10 benefits to consider when deciding between cell phones or two-way radios.

Longer Battery Life

What good is a communications tool if it dies? Most cell phones lose the vast majority of their battery life during a typical workday for those who use them regularly. This means that if your organization chooses to rely on cell phones for communication, you may be left in the dark at the worst possible times.

For example, what if there is an emergency on your campus or at your plant but your cell phone was dead? How would you communicate? By swapping out your cell phones for digital radios, you eliminate the stress of not being able to communicate due to a dead battery, as two-way radios can last twice as long as typical cell phones.

Better Network Security

Digital two-way radios offer a vast improvement in terms of security, as they help to ensure privacy via a closed network. On the other hand, cell phones use public networks to communicate, leaving those communications vulnerable to security threats.

Improved Call Quality and Coverage

With cell phones, users become vulnerable to dead spots and have to rely on their proximity to cell towers for their reception. This isn’t practical for those in public safety, manufacturing, healthcare, or education sectors. These workers need to remain constantly connected and dropped calls hinders the communication that they rely on in order to stay safe and efficient.

With two-way radios, users no longer have to rely on the cell tower or have to worry about pitfalls such as dead zones, network outages or overloaded cell towers. They receive excellent reception and an expanded coverage area, leading to a better communications experience.

Noise-Cancelling Technology

Speaking of call quality, cell phone calls can be easily disrupted by other noises in the environment, i.e. machines, traffic, or just simply other people. This is due to the basic microphone technology used by our cell phones that tend to pick up everything without cancelling anything.

This can be avoided by communicating via radio. Most two-way radios now offer some form of noise cancelling technology that can help eliminate wind interference and other common noises. This ensures clear communication regardless of the environment the user is in. Even in the noisiest workplaces and situations, conversations still need to happen, and radios have the technology to ensure words come across and background noise does not.

Superior Durability

Have you ever seen one of those “drop tests” for smartphones? People record themselves dropping their phones to see how durable they are even after slamming into the ground. Most of the time, the screen cracks and some even find the phone stops working all together.

Organizations can avoid this by relying on radio communication. Most radios are built to withstand extreme environments and can still be relied upon even after an event that would render your typical cell phone useless.

More Practical User Interface

One of the biggest issues with using cell phones for organizational communication (like on campus or in the field) is that these devices are designed for so much more than just voice communication. For example, most phones have a user interface cluttered with applications that users in the field or on the job have no use for. This can cause confusion and delays, which are actually avoided by the simple-to-use user interface two-way radios offer. Basically, radios are designed for these environments, phones are not.

With two-way radios users can also use the push-to-talk button to instantly communicate, even if they’re wearing heavy gloves, are using a headset or have radios strapped to their bodies.

Enhanced Communication Capabilities

When you communicate via phone, you are locked into one-on-one communication or a three-person call. Digital two-way radios offer prompt one-to-many communication, meaning users can communicate with the whole team much more efficiently than with a cell phone.

Radio solutions can be tailored to allow for one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many communications. And radio coverage can be measured in miles, not feet, so that spread-out users will always be in touch.

Better Suited for Emergency Situations

As mentioned above, cell phones can be rendered useless if dropped or located in a dead spot, both of which can occur in emergencies. Whether it is a man-down situation or a natural disaster, users need to have a communications device designed to function even in an emergency situation. This helps keep the team safe, as well as any who may rely on them.

Two-way radios have a number of applications and features, such as man down and lone worker, specifically designed to monitor and ensure worker safety. Radios also have GPS and Bluetooth capabilities to pinpoint users’ locations.

Cost Savings

This one is very simple: those who use cell phones for their communication pay a monthly bill. Those who use digital two-way radios have the option to own their devices, i.e. no month-to-month payments and a lower total cost of ownership.

Motorola estimates that a two-way radio solution can pay for itself in less than 18 months.

Radios are Just More Practical

Cell phones are an incredible tool for many situations. However, they were not designed for organizational communications the way that two-way radios are. Radio communications are the superior choice when compared to cell phones. You can read all about it in our free resource below!

Other Smart Alternatives to Cell Phones

Mobile Radios

For mobile workers, the choice of radios over cell phones is even easier given that the Department of Transportation regulations that ban cell phone use for commercial drivers don’t apply to radios. That means drivers can use mobile radios to communicate without having to pull over or stop their vehicles to talk. Mobile radios also offer the same benefits as two-way radios.

Motorola WAVE Group Communications

Motorola WAVE Group Communications is great solution for bridging the gap between workers who use two-way radios and those who don’t. WAVE's push-to-talk (PTT) platform allows users to communicate between smartphones, radios, computers or landlines.

WAVE comes in several configurations, including:

WAVE 3000: Connects Motorola MotoTRBO radio systems to mobile broadband. Radio PTT is delivered via an application that connects through a WAVE 3000 server. WAVE 3000 can also be deployed for broadband- only PTT. Best for: small to medium organizations.

WAVE 5000: In addition to the mobile applications for smart devices, WAVE 5000 has PTT applications for PCs, including everything from dispatcher capabilities to a less complex browser-based solution. Best for: enterprises.

WAVE Connections: Doesn't require an upfront investment in WAVE software and places everything in the cloud. Connections works with all providers for a monthly subscription. Companies can either keep their current service or chose a provider with the voice and data plan that fits their needs. Best for: any size, particularly small.

The 3 Rs of Radios: Reliability, Reach & ROI

Cell phones are arguably the most ubiquitous personal consumer electronics that exist– in fact, there are nearly as many cell phone subscriptions in the world as there are people. 

But the key words here are “personal” and “consumer”: Cell phones are the perfect communications tool for consumers looking for the immediacy we’ve all come to take for granted in our personal lives.

In professional environments, however, digital two-way radios provide 3 Rs – reliability, reach and return on investment – that cell phones can’t counter.

For more information and a free demo of two-way digital radios for your business or agency, contact Chicago Communications today!

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