Over the last decade, mobile phones have changed our lives dramatically in the way we communicate, exchange information and make phone calls, with more people shifting to different communications apps and away from traditional telephony services. This is due to major technology breakthroughs in contemporary mobile networks that are incredibly fast, reliable and provide massive coverage.
The only niche which has been slow in adopting the advantages of mobile networks is radio network communications (also known as walkie-talkie). Radio communications using VHF or UFH frequencies are still in use and in very high demand for applications where instant and group communications are required.
Almost every farmer, construction site worker, security officer, transport, logistic, events management company staff or emergency crew member has an individual VHF/UHF Radio on their belt. This radio provides instant voice communications with analogue or DMR (digital mobile radio) technologies, but we may do much better with Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PTToC or PoC) service. Unlike a dedicated radio, Push-to-Talk uses the mobile operator network as a carrier, and the capabilities of the Push-to-Talk Platform provides a huge boost for critical communications.
- Unlimited radius: Push-to-Talk uses any type of Internet for back-to-base connectivity. This maybe your corporate or home Wi-Fi network, mobile 3G/4G coverage from your operator, satellite, etc. In any case, once you connect to the internet, you are connected to your company channels and groups. You may be in a different state, or even a different country away from your team, yet stay connected and be part of all communications.
- Any device: You not only get a great selection of user devices with different implementations, such as portables, vehicle-mounted and wearables but extended choices with software applications, turning almost every device into your radio. The Push-to-Talk app may be installed on any smartphone, turning your smartphone into radio in a minute – from wearable smartwatches or glasses, to dispatch centres and personal computers coordinating multiple teams.
- Encryption: All communications are encrypted from the very beginning, providing security for your conversations. GPS-tracking and sharing coordinates: All transmissions may be achieved with user GPS coordinates, which provide great visibility for each member on a map. Dispatchers can see and efficiently coordinate all users. There is an emergency SOS button that enables you to share the current coordinates of all users when urgent assistance is required. Multiple channels and group combinations: As all settings are set through the push-to-talk platform, without any dedicated frequencies or DTMF codes – multiple groups or channels can be created for different tasks or groups. Drivers may communicate with other drivers and dispatchers when security guards talk to each other. Overarching groups can include all organisations, and members can be combined within different groups and channels.
- Video communications and video sharing: This is probably one of the key differentiators from the previous radio generations. Organisations may have video chats, where people can see each other if required. They can transmit their own video as well as transmitting video to channels for situation awareness according to demand. A first responder can start transmitting a fire situation to the channel upon arrival to let everyone else see the situation on-site. Or you can have a permanent CCTV camera on-site with your own channel, where everyone can connect at any time and have a look.
- Instant chats and file sharing: This function is not new in any way for any messenger users, but it’s a great advantage to have it integrated to your communication device, enabling you to share pictures or messages within the same groups. Dispatch may also send notification messages to everyone with warnings or other information.
- Flexible infrastructure options: While you can start in a minute using our highly reliable cloud-based servers, there is an option for the installation of mini-servers directly on your site. This works perfectly when communications are required in remote, isolated areas without stable internet access.
- Interconnect with legacy devices: If you already have a developed radio infrastructure on your site, there’s a PTT Gateway which allows interconnection with the on-site radio through the cloud or an on-premise based PTT system. In this scenario, you may slowly move towards PTT over mobile by using your existing system. In the same way, two remote radio sites can be interconnected and work as a single site.
PrivateLTE is a branch of the Australian Phone Company, helping small and medium businesses for almost a decade with telecommunication services. We are happy to supply equipment, develop solutions or provide a full cycle of turn-key project deployment if required.
Please visit our website https://privatelte.com/australia-push-to-talk-ptt/ for more details about push-to-talk services and private mobile networks.
The article was originally published for Australian BiziNet magazine: http://www.bizinet.net.au/bizinet/article/106/356-have-you-tried-push-to-talk-over-mobile-yet-