Here at Radiotronics we have previously written blog posts about Push to Talk Over Cellular radios that are entering the market place, the blogs act as product announcement explaining some of the radios key features, dimensions and capabilities without going into a great amount of detail. In this blog we will go into further detail to ensure you finish reading with a greater knowledge of how these radios can benefit your workplace.
Push to talk over cellular, commonly shortened to PoC, is a relatively new technological advancement that combines traditional two way radio functionality with innovative 21st century mobile technologies such as GPS and tracking functionalities. One question you may be asking yourself is, how is this any different to my digital two-way radio? The glaringly obvious point would be that no matter the distance between radios as long as there is cellular signal you are able to communicate instantly with your work colleagues, this being a considerable improvement on traditional radios whereby they usually only have around 1 mile in range. This can be improved upon though by the use of a trunking system, allowing for sites to be connected through the use of repeaters but this comes at a very high price point that the majority of small to medium sized businesses may not be able to afford.
No matter the PoC radio you choose there is an extended list of features that can provide great benefit to help improve both safety and efficiency within the workplace. There are different styles of the PoC radio that you can choose from, the Hytera PNC550 is a high end model that wouldn’t be out of place being used as an everyday mobile phone, the Telo TE580 is a smaller model with touchscreen that is compact allowing for safe carrying without getting in the way whilst working and the Telo TE390 takes on the design of a traditional black box two-way radio. Should you be looking to use your radio in a vehicle then obviously a remote speaker microphone can be attached to a portable, but a mobile version named the TM-7 from Inrico can be installed into the cabin of a car or a larger vehicle such as a truck or van.
When paired with dispatch software this allows for a base station to track and monitor any workers currently operating with a radio. Especially useful for such industries as private car hire, a base station will allow for time frames to be placed on arrival times to provide better customer service to clients. The dispatcher software when purchased with these radios has many other benefits, some of these tie into the GPS functionality that has previously been mentioned. Google Maps portable radio location tracking allows the radios to be tracked with up to date location even in new developments, this due to Googles outstanding commitment to providing the most up to date mapping available. Similarly, with a mobile device this allows for vehicle tracking allowing the user to playback a route that a driver has taken, this helping to improve efficiency as the base station operative will be able to provide the driver with road updates should there be closures or delays. Due to PoC radios working over cellular networks text messages are a possibility with devices that have a screen, this will allow for non-urgent messages to be sent without having to communicate with people through voice chat. All text messages and calls are stored within a cloud, this allows for the base station operative to look back on previous conversations or text should an issue occur or to check whether a job has been completed, these logs can also help should an security or safety issue arise whereby a Taxi driver has had a threatening customer for example.
Private and group conversations can also be made with these radios, allowing you to keep a conversation between 2 people should it be needed or broadcast a message to entire group should it be less sensitive information. Priority interrupt is present on every PoC model that we currently sell, this features allows for any going transmissions to be cut off in an emergency to broadcast a message to every radio within a fleet.
There are a wide range of accessories available for use with PoC radios including microphones, earpieces, chargers and carry cases, this obviously depending on the model that you choose to purchase. Bluetooth is a luxury feature when it comes to the traditional style of two-way radios, but with a PoC radio it comes as standard with pretty much every model available. Bluetooth accessories allow for ease of use for the operator, this because no wires will be potentially obstructing the users path when working allowing for a greater range of motion without the issue of damaging an accessory due to it coming loose.
Radiotronics have supplied PoC radios to many companies that differ massively in their specifications. A place that these radios are commonly used is in vehicles where long distances are travelled from a company’s head office or base. Whether it’s the transport of people or products, there are many options available for vehicles but the most commonly supplied is the base station. As previously mentioned the fact that these radios operate via cellular means that the location of lorrys/trucks can be tracked to give the receiver an accurate time of arrival. Taxi companies that we have previously supplied will often go for a handheld radio as their choice, this due to the radios being able to be attached to a phone holder within the cabin of a car and then a remote speaker microphone attached, this saves space due to the front of a car not really having much room for a larger mobile radio.
Often when providing companies with a PoC radio the buyer will usually choose a radio with a touch screen, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t standard black box designs available.
Should you be looking for a PoC radio with a simplistic design then the Telo TE390 is the radio for you. No different to your traditional two-way radio the TE390 is simply a black box with the usual buttons such as a PTT, volume control switch and channel selector to ensure that operators have the easiest usage experience possible. A small screen is located atop of the radio displaying channel number/name and signal strength, although limited, the TE390 still performs in the exact same way as the other models from Telo although text messaging isn’t a possibility. The TE390 has GPS present allowing for the radio to be monitored from a central location, this radio would be ideal for workers with less responsibility and their only real use for the radio would be to relay and communicate with their team. Bluetooth can also be used with the TE390 allowing for the connection of wireless accessories. Other areas that Radiotronics have supplied for before include both shop and pub watch schemes for town centres, outdoor activity centres, schools, building contractors and many more.#
Moving on to more advanced PoC radios there are a variety of options from multiple different suppliers. To current date, the most popular cellular radio that we stock is the TE580 from Telo, a compact design this PoC radio runs on an android operating system meaning that its functions aren’t too dissimilar to a modern smartphone. Although small in stature, the face of the TE580 has multiple features including an LED indicator, 2.4” display and a partial keypad allowing for navigation through the menus. Although it wouldn’t look out of place being used as a daily mobile, the TE580 is built to IP67 protection rating meaning that it has a full Ingres protection against dust whilst also being submergible in water. The TE580 unlike almost all traditional two way radios has both a forward facing a rear facing camera. The rear camera is 8MP and has both auto focus and flash allowing the user to take high quality images, this is joined by the 2MP front facing camera for the occasional selfie taker in your work force. With the ability to take photographs you may be wondering how the TE580 is able to store images and contacts alike, this radio has a SD card slot allowing for additional memory of any size.
In both the black box and mid ranged PoC categories we’ve mentioned radios from Telo, up until recently they haven’t been challenged by a market leader of traditional two way radios until Hytera threw their hat into the ring. Famous for radios such as the PD365 or the PD705LT, Hytera released a mid-tiered PoC radio called the PNC370. Although slightly larger in size than the TE580, the PNC370 only has a 2” screen alongside a partial keypad on the face of the radio, this screen allows for the user to scroll through menus and select calls by use of the directional buttons below or the answer and decline buttons. Running on the same operating system, Android 5.1, this means that many of the functions and applications will also be similar to some you may use on your everyday mobile phone. The PNC370 from Hytera would definitely be a radio to look at should you be wanting an entry level PoC radio to see what all the fuss is about, the look and feel isn’t to dissimilar to a traditional two way radio so might be exactly what you’re looking for if radio range is the only issue you’re looking to rectify.
Icom have also made waves in the PoC scene, the IP501H is compact but don’t let yourself think that this means its anything other than robust and reliable. Standing at just 95mm in height, 59mm in width and 26mm in depth, this means that the radio is small enough to fit into the palm of even the smallest of hands. IP67 protection rating further reiterates the reliability of the IP501H, this ensures that the radio has a full Ingres protection against dust intrusion whilst also being submergible in water for extended periods of time. The IP501H has Bluetooth ready to use with one stand out accessory, using both the optional BC-218 charger cradle and HM-215 Bluetooth remote speaker microphone this allows for the radio to be still operational whilst being on charge, providing you are still within the Bluetooth range then you can continue to communicate with workers without interruption.
Any radios that have previously been mention are very good value for money and all are popular choices should a business be looking to change over to a PoC system. But what if you wanted to go all out and invest in some of the most advanced two way radios on the market? Yet again it’s Telo and Hytera that have produced the goods with the TE590 and PNC550 respectively. The TE590 looks just like an everyday smartphone, this obviously if you discount the small antenna, channel selector switch and push to talk button but none the less it is an exceptional piece of design. The front of the radio has a 3.5” touch screen allowing for easy navigation whilst also offering high visibility in both sunlight and dimly light workplaces. A 4200mAh Li-Ion battery ensures that the radio has a lifespan that will last much longer than a working day so there is no worry that a worker will be left without communications. An Android 6.0 operating system paired with 2GB RAM and 1.3GHz processor ensures that the radio will operate seamlessly, 16GB of internal memory allows for the storage of images taken with the 13MP camera or contacts, this can be extended via the use of SD card.
The second mobile phone, no sorry two way radio is the Hytera PNC550. Although it looks just like a phone you would buy from the store the PNC550s 5” touch screen is made from gorilla glass, this ensuring that it is extremely rugged and will not smash or crack easily. Built to IP68 protection standards the PNC550 has a full Ingres against dust intrusion, whilst also being fully submergible in water for extended periods of time. The Hytera PNC550 is built to MIL-STD-810 G meaning that it can continually operate even in some of the toughest environmental conditions, operating from temperatures as low as -20°C all the way through to temperatures of 60°C. The PNC550 stands at 156.6mm in height, 76mm in width and 14mm in depth meaning that it is around the same size as your usual cell phone. Other similar aspects to a mobile is that the operating system that the Hytera PNC550 runs on which is Android 8, this means that any features and applications that you would usually find on a Samsung or Huawei phone you can find whilst using this radio. A Qualcomm 1.8GHz processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal memory means that this PoC radio will be extremely quick, this alongside having a lot of room for storage that can be expanded with the use of a Micro SD card up to 64GB. There are 3 card slots located on the PNC550 with one being for use with the Micro SD as previously mentioned, and the other 2 for Nano-Sim cards, these the SIM cards that are used with all modern smart phones.
If you’d like to know more about any of the radios that have been mentioned in this Blog post then you can check them out on our website by clicking here. Alternatively, if you’d like to chat to one of our Sales Executives then call this number: 01425 533 533