Few situations are more perplexing than the silence on the other end of a dropped or unanswered call while on the job. Typically, that silence means valuable minutes or hours of uncertainty about how to proceed, halting a project in its tracks, and wasting additional resources to gain clarification.
Communication on the job is one of the most important and complex variables in the workplace. Whether you’re in the heart of a busy construction project with cars whipping by and car horns honking, or simply walking from room to room in a quiet assisted living facility, getting a message across quickly and clearly is vital.
To provide teams with the best communication devices possible, many industries weigh the decision of either implementing a two-way radio network or utilizing cell phones. While cellular devices are entirely functional in many settings, there are several monumental advantages two-way radios have over cell phones which you should consider before making a decision for your company.
Two-Way Radios Are Tougher
First, two-way radios are considerably more durable than cellular devices. While cell phones originally come from consumer markets without high ruggedness standards, two-way radios consistently receive high Ingress Protection (IP) gradings, meaning the structure of the casing significantly shields the sensitive insides of from damage. Practically, this higher level of protection lessens workers’ risk of breaking their device when dropped, which is a common workplace hazard. The high IP grades of two-way radios also indicate protection against momentary exposure to water.
Additionally, two-way radio device fail rates are much lower than average fail rates for cell phones not specifically made job use. For example, in a listing of phone model fail rates in 2017, iPhones North America experienced an average fail rate of 12 percent. On the other hand, rugged two-way radio annual fail rates hovered much lower, between four and eight percent according to VDC Research.
These fail rate numbers and IP grades illustrate that two-way radios are much less likely to malfunction than cell phones, guaranteeing workers more sustained use without technological issues or wasted time. This means that workers are always able to relay important messages.
No Loss of Coverage
Meanwhile, another marked advantage two-way radios have over cell phones is that they don’t have to rely on an unpredictable cellular network. In general, communicating with a cell phone not only requires a working device, but also a functional and in-range cell tower to transmit the signal. While these cell towers enable helpful long-distance messaging, cell phone communications always rely on a cell towers and their functionality is not in your company’s control. When an outage occurs, your ability to communicate with workers is also halted.
However, this limitation does not hold true for two-way radios, mainly because they function within a closed network independent from a cell tower and continue to function as long as the devices remain in working order.
Enhanced Battery Life
Moreover, part of the ease of using two-way radios is their long battery life. Because radios are streamlined devices meant for communication, they lack ancillary battery-draining functions that might limit cell phone life and increase worker dependency on charging their devices to compensate. Cell phones simply do not hold up to the prolonged jobsite use for workers’ needs.
There is no threat of performance throttling with two-way devices, and they offer various other benefits to secure battery life. Rather than distracting workers who must focus on their devices’ battery, two-way radios allow for sustained focus and use on the job.
Furthermore, the instantaneous nature of two-way radio communication is comparatively fluid and easy to use. Whereas using cell phones often necessitates one or more extra steps to receive and respond to messages. The tried-and-true Push-to-Talk (PTT) capabilities of two-way radios allow you to listen to a message and reply in seconds. The absence of communication obstacles enables you to use every second wisely and efficiently.
Communication-Specific Design, For Enterprise Purposes
Engineers also design two-way radios with construction workers, security staff, nurses, and other high-priority industries rather than consumers in mind. The ease of use of radios—the simplicity of PTT, comprehensive ambient noise cancellation, and much more—center around the purpose of enhancing communication in the workplace. They also come with accessories such as shoulder microphones and mounting brackets that further enable enterprise use. While cell phones also prioritize the user, companies spend fewer resources designing them for use on the job and with accessories specific to worker needs.
In our modern world, there are endless media discussions on how phones make us more easily distractible and consume our attention. Quickly, smart phone users develop a habit for when, how often, and for what purposes they use their phone. This forms a daily ritual for phone use, one that is nearly impossible to break away from while on the job. While many workers use their phones significantly less on the job, distractions are much higher with cellphones compared to two-way radios. Even companies who address this issue by giving employees cellphones with limited functions struggle to keep workers from spending company time on their phones. In the end, it’s simply hard for workers to remove themselves from the habit of using their multi-functional phone throughout the day. By contrast, the streamlined nature of two-way radios allows workers to have more sustained attention throughout the day. Rather than distract themselves with a phone at work, workers with communication-oriented radios can stay focused on work-related tasks. The result is valuable work time recovered, which translates into increased workplace efficiency and productivity.
Improved Worker Safety
Two-way radios also come with specific safety features that alert colleagues in the event of an incident. The “lone worker” application requires workers without a nearby coworker to confirm their safety by signaling on their radio at certain intervals. Failure to do so alerts others of the lone worker’s potential danger. Also, the “man down” functionality of radios can detect a worker’s unexpected fall and transmit the signal to other workers within the network. Both functions protect workers from danger when working alone.
To answer your remaining questions about the advantages of two-way radios over cell phones in an enterprise setting, contact our helpful team at ERS Wireless, a leading Motorola Solutions Channel Partner serving Indiana and Kentucky.