17 Sep Two Way Radio – A Tool for Enhanced Worker Safety & Operational Efficiency
In an age where personal cell phones, computers and digital media platforms are universally available people sometimes ask why there is still a need two way radio communication out side the aviation, marine and emergency services sectors.
There is little doubt that cell phone has replaced the use of two way radio in some areas however radio does offer advantages over cell phone when it comes to ensuring worker safety and operational efficiency in many workplaces.
It remains an important tool for New Zealand industries like forestry and farming that operate in rural areas where cell phone coverage is either not available or reliable. The push to talk, instant communication provided by radio means many team members can be contacted simultaneously and digital radio offers the user a wide range of functions additional to voice which can be tailored to the needs of the customer. A significant bonus is once the radio equipment has been purchased the ongoing costs tend to be less than cell phones charges.
Here are some questions which should help you work out the most suitable communications.
- Do you need mobile, base or portable radios? A mobile radio is installed into a vehicle or machine with an external aerial fitted. A base set is a radio with a mains power supply and external aerial. A portable radio is a handheld unit with an aerial attached. You may of course require a combination of all 3 types.
- What frequency range is most suitable? UHF (Ultra High Frequency) is 400-520MHz and is used primarily in urban or indoor environments. VHF (Very High Frequency) is 136-174MHZ and is more suitable for outdoor and rural/country environments.
- How many users will need radios and how many channels will be needed? The number of users and the type of operation will determine whether you need one channel or potentially many channels in your radios.
- How many locations are involved? This will determine whether you will require simplex or duplex channels or radios on a trunking network.
- What functions or features, additional to voice do you need? For example do you need text messaging, GPS tracking, man down/lone worker or phone interconnect.
- What kind of ruggedness specification do you require? Will the radios be used primarily indoors or outside. Are users office based or manual workers? If you work in certain conditions you may require intrinsically safe rated equipment.
- What is your budget? Radios come at varying price points depending on the specification and features required.
If you ponder the above questions before you contact your local dealer you will be in a better position to have a good discussion and get the right communication solution for your business.