If you buy the right two-way radios (walkie-talkies), they can transform your business, making it safer, stronger and better at keeping customers happy. If you buy the wrong radios, they can collect dust on a shelf and render your investment worthless.
Two-Way Radios for Business
The prime appeal of two-way radios for business is the ability to push one button and talk to someone or a whole team immediately. This basic communications capability is absolutely essential in many enterprises, but may not be of much value in some operations. The key is figuring out where your organization lies on this communications continuum.
Answering the following seven questions can help ensure you make the smartest decision when you’re investing in two-way radios.
1. How do my employees communicate now?
Most business communications happen via landline phones, cellphones, email, texting — or face-to-face. Let’s look at the limits of each:
- Landline phones require a fixed location.
- Cellphones are more mobile, but less durable and reliable in many locations.
- Texting and email require typing.
- Face-to-face communications can waste valuable time walking to someone’s work station or trying to find the person you need.
Two-way radios are mobile, reliable and instant, allowing people to talk to each other immediately across distances by pushing one button. If more than one of your workers needs portability, mobility and real-time voice connectivity to do their jobs, serve your customers, or both, you’re a good fit for two-way radios.
2. Are my competitors using two-way radios?
A vast range of industries rely on two-way radios, including:
- Health and safety
- Mining and oil exploration
- Event planning
- And more
If any of your competitors are using two-way radios for business and you’re not, that puts you at a competitive disadvantage for agility and productivity.
3. What kind of environment do my people work in?
Environment plays a huge role in the performance of two-way radios. For instance:
- Radios used outdoors must be waterproof in rainy locales and dustproof in dry environments.
- Radios used near combustible materials must be rated intrinsically safe.
- Radios used in indoor settings like retail or security typically do not need extra protection against weather or explosives.
While there’s no point buying your people more radio functionality than they need, it’s a poor investment to provide them with radios that do not adequately address the environmental conditions in which they typically work.
4. What are the primary safety hazards in my industry?
These concerns stretch beyond environmental hazards. For instance:
- People who work in remote locations need to be able to signal an emergency and send for help.
- People in factories and construction sites need a radio that’s rugged enough to withstand being dropped or kicked around.
- Public safety workers need radios built specifically for their needs.
Because two-way radios are lifesavers in an emergency, many models have been built precisely for people in serious trouble. Safety features such as man down, or lone worker are critical for some workers. If your workers may face life-threatening hazards, that will affect your radio-buying decision.
5. What kind of features do I need in my radios?
You don’t want to throw money away on functionality your workers will not use. You also want to make sure your radios are a good fit for how your people do their jobs. For instance:
- While retail employees need lightweight, comfortable radios that make it as easy as possible to talk to each other, they generally don’t need to use a lot of channels to communicate .
- Police offers and security guards may need the ability to sound an alarm if they have not been heard from in a while.
- People working in heavy rains or near shallow bodies of water need a radio that can survive being completely submerged for a short time.
- In noisy workplaces, the ability to text may be an important consideration.
- Digital applications may also extend the functionality and value of your radios.
It all comes down to when, where, why and how your people will use their radios.
6. What kind of radio accessories will I need?
The functionality of a handheld radio has its limits. That’s why there’s a vast market in radio accessories that do things such as:
- Provide hands-free capability via headsets
- Offer discrete communications when security or privacy are important
- Provide extra power with longer-lasting batteries or battery charging stations
Accessories make all the difference in encouraging people to use their radios and tailoring use to their jobs. Lack of proper accessories can actively discourage radio use, undermining your investment.
7. Do I need a service agreement for my equipment?
Commercial and Professional class radios are not like the cheap walkie-talkies you buy for kids. They are industrial-strength tools designed for a vast range of jobs. And like any equipment, they can wear out or suffer damage that requires repair. Below a few scenarios in which you might want to opt-in for service agreements:
- Buying lots of radios – the more you own, the greater likelihood you will deal with breakdowns and damage.
- Heavy usage – some workers spend all day on their radios, so it’s more likely their radios will wear out sooner.
- Mission-critical use – some operations simply cannot afford downtime.
- Complexity – if you have a two-way for business radio network that requires added service expertise, using an experienced partner to keep the system performing smoothly is a wise investment.
Addressing these key questions should help you narrow your radio-buying decisions and make the best choice for your organization.