How PTT Accessories Can Boost Safety and Productivity
Most PTT over LTE projects are part of a bigger Digital Transformation project where the newer technologies are used to drive productivity and cost savings. The PTT over LTE ecosystem includes mobile devices, push-to-talk applications, a data network and in most cases PTT accessories.
In this ecosystem, the PTT accessory should be an extension or even augmentation of both the mobile device and the PTT application (and other applications if possible). Only then can an accessory become an effective tool to make communication safe and simple while increasing productivity. Otherwise it just increases the overall system costs.
The Top Six Reasons Why You Should Use PTT Accessories
1. Increase productivity
For communication, it is much easier to press a PTT button on an accessory than accessing your phone, unlocking the screen and pressing the PTT button on the screen. By integrating accessory functions into other applications, regular work processes can be simplified, increasing overall productivity.Avoid distraction
2. Avoid Distraction
The user stays focused on the job instead of the screen. The detrimental effects of distracted driving are highly prevalent. A study from Cambridge Mobile Telematics found that the worst 10 percent of distracted drivers are 2.3 times more likely to be in a crash than the average driver, and 5.8 times more likely than the best 10 percent of distracted drivers. In fact, the distraction of a screen has caused so many incidents that the Hawaiian government passed a new law banning texting while crossing roads in Honolulu to combat “distracted walking”. The distraction of a phone is no different for end users at work. Hence, to make communication safe and simple, the end user needs to be able to complete most of their tasks without having to access a mobile device.
3. Stay compliant with regulations
Some use cases do not even allow the direct use of a mobile device. Especially in the transportation and logistics industry, distracted driving regulations impose high fines on drivers and companies when touching a mobile device. In the US, penalties for drivers can be up to $2,750 and a suspended commercial driver’s license after two or more violations and $11,000 for companies allowing their drivers to use mobile devices. Accessories like speaker mics, regardless of whether they’re wired or Bluetooth, are permitted as long as they offer single button press communication.
4. Protect the mobile device
Especially when using consumer grade devices, keeping them in a pocket is the best way to protect them from water, dirt or other damage. Also the impact of extremely cold weather may have a significant impact on the battery life of the mobile device while accessories have a wider range of operation temperatures. If special protective suits are worn, taking out the mobile device might not even be possible.
5. Extend the battery life of the mobile devices
Depending on the applications and the settings running on a device, the power consumption can be so high that the phone battery doesn’t even last a single shift. Displays often take up the most power, particularly if the phone has a large and bright screen. Thus, pressing a PTT button on an accessory will extend the phone battery life significantly, compared to accessing the phone screen.
6. Louder volume output
In noisy work environments, the volume output of a phone is often insufficient. An accessory allows the user to either directly induce the communication into the ear through an earpiece or use a remote speaker microphone (RSM) with a loud volume output. Some rugged PTT phones already have a loud volume output but the advantage of an RSM is that it can be placed closer to the ear, such as on the lapel.
Evaluating PTT Accessories
A proper evaluation for a PTT accessory considers both the end user and system requirements. The end user perspective should focus on form factor, intelligibility and ruggedness requirements based on the work environment and potential failure points. The possible features are crucial to make sure the PTT accessory extends the capabilities of the mobile device, PTT apps and other applications. Features like programmable buttons can lead to significant productivity improvements while features like the emergency button increase workers safety.
To narrow down the number of devices to evaluate, a recommendation of the PTT application maker, mobile device manufacturer or PTT specialist can be of immense help but are often focused on compatibility. This helps to narrow down the number of devices but should then be followed by:
- A trial with a small user group for approximately two to four weeks to verify ruggedness requirements, usability and user acceptance.
- A vendor verification on legitimacy of the product in the market and the appropriate contact and support in your region before (purchase), during (training) and after (warranty and returns) the PTT project.
- The proper implementation of security features for Bluetooth products (optional - depending on the industry, use case and company size).
For more tips on evaluating PTT accessories for your PTT over LTE solution, download the complete Whitepaper for free!