The push-to-talk application (PTT app) is the centerpiece that can connect your communication platform to your entire digital transformation project. Depending on the requirements and scope of the project, a PTT app can accomplish a variety of goals:
Extending two-way radio communication
As highlighted in our whitepaper: How to Realize the Benefits of Digital Transformation in Your Organization’s Two-Way Radio Communication Strategy, there are various reasons why some organizations prefer to have a portion of their workforce still communicating through two-way radios. Many PTT apps provide gateways or bridges to connect two-way radio users to mobile phone users. The benefits, are that some users that do not necessarily require two-way radios, such as those in support functions, can now save costs and communicate by mobile phone within the radio network. Other users that would not typically have access to the network, could be added at very low costs.
Another use case we see in the public sector is that different departments within a community or city are on different radio systems. For example, the police department might be on one radio system while the fire department is on a different radio system. In an incident which requires involvement of both departments, team leaders would need to carry two different radios to be able to communicate cross-departmentally. A PTT app could connect both networks through different bridges on one or several servers.
Replacing two-way radio communication
Many organizations have chosen to completely move away from two-way radios and transition to PTT over LTE solutions, primarily driven through real cost savings through replacing expensive radio systems and tower fees with economic mobile devices. Read the whitepaper: Choosing the Right Mobile Device for Your Organization’s PTT Solution. By introducing the PTT app to the organization, PTT communication can be augmented by adding additional functionalities around assignments into specific groups depending on status, role, GPS location etc. Since PTT apps can establish a larger number of communication groups compared to radios, the usage and separation is not only more convenient and cost effective but there are no issues around overloaded frequencies either. There is a clear trend with organizations moving away from analog or digital radio system towards LTE which can be seen by the rise of LTE radio handsets and also by the fact that all major manufacturers of traditional two-way radios, have heavily invested in developing their own PTT over LTE solutions to innovate their offering.
Making the PTT app part of the digital transformation
Depending on the level of sophistication of the PTT app and technical integration capabilities through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the PTT app can provide important data that can be used to improve processes and drive efficiencies.
It is important to consider that the implementation of these three strategies highly depends on the ecosystem that consists of the mobile phone, the data network, the PTT app and the PTT accessory. Very basic PTT phones on a 3G network with a very simple PTT app might simply replace two-way radio communication. However, smartphones or tablets paired with business productivity apps (often in the cloud), are integrated with PTT apps and will drive digital transformation through elevating efficiency and cost savings.
Similar to when choosing the right mobile device, collecting the requirements for your PTT app requires consideration of both the end user’s and system’s perspectives. The end user’s perspective will help to identify the appropriate functionality within the PTT app that would allow the end user to communicate as well as collect data depending on their job type and objectives. On the other hand, the system’s perspective will help to identify what capabilities the PTT app needs to have and all technical requirements.
For suggested discovery questions used to fully understand both your users’ and systems perspective download the complete whitepaper for free!
We have seen that regardless of whether PTT over LTE will replace or extend two-way radio communication, the advantages of a PTT app over regular two-way radio communication are tremendous.
The combination of specific feature availability, reliability, service and convenience will decide if your organization should go with a carrier-grade, an over-the-top or a white labeled PTT solution. Each of these type of PTT apps come with their unique benefits.
For many users that want to extend their two-way radio system by adding users, moving some users to PTT over LTE but keeping some on the LMR, the integration to the right radio system is of utmost importance. Not every gateway or bridge will do the job and the interoperability needs to be accessed excessively.
Compatibility with the right mobile devices is important but also without the right PTT accessories available, you will find your workers more focused on their new mobile devices instead of their jobs. PTT accessory compatibility will help to create a seamless transition from LMR to PTT over LTE.
For organizations that want to make PTT over LTE a part of their digital transformation project, an SDK or API that allows them to pull data points from the PTT application is required.
For more guidance on how to select the right PTT app for your LTE solution, download the complete Whitepaper for free!