Any audio accessory needs to first be paired on the OS level which routes the audio through the Bluetooth audio device. After a few simple steps you can connect it to your choice of PTT application or walkie-talkie app which offer different ways of enabling the button functionalities and features like PTT, channel scrolling and emergency alerts.
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The mobile phone market is dominated by mostly reputable companies and even lower cost devices from Huawei are strictly controlled, providing a good level of quality, reliability, and customer support. The rugged device market has to fight with some counterfeit cases and very low cost devices that do not fulfill what they promise but these devices have hardly gained foothold in developed markets. The PTT accessory market on the other hand has a much bigger problem with counterfeit cases. Some end users are complaining about failure rates of 40 percent and higher, bad customer service, and high return shipping costs to mostly East Asia. To avoid this, companies have to put the same amount of focus on sourcing adequate PTT accessories as they do for mobile phones and PTT applications. Here are a few precautions companies can take to avoid significant amounts of communication downtime and administrative work to get devices exchanged.
A Crash Course in Bluetooth Security
Since wired devices are connected directly to the mobile device, it is hard to tamper with them unless someone gets very close to the user. Bluetooth devices use waves which can be picked up by anyone. It is important to ensure that anything being communicated through the Bluetooth device (not only voices but commands through button presses) are using secured channels that cannot be intercepted.
Here is a brief overview of the different features and functions that PTT accessories can provide. When it comes to extending the capabilities of a mobile device or a PTT app, there are not many possibilities to do so with wired accessories regardless of having a light headset or remote speaker microphone (RSM). The reason is the analog connection via the 3.5mm audio connector, which doesn’t allow for more than audio and the PTT signal. Bluetooth accessories provide a digital connection which can theoretically send an almost infinite number of commands to the phone or app matching the feature set provided within the PTT ecosystem.
The PTT accessory seems to get less attention in terms of proper testing and verification of requirements than the mobile device. It is understandable that the PTT app is the centerpiece of the PTT over LTE project as the platform for communication, and therefore has a longer evaluation cycle during the evaluation phase. Often the only checkbox for the PTT accessories is compatibility to the mobile device and PTT application but there is far more to consider otherwise the PTT accessory can become a costly and administrative nightmare.
How PTT Accessories Can Boost Safety and Productivity
When identifying the requirements for a PTT application, the End User's perspective and the System's perspective need to be considered. The System’s Perspective looks at the requirements usually determined by the department that needs to implement, maintain and update the PTT application. PTT applications provide differentiation across a number of factors:
There are four categories of PTT applications, which are differentiated by the type of vendor offering them.
PTT app features
AINA Wireless works closely with approximately 50 PTT app providers worldwide. Features range from very basic communication to highly sophisticated, use case specific features. Looking at existing PTT apps out there, profiles can be sub-categorized into three different groups: communication, information, and settings. Every organization needs to evaluate the end user features required for their use case and select PTT apps that best fulfill those requirements.
When implementing a PTT app, a strategic change management plan needs to be considered. This is especially critical when driving change among a more mature workforce. Someone who has been working a certain way for 20 years will have a hard time adapting to new processes and technology. The first step is analyzing the types of end users based on communication need and user skillset. From there user profiles can be configured accordingly with the ideal permissioned features and functionality. Allocating features inappropriately could lead to unnecessary user confusion, slower app adoption and even distraction from the work at hand.