Two-way radios are everywhere these days and are used in just about every business. Associates at your favorite local retailer; attendants who takes your ticket at the movie theater; supervisors on a manufacturing floor; construction site workers building a housing complex; and logistics managers at transportation hubs all use two-way radios on a daily basis. All radios are known for their performance with the four basic "Cs": coverage, capacity, cost and control.
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is predicting that 2015 will see the convergence of existing communication landscape such as public switched telephone networks, broadcast cellular and fixed line access onto a single unifying platform based on Internet protocol.
This vibrant communication landscape will be characterised by a plethora of different network systems ranging from fibre-based fixed line to fourth generation cellular mobile and short range wireless sensor network systems. This will allow seamless roaming between all these heterogeneous systems with high levels of end-to-end quality of service and security.
"The 5th C" - capabilities - is the game changer in the industry and makes the difference for those considering what type of communications system to leverage - two-way radios or cellular devices. In this article, we'll discuss what those capabilities really mean to users and how they can make the difference between a system that lasts for two years to one that can last for more than 10 years.
In the past, radios have been evaluated with the 4 Cs:
- Coverage: Systems are designed to meet specific requirements, whether it's a single-site warehouse or a multisite manufacturing operation. Low frequencies and high power enable coverage in every corner of the facility -even hard-to-reach places like basements and machine rooms.
- Capacity: Systems are engineered to address the business' needs, using licensed spectrum and dedicated resources. There is no competition for access as there is with a public network.
- Cost: A radio system has low, predictable costs. There are no additional airtime fees, or "overage" charges like those associated with cell phones.
- Control: With a private radio system, the business is in control. From system design to operation, maintenance and upgrade, the priority is the business owner's needs, not the phone company's profits.
Today, coverage is wider, capacity is greater, cost is lower and control is stronger. But, the real game changer is how digital technology can add value to the communication system through what we call the 5th C: capabilities.
The 5th C: capabilities
Digital radios offer more. Baseline capabilities such as digital audio, data connectivity, text messaging and GPS location-reporting can be used individually to improve business "connectedness." But, the real revolution is in how they can be combined into complex applications that transform operations.
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