Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Cutting costs and increasing productivity with mission critical communications software
James Mustarde of
While consumers and enterprises greet the newest devices, military, law enforcement and public safety organizations currently rely on the same devices they’ve been using for more than 65 years -- proprietary, multi-thousand-dollar radios from a handful of vendors. These radios do two things: allow them to talk to each other, and provide location coordinates. But, there is no reason why they cannot benefit from consumer and enterprise innovation and utilize smart phones and tablets to meet their mission critical needs right now. The software that makes this possible can also save these organizations time and money.
Public safety and defense organizations are required to upgrade and purchase new radio systems continually, spending thousands of dollars on expensive handsets, car radios and dispatch consoles every year. Not only are these radio systems expensive, but they are limited in their functionality and are built to operate on private networks, limiting communication range.
However, the latest-and-greatest off-the-shelf devices can be combined easily with inexpensive software to provide the same capabilities as a radio -- and more -- at a much lower cost.
Smart phones and applications are inexpensive solutions that provide capability beyond traditional radios. They allow users to advance with technology through smart phone upgrade programs. In addition, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks and device capabilities -- coupled with applications -- allow organizations to leverage their existing communications architecture investments. Software solutions allow any smart phone or tablet -- almost any communication device -- to connect over any data network, essentially creating a single, geographically-unrestricted network. Organizations are able to take advantage of sleek new devices to experience seamless two-way communication between workers and teams, improving the communications infrastructure they already have in place.
The richness of smart devices and networks also allows workers to take advantage of numerous applications that can improve their productivity. Users can extend smart phone capabilities beyond voice to include data, location, presence and video. In addition, applications can be integrated with enterprise collaboration tools to enhance teamwork between mobile work crews and office desk-side workers. Better communication improves latency and reduces time-delays for crisis management and emergency response.
The opportunities for integration are endless. Applications can be incorporated easily on any smart phone device, tablet, PC or specialty device, allowing disparate communications systems to be unified and operations to be improved.
WAVE from Twisted Pair is one example of a solution that has proven the value of software-based communications. WAVE is an application used by military, law enforcement and public safety officials that turns ordinary smart phones into push-to-talk devices, capable of seamless two-way integration with other devices, including radios. WAVE allows mobile workforces to connect and converse instantly through a secure, private network. It serves as a cost-effective alternative to traditional single-function radios and allows users to extend other smart phone capabilities beyond voice, including data, location, presence and video, over any carrier data or Wi-Fi network.
Software solutions, such as WAVE, offer the military, law enforcement and public safety organizations the push-to-talk they rely on over the world’s largest network on whatever device they choose. This freedom from the constrictive hold of radios and carrier-based solutions can provide companies in these industries better ways of doing business and new ways of saving time and money.