The market for commercial communications is changing as business owners no longer shop for individual devices or solutions to one particular issue. Instead, they want a comprehensive communications solution that holistically encompasses their organisation’s business needs.
In the days of voice-only communications, business owners would seek a specific device or solution that would meet a communications requirement. For example, a warehouse would issue two-way radios with the key driver being that workers need to communicate in a noisy environment. Or tablets would be deployed for access to specific applications.
In a market of competitive pressures and a challenging global economy, organisations must do more with less. Budgets and headcounts are cut while targets go up. Rather than simply replacing one system with another system, companies are looking for efficient ways to add new capabilities by expanding an existing solution or by installing a new solution that replaces multiple systems. Moreover, any new solution must allow for future innovation.
Historically, businesses would invest in different systems to provide different functions, and the outcome was more systems to manage and information existing in siloes. As worker equipment and communications needs become increasingly technical and digital, IT departments are playing a greater role in procuring the right solutions for workers. So while many businesses are investing in new capabilities, many also may not realise the full potential of what they already have.
Our research with EY Sweeney of IT decision-makers in Australia and New Zealand respondents showed the range of systems in usage in their businesses.
Technological developments have reinvented voice communications. A two-way radio network can now be part of a sophisticated communications solution where voice communications is just one (very important) capability. Apps and access to data have turned this solution into a powerful overarching communications system with the potential to improve safety, efficiency and productivity in many industries.
Moreover, this includes the capacity to easily collect and access data, providing valuable insights into workflows and areas for potential improvement.
For example, most shopping centres already have a communications system in place. Two-way radios are issued to cleaners to monitor their health and safety as they often work alone. Linking radios to indoor tracking can record data that shows the length of time taken for important and repetitive tasks for service level agreement (SLA) compliance, and determining which areas are not being cleaned as expected.
A bus company can compare the efficiency of different routes, or demonstrate compliance with performance records. Workers who wander into dangerous work areas are alerted to leave by geofencing applications. Job ticketing applications record all tasks allocated, time to complete and agent – providing valuable data about workflows that can be measured and improved.
Better still, decision-makers can access, manage and analyse this valuable data from a single desktop.
IT decision-makers face a tough economic environment, increased requirements for new capabilities and often a mix of legacy systems. Rather than investing in standalone systems or a whole new system that will compromise vital functionality, many businesses could benefit from expanding an existing two-way radio network with capabilities that can integrate with other systems, as well as delivering functionality that improves the mobility, safety, and accountability of workers.