Fifth in a series
When you buy that new cellphone, within weeks something familiar happens: a new generation of phones arrives on the market with more power and better features. When you’re looking for push-to-talk phones for business use, that let-down feeling can be avoided when you rent push-to-talk phones rather than buy them. Another attraction is that BearCom deals with all the fine print in the service-provider contracts and handles all the complexities of getting your network up and running.
Push-to-talk phones are still a popular option for businesses. No matter how much you like your two-way radio, in some situations, you’ll wish it was a cellphone. And no matter how many goodies they cram into your smartphone, there will be times when you crave the push-to-talk convenience of a two-way radio.
To meet this demand, cellphone manufacturers sell phones that combine push-to-talk and cell service in the same device. And it’s why Sprint is expanding its Direct Connect push-to-talk service across the United States. Direct Connect is a wireless version of voice-over-internet protocol, or VoIP. It takes push-to-talk calls from a cellphone, encodes them digitally and delivers them as packets of data over the Internet.
Some questions to ask when renting push-to-talk phones:
- Are you planning an event? Street fairs, concerts and Fourth of July celebrations require extra staffing and security. Workers and volunteers will appreciate having radio functions built into the familiar format of a cellphone. Renting is far superior to buying because purchased phones would likely collect dust most of the year.
- Are you directing a one-off project? If you know you’re going to staff up for a project and staff back down when it’s done — and your staff needs the widest array of communication tools — renting should be a much better option than buying.
- Do you lack expertise? The logistics of configuring a large network of phones with radio functionality is daunting if you’ve never done it before. And there’s the reality that radio-specific experience is essential. That’s why it’s a good idea to go with a vendor such as BearCom that has an extensive track record on the two-way radio side of the equation.
Which phones to rent
BearCom has a good selection of push-to-talk phones from which to choose. The key is to match the models with your specific needs. Points to consider:
- Do you really need a smartphone? A smartphone is a handheld computer that has immense data-crunching capability. But it also has vast potential for distracting your team with games, chat and Facebook updates. If you need the computing power to measure, monitor, calculate and access the Internet, by all means go with smartphones. Just be sure you know what you’re in for.
- Do you need a rugged model? If your phones will be used outdoors and there’s a good chance they’ll be dropped or exposed to dust, vibration and bad weather, ask about rugged push-to-talk models. They’re usually built to military specifications and designed to withstand abuse.
- Is your staff already familiar with radios? The one-to-many and one-to-one functionality of a two-way radio network is easy for people to understand if they are already using radios. But people who have not used radios before will need training to ensure they are following standard two-way radio protocols when they send and receive messages. Otherwise, you could have communications chaos.