If you’re working in an urban environment – whether it’s an industrial park in Canada’s own Silicon Valley, a large factory, with vehicles on the move, or in the downtown core of a major city like Toronto, Ottawa or Vancouver, your need for communication among team members doesn’t change.
Cities are a commonplace for technologies like cell phones to be used to relay messages, but they often don’t cut it. In fact, we’ve covered how cell phones are costing your business here. Not only are they not always a durable option for members on the go, but with distracted driving laws and the need to wait for a reply from your colleague, efficiency can go down the tube if you rely on cell phones to keep up with your employees. In team environments, there is also a struggle with cell phones because of the inability to connect with multiple team members at once – causing efficiency to wain as a result.
Two way radios, however, provide instant answers to that problem and, with the right option, can work effectively in urban environments – from close proximity to long range. Today, we will look at five questions our customers often have about using two way radios in a city environment and around buildings:
Are there better frequencies for work in and around buildings?
UHF frequencies have proven itself as the top frequency and the best options for urban work environments. UHF frequency is known for its ability to penetrate buildings and provide communication both in and around buildings. UHF stands for ‘Ultra High Frequency’ and is stronger for these environments than the commonly known VHF (Very High Frequency) band.
This blog post goes into more detail about the differences between UHF and VHF frequencies to help you decide what’s better for your business.
In some in-building applications, however, the DTR700 (the replacement for Motorola’s discontinued DTR650 two way radio), which falls under the 900MHz frequency, has proven itself as an effective option for in-bulding communication. This is a license-free band, which helps if you have concerns with time to deploy a system, and reducing costs.
2. What options are best for working in vehicles?
Due to changes in recent years with distracted driving, as mentioned above, it’s important to consider which tools your workers are using for communicating on the move. The quality of communication doesn’t have to change if you’re in a vehicle, and with digital two way radios, there are mobile (vehicle mounted) options that fall within the laws for driving and talking in provincial jurisdictions (it’s important to check with your provincial regulations to be sure before using these devices).
Below is a list of provinces across Canada that have exempted two way radios at the time of this writing:
- Ontario – Ontario Ministry of Transportation(exempt until 2021)
- Quebec – An Act to Amend the Highway Safety Code
- Alberta – Alberta Transportation Distracted Driving
- British Columbia – Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles
- New Brunswick – New Brunswick Public Safety: Driver Distraction
- Prince Edward Island – New Cell Phone Law
- Yukon – Yukon Government Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act
If your provincial laws do not accept the use of mobile two way radios (however, at the time of this writing, there aren’t many), there are still options for your team. The XPR5550e and XPR5350e are Bluetooth compatible, for example, which allows for the use of a visor microphone and a Bluetooth push-to-talk button – making it easier for users on the go to communicate. You can read more about these radios here.
Other options include the use of Motorola remote speaker microphones for two way radio users who want to ensure they have communication when they leave their vehicles. Some can even go as far as 100 metres from their vehicle without affecting communication – that’s as much as three times the length between two baseball bases!
Often times, these radios have similar features to the portable radios and, if you require a mix of both portable and mobile, the radios will communicate with each other.
3. What kind of quality and clarity can I expect?
This is where the value for your money shines. Digital two way radios provide incredible clarity and range – with a focus on ensuring they work in noisy work environments, which is part of the reason why so many businesses are making the switch to digital. Simply put, analog is costly. With background noise and static from radio interference, analog slows teams down. Whether you’re in a loud manufacturing facility surrounded by equipment, or work in emergency services where siren noise becomes a factor, you can be sure with digital quality that your message will be heard.
A number of digital two way radios have noise cancelation features, or the ability to automatically adjust background noise for you – allowing you to avoid adjusting the volume or screaming into your radio to get a message through.
This blog post discusses the benefits of digital over analog radios. In short, digital radios boost efficiency with practical features like Wi-Fi integration for remote software management, for instance, and can enhance safety on the job site with features like Man Down and Lone Worker.
4. What is the range on my radio?
The benefit of digital two way radios is you have better range than with analog radios – but the range abilities depend on the radio option you choose, and may require a conversation with us to meet your needs specifically.
Generally, however, the broad estimate for range with digital two way radio is approximately 20 to 40 per cent more than with analog two way radios. One thing you can be sure of, is with digital radio, you’re going to get excellent coverage throughout an average-sized work facility. With workers on the move and traveling throughout a city, you may want to consider renting airtime from your local dealer, to ensure there are no breaks in communication – if you’re in Atlantic Canada, Nova Communications can help!
5. How much will they cost?
This is a tough question.
With further discussions with our team, we are able to help you figure out the best two way radio for your needs, but that also helps to determine the price range. What we can tell you is they often range in price from $250 to $2,000 due to options ranging from durability needs, and added features like radios built for noisy work environments.
There is, however, value in spending the money. Radios like those you buy at your local department store are not made for workplaces, and certainly not made for communication around buildings. From a durability and range standpoint, the digital two way radio option is a more cost effective solution.
Whether you’re working with an digital two way radio system, or older analog style systems, we can work with you to figure out the best options for you to ease your transition into newer technology. It doesn’t matter whether your workplace is urban or rural, whether you need a two way radio for an office or employee on the move, Nova Communications has the knowledge to ensure you’re getting the best two way radio for around buildings for both now, and in the future.
If you’re not ready to buy your own radios, rental is always an option as well. This is a great way to reduce upfront costs. Leasing is also an option.
Wrapping It Up
With more than 30 years of experience in the two way radio field, you can be sure our two way radio experts can answer any question you may have and help you discover the best product for you. With the right tools in place, you could be surprised to learn how efficiently your team can communicate.
Call us at 1-877-721-7070 or contact us today to learn more. Even if it’s not the right time for buying or upgrading, we can start the conversation now so when the time comes, you’re ready and knowledgeable as to what your next step should be.
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