Long before everyone carried a mobile phone about their person, industry knew all about the advantages of wireless communications. For decades, two way radio has been a vital tool in helping to coordinate operations and maintain safety standards on busy shop floors.

And little has changed despite the smartphone revolution. Like most forms of technology, two way radio has come a long way in the digital age, with better performance, greater reliability and more features meaning the familiar handsets have been able to keep up with the demands of modern industry.

What that means, however, is that two way radio is not as simple a tool as it once was. With greater sophistication comes greater complexity, and the modern digital handset is not simply a matter of pushing a button and talking. It takes a little more thought to ensure you get a solution that has the optimum impact on your business.

Aiding coordination

First, think about how you organise your operations, and the levels of communication you need to support that. Old-fashioned analogue radios had one mode - you broadcast to every other handset in range and that was it. But modern digital models offer the choice of call groups and private calls, helpful to set up communication channels for separate teams, or let individuals liaise with one another without disturbing everyone else.

For overall coordination, more advanced models allow work tickets to be issued on the go, perfect for supervisors on the floor. But for larger operations, it may be more efficient to set up a central dispatch console. Software dispatch platforms are affordable and can be run on an ordinary PC. As well as providing control room supervision for all radio users, most solutions offer IP connectivity, meaning your radio network and your business VoIP telephone system can be integrated.

Smart systems

The fact that modern digital radios are internet and data-compatible opens the door to many possibilities. GPS tracking can be used to monitor user movements and pinpoint locations in the event of an emergency. With the emergence of the smart factory, built around machine-to-machine IoT data exchange and automated decision making, data-ready two way radios can play an important monitoring role supporting machine-to-human communication on the go.

Safety is a critical factor in the effective running of a manufacturing business. Digital two way radios offer a range of features intended to support health and safety monitoring and emergency response in the workplace, so matching these options to what actually takes place on your shop floor is another way to get added value from your radios.

If employees are often asked to work alone in potentially risky situations, choose a model which supports Lone Worker remote monitoring. This is particularly useful for night shifts when staffing numbers are lower. If you have workers operating at height, Man Down is a feature which automatically triggers an alert if it detects a fall. If your facility handles explosive materials, ATEX models ensure there is no risk from electrical sparks from the handset. Emergency Button is a programmable feature which issues an alarm with a single touch, while Emergency Override means urgent calls will be heard by all users no matter what other communications are taking place.

To find out more about the very latest in two way radio technology, please visit the Brentwood Communications website, or why not give us a call on 0808 271 3606 to talk to one of our friendly consultants.