Category Archives: WAVE

How to Deploy Universal UCC Affordably and Flexibly

WAVE OnCloud Series, Part 3 of 3

In previous blog posts, we delved into two of the most pressing use cases for a truly unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platform, one that bridges the divide between the “carpeted” and “concrete” business components. These were:

  1. Safety: Do you have the enterprise-wide communication coverage needed to facilitate All Call in the event of a crisis?
  2. Agility: Is your UCC system universal enough that business  operations can change on the fly, but in a coordinated manner?

With a setup such as WAVE from Motorola Solutions, which integrates radio and cellular communications, the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.” Silos between the carpet and the concrete components of business dissolve to make way for universal UCC.

But that does leave one lingering question: What happens as business operations expand and contract? Universal UCC has the benefit of enabling business-process agility at any given moment in time, but can it do the same over time – for instance, in the course of months or even years.

Circumventing the Risk of High Expense and Low Returns

The upfront expenditures associated with digital transformation have a way of tempering the initial excitement of change. Even the most carefully evaluated technology investments are really just educated guesses. What will the return on investment really end up looking like?

Individually, carpeted and concrete businesses have come up against this question. The former has dealt with it in the form of digital communication systems such as VoIP and UC platforms, and the latter with two-way radio. Universal UCC is about uniting both sides of the business under a single, enterprise-wide platform, which has extraordinary potential to improve operations.

As compelling as the value proposition may seem, why should an enterprise pour money into new infrastructure? Simply put, they shouldn’t, because they can still get all the benefits of universal UCC without the sticker shock.

Just as subscription-based services in the cloud have made digital transformation affordable, quick to deploy, and flexible, WAVE OnCloud from Motorola Solutions has done the same for integration between two-way radio and digital enterprise communications.

No CAPEX? Check. Predictable Pricing? Check. ROI? Check!

Rather than deploying on-premises, which requires an upfront expense and overhead for ongoing maintenance, businesses can opt into what Gartner refers to as communication Platform-as-a-Service (cPaaS).

As a subscription-based software model, cPaaS enables push-to-talk (PTT) from any location, and on any device that has Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity (i.e., laptops, tablets and smartphones). From an operational standpoint, this capability is crucial. According to a survey conducted by Motorola Solutions, 78 percent of manufacturing workers are using multiple devices to communicate with one another.

Two-way radio is still in use by 67 percent of production workers, second only to smartphones, at 78 percent. Clearly, there is significant overlap between smartphones and radio, with many employees regularly using both. This is where WAVE OnCloud is especially useful. Any digital device that has the WAVE PTT application can communicate instantly with any MOTOTRBO radio, and vice versa. Even when workers are out of range of the radio network, they can still utilize PTT through mobile the same as they would through a two-way radio unit. What’s more, they can use PTT with any other worker in the carpeted areas of business who has access to the service.

All of this occurs without any need for new infrastructure, meaning CAPEX budget is not required. Equally critical, cPaaS has a predictable-pricing model. Like other as-a-Service offerings, there’s a fixed cost per device. This facilitates the long-term flexibility referenced at the start of this post. Enterprises hereby have universal UCC for the cost of just the monthly fee per user – no additional infrastructure, and no maintenance necessary. The end result is a high-performing service with a low total cost of ownership, a.k.a., the ingredients for ROI.

If that message resonates with you, contact Day Wireless Systems today for more information.

Motorola Solutions makes the innovation affordable. We make it easy.

The Importance of Company-Wide UCC for Agile Operations

WAVE OnCloud Series, Part 2

In last week’s post, we looked at how Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) tools like WAVE OnCloud by Motorola help improve employee safety in a carpeted vs concrete ecosystem.  In this post, we look at how implementing Unified Communication and Collaboration using two-way radio and office devices enable a more agile enterprise in responding to priority situations and helping with everyday collaboration.

Enterprise businesses are latching on to the terms “agile” and “lean” in the interest of constructing more resilient, flexible business operations. The cumulative impact has been the gradual construction of the “digital workplace.” Yet, there’s a glaring hole in what otherwise seems like a good idea: the digital workplace has now been rolled out in what Motorola refers to as the “carpeted”, or office sectors of the enterprise. For “concrete” sectors like warehouses or the production floor, the digital workplace options are absent. The reason for this disparity is that traditional Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) tools have only been designed for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. But, our landscape and needs have modernized and so must our tools.

 

Different Workflows, Different Communications

Corporate Vice President for Motorola Solutions John Kedzierski summed up the situation best with the following example:

“The operator in the paint-spray booth at a manufacturing facility is not going to use Google Hangouts on a laptop to notify her supply team that she is out of paint. She will use a push-to-talk radio to say ‘I’m out of paint at Sprayer 4.'”

Kedzierski explained that employees in industrial environments face a very different set of challenges than office workers, and therefore require different communication methods when talking within those environments. Namely, they need something rugged, reliable and instantaneous, and PTT-enabled two-way radios hit all of these marks. Additionally, the networks they leverage tend to be more resilient, and the handheld units are designed to convey crystal-clear audio even in loud settings, with nothing more than the push of a button.

Thus, stripping away push-to-talk radio isn’t a viable option for “concrete” workers. At the same time, desktops, laptops and smartphones in the business office can’t be swapped out for two-way radios.

Voice Communication: The Original Collaboration Tool

From an operation standpoint, though, UCC silos hold back the digital transformation that’s needed to optimize employee agility for the sake of responding to disruptions. While it’s true that automation and the Industrial Internet of Things are changing concrete business operations as we know them, the pecking order of any workflow is still “people, process, technology.” The technology serves the process, and the process should make it easier for people to do their jobs safely and efficiently.

The problem is that as we’ve become more reliant on technology, a disruption to our digital infrastructure makes us more sluggish to engage employees. Consider the example of a data center where technicians and facility managers frequently deal with hazards such as overheating, electrical shorts, cyberattacks, equipment failures and other disruptions that directly affect business operations.

Data center disruptions have a financial impact, according to the Ponemon Institute, of nearly $9,000 per minute. Any disruption to data flow is costly for both the data center, and for users who rely on accessing information quickly and reliably. But when data center function is interrupted, fast-paced UCC between the boots on the ground and the office park becomes even more essential.

Let’s look at the barriers to facilitating this communication.  Data centers have thick, concrete walls that improve insulation, but also hinder RF signal going in or out. Cellular boosters/amplifiers can be installed to boost signals inside; however, it is rarely cost effective due to the relatively low headcount of employees who operate a data center.  Many facilities get around this problem by using two-way radio systems.  But again, that doesn’t address the bigger problem, which is that two-way radio is used in the data center and cellular communication in business headquarters.

By having both reliable two-way radio and cellular communication, the idea of facilitating immediate back-and-forth engagement between “carpeted” and “concrete” business factions becomes more tenable. This is crucial for quickly assessing incidents such as data breaches or outages, as well as responding to those incidents collaboratively and, hopefully, getting vital operations back on track quickly.

Similarly, there’s a high cost of disruption on the manufacturing floor, in supplier warehouses, to delivery trucks, and so on. While enterprises have heavily focused on making their digital workflows agile, in the process some have forgotten to ask themselves how agile and reliable their enterprise-wide, human-to-human communication infrastructure really is. If enterprise information systems are disrupted, there must be streamlined communication between the “carpeted” and “concrete” operations.

The silver lining is that the underlying infrastructure for enterprise-wide UCC already exists. On the “carpeted” side, enterprises can leverage cellular, and on the “concrete” side, they can leverage PTT radio.  The two can be different without being disparate. Here’s how:

Understanding the WAVE On Cloud Model

Communication Platform as-a-Service, or CPaaS, has emerged to address this very problem. Unlike other forms of digital workplace advancement, CPaaS doesn’t require any new infrastructure.

Motorola Solutions’ WAVE On Cloud solution is a leading example of CPaaS. The solution is a cloud-based, Push to Talk (PTT) application that works with any Wi-Fi or cellular-connected device, but also with MOTOTRBO radios. As a result, UCC between the carpeted and concrete components of the enterprise is not only integrated, but also resilient and redundant.

For priority engagements, such as dealing with data center downtime, WAVE acts a UCC lifeline, but it’s equally useful for creating more direct lines of communication to facilitate agile processes.

The traditional enterprise has a very rigidly outlined protocol for communicating through the lines of business. And while this hierarchy is in place to maintain order, in some cases it can become needlessly bureaucratic. For instance, if a warehouse manager knows that a supplier shipment is going to be late, they may as well have a direct line of communication to the various employees who will be directly affected by this. If customer service and supply chain managers are directly looped into these discussions, they can collaborate to prescribe contingency plans much faster.

The fully digital workplace and integrated agile enterprise are not pie in the sky dreams. But before they can become a reality, UCC must grow up. Day Wireless Systems, a leading and trusted name in communication and collaboration for more than four decades, is ready to help facilitate that growth.

Contact us today to learn more.

You Need to Reach Every Employee Instantly – Introducing Wave on Cloud

WAVE OnCloud Series, Part 1

Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) systems are not new to the enterprise. In fact, unified email, chat, video conference and other communication channels have more or less become an expectation in what a recent Motorola Solutions white paper referred to as “the carpeted areas of the business.” But in operations like the production floor, inventory warehouses, transport vessels, and construction sites, (Motorola calls them “concrete” areas of business) UCC has been slower off the block. Why?

Part of the answer is that desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones have traditionally been best-suited to front-end business operations. Meanwhile, on loading docks or the production line, two-way radios tend to be the device of choice. They’re more rugged, and two-way radio networks such as MOTOTRBO typically have better availability, redundancy, and lower operating cost than Wi-Fi and cellular networks. In other words, radio just makes sense on a construction site or at an inventory warehouse in a way a cell phone doesn’t.

Of course, there are cases in which two-way radio’s range can be limiting. What’s more, having two completely separate communication networks for “carpeted” and “concrete” makes it extremely difficult to truly unify an enterprise under a single emergency notification system.

In this post, we look at how radio and cellular users can be better integrated to improve enterprise-wide coverage for the sake of employee safety.

1.  Coverage Everywhere: A Weakness of Two-Way Radio

Safety is a top priority in any business operation, and communication plays a central role in ensuring that safety. Any disruption in a professional’s ability to immediately communicate with supporting staff can jeopardize that workgroup’s well-being. Consider any of these scenarios:

  • A security guard is unable to provide police with a suspect’s location in a timely manner.
  • A utility worker falls down and is unable to radio for help.
  • A maintenance worker is mistakenly locked in a cargo hold.

In any of the above safety situations, the clear audio of digital two-way radio based push to talk (PTT) can essentially act as a lifeline – but only if coverage is sufficient. While it’s true that radio networks are designed for immediate availability, it’s also true that radio can have limited range.  On the one hand, only installing the infrastructure for the coverage you need, and not paying for things you don’t is a key part of radio networks’ appeal.  On the other hand, it makes sense for users covering large geographic areas, or companies who aren’t able to see the ROI of building their own radio network, to leverage existing cellular networks.

Consider the example of the 14,000-mile Canadian Pacific Railway, which is patrolled by 102 officers of the Canadian Pacific Police Service (CPPS). Because the territory was so expansive, the agency was forced to use various carrier solutions depending on where they were stationed. This led to communication hiccups and/or failures due to interoperability issues between carriers.

To rectify the problem, CPPS worked with WAVE, by Motorola Solutions, which provided seamless push-to-talk functionality over several cellular networks, allowing the agency to communicate effectively and affordably despite the distances involved.

So while there’s a lot to be said for the reliability of radio, expanding the network requires significant resources.  Our recommendation would be to build out your two-way radio network based on your needs whether local, multi-site, or regional coverage is desired.  To supplement coverage and push-to-talk functionality for smartphone/Wi-Fi devices, a platform such as WAVE should be considered.

2.   UCC Is About Safety, First

The other significant benefit of integrating radio and cellular is that you lay the foundation for a truly unified communication and collaboration system.

To better understand this, consider how WAVE OnCloud from Motorola Solutions functions. Any Wi-Fi or cellular-connected device (desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone) that has the push-to-talk app is able to connect through the cloud to any other device with that capability – including MOTOTRBO radios – regardless of location. As a result, you effectively enable enterprise-wide PTT without having to implement any additional infrastructure. Companies are able to leverage their sizeable investments in radio systems, yet scale enterprise PTT as needed. Since WAVE On Cloud is delivered as a subscription-based Communication Platform as-a-Service, or CPaaS, implementation is as simple as paying a monthly subscription fee, downloading the app and scaling as you go.

In today’s interconnected business landscape, an emergency or adverse incident in one enterprise outpost can easily cause problems in another affiliated location. This justifies the use of an emergency notification system, or “All Call” feature, which can span beyond the building, and to other areas of the organization instantaneously. With the push-to-talk functionality of WAVE On Cloud, you get that capability at no capital expense to your business.

3.  Why not just go through traditional communication hierarchies?

Of course, this begs the question: Why alter traditional business communications at all? Today, an enterprise that needs to reach every single line of business (carpeted, concrete and otherwise) will go through decision makers, to management and from management to supervisory positions in the concrete operations. Those supervisors then branch out to their teams, most likely though two-way radio. For the sake of explicit clarity, let’s look at how simplifying this line of communication in a true UCC setup benefits employee safety.

First, let’s consider the example of a hospital that declares an internal state of emergency. For instance, in early 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital was struck with ransomware, crippling many of its computer systems. As a result, the hospital was forced to keep records with pen and paper, and actually started to reroute ambulances to other nearby facilities whenever possible. Fortunately, patient care was not affected by the incident. Nevertheless, this is the type of emergency in which having a single, unified “All Call” communication system is crucial. Security and administrative staff, doctors, nurses, on-site technicians, custodial staff and EMTs all need to be kept in the loop through UCC, and alerted the moment that an internal state of emergency is initiated, so that they can begin adhering to contingency protocols. Patient well-being and public safety depend on a quick and uniform response to the emergency. While departments are waiting for information, they can’t follow protocol.

Let’s consider another scenario: a product recall. In the event of a bacterial outbreak at a food production plant, for instance, every operation will be impacted. And while employee safety may not be at immediate risk, public safety is endangered. An “All Call” capability can help the organization respond quickly and harmoniously. Most enterprises will have a pre-meditated protocol for dealing with these types of situations, and that everyone has a role to play. An “All Call” button doesn’t replace these processes, but it does get them in motion in a quick and uniform manner. Like an enterprise-wide intercom, critical, emergency-grade information can be passed via “All Call” to the largest number of employees possible.

Perhaps the “All Call” scenario that hits closest to home for most is a school district emergency.  In a matter of seconds, instructions can be given district-wide to initiate lockdown procedures or other emergency protocol.  Of course decision-makers will still need to engineer response protocols to these situations. “All Call” by no means democratizes these response strategies. It does not influence the content of the message or instruct action; it merely gives decision-makers and managers the architecture they need to share that message as quickly and efficiently as possible. In doing so, “All Call” also helps to eliminate the possibility of miscommunications that could hinder the performance of incident response. The end result is a leaner, more responsive organization that can work in tandem to solve the most dire problems.

For more information about how WAVE OnCloud can improve enterprise-wise safety, reach out to us today. With more than four decades of experience, Day Wireless Systems is a veteran in communication systems – one hand on the past, and both eyes on the future.

We’re ready to talk PTT whenever you are.