A clear division has traditionally existed in enterprise communications: There are cellular device users (workers who need smartphones and other multifunctional endpoints for front-office multitasking), and there are the two-way radio users (those who need rugged handheld devices that do one thing really well – provide crystal-clear audio in often loud operational settings). In a previous blog series, we borrowed phrasing from Motorola and referred to these facets as the “carpeted” and “concrete” sides of business.
But as we also pointed out, this very clear-cut divide is beginning to dissolve as more enterprises move toward unified communications.
In fact, for the first time ever, there’s precedent for a handheld, mobile communication device that looks and acts like a two-way radio, but is in fact a cellular endpoint. The name of that device is the Motorola TLK 100, and we’re thrilled to announce its inclusion in our portfolio of communication solutions.
Back-to-Basics, No-Frills, Reliable Cellular PTT
The TLK 100 isn’t the first Motorola solution that puts the “carpeted” and “concrete” sides of the enterprise on the same wavelength so to speak (see WAVE OnCloud). However, it’s unique in that it relies entirely on the Verizon cellular network, which provides comprehensive coverage in the U.S. And conditions certainly exist where operating over a two-way radio network makes more sense; for example, data center campuses, oil refineries and other large onsite facilities with high-risk operations that warrant on-premises radio coverage.
That said, cellular PTT has several intrinsic qualities that lend well to specific business circumstances, such as large commercial trucking fleets that need constant communication over vast geographies, or field-maintenance teams that travel region-to-region to service industrial machinery. Under such conditions, the new TLK 100 has several key advantages:
- Wide-area coverage: The TLK 100 runs on Verizon’s cellular network, which has the best nationwide 4G coverage of all domestic carriers. This setup is perfectly suited to a business operation that spans the length of the west coast, for instance, but still needs a distraction-free, high-performance, rugged PTT communication system.
- Cellular integration: Because the TLK 100 is on a cellular network, PTT users can also communicate with smartphone users who have the Motorola WAVE app installed on their device and are registered as part of the talk group.
- Wi-Fi integration: Wireless networks can be remotely programmed to improve coverage if needed; for instance, Wi-Fi can be used in fortified structures and facilities with limited cell signal penetration.
- Interoperability with legacy systems: An easily deployed system gateway facilitates seamless interoperability between TLK 100 and traditional TRBO systems.
- GPS-enabled: All TLK 100 devices feature built-in GPS, which enables businesses to track field technicians, maintenance workers and fleets in real-time.
- Easily implemented: Deploying TLK 100 devices is fast and easy because the network infrastructure is already in place. No major overhauls to existing systems are necessary for implementation. Users simply set up talk groups via an online portal to pre-program radios.
- Predictable pricing: Motorola offers TLK 100 devices in a predictable monthly pricing model. Just like consumer cellular plans, the devices themselves are free with a contract.
- Flexible and scalable: Ease of implementation and simple pricing make TLK 100 devices ideal for temporary use cases or projects. This also means that new devices can easily be added or removed as needed.
- Low maintenance: The network is fully managed and maintained by Verizon, no manual codeplug programming is necessary (TLK 100 is completely configurable over the air) and, with simple PTT comparability, the learning curve for use is practically non-existent.
From a hardware perspective, the minimalist but powerful design of the TLK 100 series makes perfect sense:
- PTT: Push-to-talk capability is perfectly suited to quick patching between other TLK 100 devices and with smartphone users.
- Ruggedness: TLK 100 devices are tougher than even the most rugged cell phones, which makes them ideal for conditions out in the field.
- High audio output: All TLK 100 devices provide a high-audio output speaker that provides clear audio in loud environments.
- Distraction-free: No GUI, no apps and no internet mean no distracted driving, and no disruptions for your field techs as they handle potentially hazardous equipment.
A Small Step Toward Universal Unified Communications?
The new TLK 100 by no means replaces the two-way radio for on-site coverage (in schools, data centers, factories, college campuses, etc.). Nor is it a replacement for digital communication systems. Rather, it fills an important niche for businesses as a wide-area coverage communication system that uses, bare-bones, rugged, reliable and distraction-free endpoint for PTT chatter.
What’s more, because it uses cellular, TLK 100 is a small, albeit important step toward universal unified communications (UCC). Specifically, it integrates off-site, mobile, PTT communications with digital PTT users back at HQ. Accordingly, this improves a business’s ability to coordinate more effectively with its offsite teams while they’re in the field without having to issue non-rugged, expensive and distracting corporate smartphones.
If those operational specifications meet your requirements, contact Day Wireless Systems to learn more about how to get started with TLK 100.