Emergency communications administration specialist Rob Radtke is back to talk with us about the cutting edge of two-way communications tech and where it’s headed in the future in part 3 of On the Radio with Rob.
Contact Rob or any of our experts to discuss custom two-way communications and wireless security-technology solutions in St. Louis, Southeastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Chicago, San Antonio, and Houston.
Mark: Hi, and welcome to the family! Today we're joined again by Rob Radtke in Houston, Texas for the third installment in a short series we're calling "On the Radio with Rob."
Hi, Rob, and thanks for joining us again. In the last episode we discussed the difference between simplex and duplex modes, and today we're going to talk about the cutting edge of two-way communication tech and where it's headed in the future; so let's jump right in.
Rob: Sure, Mark, thanks for having me; I appreciate it. Well, where we are now... We're in the beginning stages of what's called Push-to-Talk over Cellular — or Push-to-Talk over LTE — which essentially means your cellular networks are the network that you utilize to talk on the two-way device. Now, also what we're leaning into — and we're seeing more of — is this same technology over wi-fi, so it has wi-fi built in. Typically, though, these aren't just standalone; you can buy them and use them anywhere. They work through manufacturers' networks, so you have a network access fee that you'll pay, but you don't have any of the infrastructure — no repeaters, no towers... none of that. As long as you have a good cellular signal or good wi-fi, you have the ability then to talk from coast to coast, and even — you know — even around the world in some respects, because what happens is the cellular network — the data network on the cellular side — is used for those kinds of kinds of communications. What some companies actually are doing — the ones that have larger individual footprints nationwide — is, they're creating what's known as private LTE — or their own cellular networks, essentially — that will allow for further encrypted discussions and conversations because that the communications are on their own private network, and they just buy some power space on existing cell towers. So, the real... Really, the future of two-way communications in general is really headed toward a network-less network; you're using the consumer cellular network to access — or the internet — so... Which leads then into the Internet of Things — or "IoT" — universe, which is, you know, a little bit outside of the scope of two-way communications, but, realistically, it's a strong... it's the strong future of what's coming towards us, and it's going to... it's going to revolutionize two-way communications. Now, that's not necessarily true in public safety — at least not yet. Not for mission critical applications, but some things are already happening within the public-safety universe that allow, you know, officers who are making traffic stops to tap their watch — their smart watch — that talks back to their computer and lets the dispatchers know that they're on a traffic stop, and the physical location for GPS, and all of that. And it's also PoC... or, LTE push-to-talk, is also sort of revolutionizing large fleets, because you can do in a single device what used to take multiple devices, for physical location, and speed, and GPS, and even as much as tracking, like, um... The word I'm looking for here is "inventory." Inventory tracking is available also, and you can unlock and lock certain devices and certain... you can gain access. Access-control is available on these networks, and so, I mean, the real future of two-way communications exists for most folks in the LTE space.
Mark: Great! So, it sounds like it's really long-range communications with a lot of extra possibilities that aren't available with standard two-way.
Rob: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And the biggest thing being distance, and the ability to go over a large physical location without having to install networks and the network appliances, and create, you know, point-to-point wires. You don't have to dig anything. You don't have to put anything up on towers, because the infrastructure already exists to a certain degree. And in larger facilities, too, like warehouses, you know, large campuses and schools — things like that — where wi-fi has total coverage, you don't have to include all of these expensive network appliances to do that. But, on the other side of that, it does suffer the same problems that cellular networks do, and it can be overwhelmed during large events, which is why the traditional... traditional two-way is still a solid investment. But this is really the future, and as the network gets stronger and more resilient to trouble, so, too, will the Push-to-Talk over Cellular or LTE devices, and in that space, get stronger and utilized more often.
Mark: Thanks, Rob, for that explanation. That sounds like some really helpful technology, but with all these options available to choose from, how would our viewers know which technology is right for their needs?
Rob: Well, they can contact me or any of the communication specialists at warnerfamilybrands.com and we can get what their needs are assessed; we can figure out what it is that they need, and get the best possible product in their hands to meet those needs.
Mark: Alright! Thanks again, Rob, and thank you all for watching. That's it for now! Stay tuned for more news and views you can use.