Push-to-Talk: Old technology; new smartphone

Twenty years ago now, many home service technicians kept in contact with the home office or dispatch with a push-to-talk function on a cell phone; a phone that is far inferior to the smartphones technicians carry around today.

But in recent years, some home service companies and dispatchers have reached out to SGH-A847ZAAATT_1_3the old push-to- talk concept and wanted it replicated on their new smartphones.

Take Tom Raver for example; who started thinking about how to propel his company Fireplace Distributors, Inc., into the future with workforce management software. Raver knew the secret to enter into modern business was in technology and workforce management. His fireplace installation company, of about 20 technicians, needs constant contact for optimal success along with quick contact with his employees–which brought to mind push-to-talk.

Raver purchased tablets for his employees to track scheduling, billing, fuel, mileage, etc. and new push-to-talk flip phones for immediate contact with his technicians.

Bearcom.com recently addressed this push-to-talk radio feature on their website.

“Across the business spectrum, there is intense focus these days on mobility. Companies want to arm employees with the tools needed to do more things from more places—and to do it all faster. Smartphones are getting smarter. And two-way radios are getting smaller and more sophisticated. In fact, cell phones and two-way radios now can be hard to tell apart. With the convergence of the two technologies, it’s natural to ask: Which is right for my business, cell phones or two-way radios?” according to Bearcom.com.

In Raver’s situation it was even financially more sound to choose a push-to-talk and tablet combo than equipping all employees with smartphones. Fireplace Distributors, after the initial expense of the tablets and push-to-talk flip phones, will pay about $50 a month for each technician’s tablet and cell service ensuring 100% mobility.

Bearcom.com also reports that, “A discussion of cell phones and two-way radios naturally will explore the advantages of each technology over various points of comparison. But in most cases, the two technologies are not direct competitors. Instead, cell phones and two-way radios are wireless mobile communications devices that have specific advantages, depending on the user’s requirements.

“So, weighing the two options is really an exercise in needs analysis. That evaluation begins with a discussion of a company’s communications philosophy and the urgency of its communications.”

For a home service company that wants technicians to only have contact with the home office and other co-workers, the push-to-talk feature is a no-brainer. If your company wants to monitor online activity, this push-to-talk and tablet combo gives management even more control over employees overusing the online element of smartphone. GPS also is available of many of these phones.

Push-to-Talk pros:

  • Long battery life on new push-to-talk phones like the Samsung Rugby

  • Call restriction features

  • One button access to contacts

To make the decision for your company on a total workforce management system and what type of mobility technology to choose; first identify the pros and cons of a smartphone, push-to-talk radio function and the speed in which you need to communicate with employees.

Choosing the push-to-talk application could be the key to mobility that your home service company and workforce management system is ready for in  today’s business environment.

Posted on June 20, 2013, in Workforce Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Grass and Plants and Bugs, oh MY! and commented:
    Here are some great thoughts from Service Proz on the resurgence of the push-to-talk option for the home service industry, including landscape professionals.

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