Monday, March 11, 2013

Digital 2-Way Radio - It's a Game Changer

Remember analog TV? The picture was fuzzy compared with today's high-definition TVs, and functions like video on-demand were just not possible. Now with digital TV you have an incredibly clear picture, can stream video from a number of sources, surf the web, and make video phone calls
The same transformation has occurred with phones. Voice distortion, background noise, and static are common in analog phones. Think 'cell phones' when you think about the quality of digital voice communications. Yes there may be some dead spots, but generally the audio is very clear. And let's not forget about all the apps now available for smart phones. You can find a near-by coffee shop, text your next appointment to say you're running late, or get a map and directions to where you are headed. Digital technology brings with it capabilities that allow for a multitude of new functions.

The digital revolution is just beginning to impact 2-way radio communications. Today's new digital radios deliver the clarity of cell phone audio, along with added functions such as text messaging. Not to mention advantages such as longer battery life and double calling capacity. Vertex Standard recently announced a new digital radio, the EVX-531, which is priced on-par with mid-range analog radios. I believe we will see a number of manufacturers follow suit in the near future, releasing digital 2-way radios with enhanced capabilities for the mid-tier market.

It will be interesting to see what new trends emerge at this week's IWCE show in Las Vegas, the major trade show for wireless communications. Will there be a “smart” 2-way radio, capable of downloading and using applications developed by other 3rd parties? As with cell phones and TVs, we could see a whole set of new functions come to market very quickly. And once digital applications become widely available the business justification for customers moving to digital becomes even stronger.

So why consider digital 2-way radio today? BECAUSE – 2-way radios are an investment. Some might say “analog is good enough for my business”, but who could have imagined all the new capabilities a cell phone would have once smart phones and their applications arrived? There is so much more you can do beyond talking. The same will be true of digital two-way radios. As new applications develop to address key business requirements, digital 2-way radio will give real advantages to those who adopt the technology. With a digital radios starting to be priced closer to their analog cousins, do you really want to invest in the equivalent of an analog TV, which you will be using for years to come? ... I think not.

by Sandra Hamrick 
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