Listening to customers’ needs and feedback is the best way to determine how technology solutions can help customers increase safety, efficiency and productivity in any industry, and digital mobile radio (DMR) is no different. As a result, customer demand is driving much of the innovation in today’s DMR technology, as described in Motorola Solutions’latest white paper, “Five trends driving DMR innovation”.
There are five key trends behind these demands as businesses strive to adapt to an environment that is changing rapidly and subject to numerous pressures.
1. Doing more with less
“Doing more with less” is no longer a request for all business departments, it’s a prerequisite. In two ways, new DMR technology is meeting customer demand for radios to help them reach this goal.
Remote software updates
Wi-Fi technology contained within new DMR radios enables remote software updates. Previously, a system administrator would recall hundreds of radios to a central location and physically plug in every radio to download new software. Many customers delayed implementing the latest software, missing out on significant benefits.
With Wi-Fi radio management, the administrator can implement changes over-the-air, simultaneously reprogramming an entire fleet in 10 minutes. This delivers huge productivity savings with users able to continue communicating throughout the process.
Longer battery life for longer shifts
Longer shifts put extra demands on equipment as well as people. With extended life batteries, businesses can experience greater productivity as radios last two shifts instead of one and staff work without returning to base station to change over or recharge radios.
An enhanced radio with a low-voltage battery will continue to operate until the voltage drops to 5V instead of the typical 6V, making more of the battery’s capacity available for use. Battery life increases to up to 27 hours, without increasing battery size or weight.
2. Applications (apps) delivering more
We use apps every day in ways never imagined before. Similarly, the days of two-way radio as a purely voice solution are well and truly over, with sophisticated apps offering advanced capabilities.
Newly released DMR radios build on existing standard apps. One recent development is Bluetooth low energy mode, which uses considerably less power but offers similar range. Indoor location-tracking can be switched on constantly without diminishing battery performance, which means better worker monitoring and increased productivity when the closest worker can be dispatched to a task.
3. Higher expectations of uninterrupted connectivity
As consumers, we expect to be connected every minute of the day. Similarly, DMR customers expect to remain connected over larger areas, coupled with superior audio performance over that extended area. Advanced sensitivity in new DMR radios increases coverage areas by 10-16 per cent and range has risen by five to eight per cent. Significantly, audio quality remains clear right to the periphery of this range.
4. Convergence for streamlining
Businesses demand streamlined devices to maximise efficiency and manage costs. Customers want an increase in device convergence so they can use a single device to do everything.
This demand for convergence has led to the development of applications such as WAVE Work Group Communications, which provides broadband push-to-talk (PTT) interoperability between differing devices and networks.
New DMR radios include further convergence technologies such as Wi-Fi capability, a feature that could conceivably become standard in the future. The growing emergence of long-term evolution (LTE) means that this too may eventually converge in the one device.
5. Everything is standard
In the consumer world of technology, more and more features have become standard due to consumer expectations. Two-way radios are no different. Even the most basic form factor has become more sophisticated with features such as the accelerometer built in instead of optional.
The more that applications like these are built in, the more that radios will integrate with day-to-day business practice as they play a fundamental role in enabling productivity and safety gains.
Current trends in the marketplace are the driving factor for customers’ demand of innovation in technology.
Meeting these demands with innovation in DMR technology enables businesses to do so much more. Businesses can improve the safety of their workers, increase efficiency and enhance productivity, which aids their competitiveness in an ever-changing market.