Communicating with field service staff is a vital part of a company’s operations. Opening up a consistent line of communication helps field teams collaborate better and avoid any costly mistakes. One of the tools that help with that is push-to-talk technology.
Not long ago, people often associated radios and walkie-talkies with PTT technology. But now that form of technology has evolved massively over the years. We now have mobile-based PTT technology that operates over cloud-based platforms. PTT technology apps are projected to reach a value of $6.95 billion by 2027. Despite its nascency, it’s already changing the way field-based operations run.
What is PTT and Why Does it Matter for Field Service Staff?
Push-to-talk or PTT is a communication system that allows staff to converse and communicate over a dedicated system. Before technology got to where it is today, most of these systems operated over half-duplex communication lines that ran on two-way radios, much like what police use to radio each other in.
But now, we have what is called push-to-talk over cellular (or PoC), a service option that runs on a cell phone network and enables staff to use their smartphones as a sort of walkie-talkie with unlimited range. These systems typically operate almost instantly, making it easier to communicate with each other or with base headquarters.
Unlike more traditional Instant messaging apps, PTT systems have single-button-press systems which make it easier to communicate and relay messages. These systems also carry group messaging channels, which eliminates the need to make several phone calls to coordinate with a group.
Basic Functions of a PTT over Cellular App
What are some of the main functions that make PTT technology so valuable? Here are the three distinguishing features of a PTT app.
1. Voice messaging
Push-to-talk devices allow field staff to communicate via voice messages outside of a cellular network. This means lesser cost as it can be expensive to send voice messages or SMS through traditional cellular providers. Voice messaging recorders also allow recipients to listen to the voice messages anytime, unlike traditional PTT technologies that only allowed people to listen in real-time.
2. Mobile-friendly design
Old PTT technologies used bulky radio-based devices that tuned into radio frequencies so field staff could communicate while on the road. But now, PTT apps allow staff to communicate via mobile phones. People spend around 5 hours a day on their smartphones, meaning people are more adaptive to technologies that fit into their handheld devices. Many of today’s PTT technology carries a mobile app that makes it easy to use on a mobile phone.
3. File sharing
File sharing is becoming a vital part of internal communications. Staff share files like photos, videos, pdfs, and other formats all the time. Through these push-to-talk applications on mobile phones, field service staff can now share files over to their colleagues and co-workers with a simple click of a button.
Benefits of Using Push-to-talk Applications
Using PTT technology to communicate with field service staff empowers your field management systems in various ways. Here are some of the benefits of using a push-to-talk service in your operations.
1. Seamless internal communications
A push-to-talk service enables seamless internal communications, making it easier to coordinate with field staff. One specific case scenario that might come in handy is when a headquarters team is communicating with a field service team in need of directions to a specific address. By using a PTT application, field service staff can share directions and even send map images to provide teams with better directions to a client’s location.
Internal communications are an essential part of field service management. Without it, field staff can miss out on important details that come up on the fly such as in the case of emergency cases or urgent customer concerns. Using a PTT system helps service teams respond even to the most urgent and on-the-fly concerns of clients.
2. Longer range
Range matters most to a mobile team. In the past, radio-based PTT systems had the added limitation of working in a limited range as radio systems could only work to a certain distance. Now with digital push-to-talk systems, that limitation has been removed.
Most team messenger applications operate on a cloud-based system that has little to no range problems. As long as an area has access to the internet or a 5G network, field service staff will always be in reach.
Push-to-talk software also gives field service teams the added benefit of mobility and convenience. Traditional PTT systems are often attached to a car’s system, meaning service staff might have to walk back to their vehicles to communicate with staff. But given that most cloud-based PTT apps operate on a mobile phone, field staff can carry their comms devices with them when they walk into a client’s home, office, or building.
PTT also gives a field team the convenience of always being in reach. That way, they can receive real-time updates from headquarters and listen in to conversations from other field service staff to get the latest updates from other people who might be servicing company clients within the area. Most push-to-talk apps also have hands-free capabilities, making it more convenient to send voice messages while their hands are busy doing other things.
4. Group communications
Push-to-talk apps allow field service staff to participate in group communications. Field team collaboration highly depends on group-based communications. Through a push-to-talk system, companies can facilitate organization-wide communication channels, which can be public or private depending on what the function of that channel might be.
Being able to filter and group these channels also avoids the unneeded hassle of hearing channels that might not be relevant to a certain group of field service staff. Staff can be grouped according to services, department, team clusters, and so on. Headquarters can share company-wide updates in these specified channels to pave the way for broadcasting in crisis and non-crisis situations.
5. Lesser costs on communications
Apart from push-to-talk technology, some field service staff might use cellular carrier-based service to call each other and headquarters. This alternative can end up costing a lot as carrier services charge per minute call. With push-to-talk services, field service staff don’t have to spend as much to communicate with one another.
6. A convenient way to get in touch
Most company communications happen over email, but that isn’t an ideal setup for field service staff. There are many benefits of team communication apps over email, one is that it’s more instantaneous. It’s also easier to access so that field service staff might be able to check messages while they’re relatively preoccupied, like if they’re climbing through an air-vent or scaling up a telephone pole.
Push-to-talk systems make it much more convenient for field-service staff to stay connected to relay instructions while they’re on the ground performing services for clients.
Messaging and Media in the Future
Media communications is an important part of business operations. When it used to be that companies needed someone with an advanced media communications degree to help set up communications systems for the company, that is no longer the case. Now, companies have access to all kinds of messaging and communications apps with nothing more than a device with internet access.
Messaging apps now have over 20% more active users than social media channels, and the applications are growing. Now even field service staff can greatly benefit from these systems if they use them for the right scenarios.
NuovoTeam’s Push-To-Talk App
NuovoTeam app allows you to communicate with your on-field team on-the-go with its Push-to-talk app (PTT) feature. All you have to do is just push to connect and talk to your geographically distributed field force or frontline workers. This tool for remote work will not only provide instant communication but will also enhance the productivity of the remote workforce at an unmatchable experience.
NuovoTeam app’s PTT features offer a host of benefits to the users:
Now you can voice chat with multiple field workers in one go.
You can save costs spent on long-distance or cellular calling.
Simply push a button to talk, without going through the inconvenience of finding contact information and then dialing a number.
Users have the option to hear the voice note live, in real time, or later on as per convenience.
Make Team Communication Easy,
Simple & Accessible to Your Non-Desk
Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.