6 Requirements Your Radios Should Address

Today's advanced two-way radios can overcome background noise, privacy issues and other challenges so your campus will be more secure and productive.
Published: February 28, 2009

1. Voice intelligibility: It’s not uncommon for there to be a lot of background noise in classrooms, patient rooms and other areas on campus. This can make it difficult for security officers, teachers, administrators and medical personnel to understand the information being transmitted on their hand-held radios.

Today’s digital radios provide clearer voice communications that can cut through background sounds with noise suppression technology. Furthermore, a full line of compatible audio accessories allow users to communicate hands-free while focusing on the job at hand. Also, text messaging capabilities offer an alternative when voice communication is not possible or practical.

2. Transitioning from analog to digital: Many campuses want to upgrade their old analog radio systems to digital so they can have clearer reception, achieve cost savings and take advantage of features like GPS, supervisory channels and text messaging. For example, security staff can program some radios to receive an alarm text message when an emergency door is opened. Today’s two-way radio technology provides a cost-effective and user-friendly way to smooth the transition.

Many two-way radios now have dual-mode operations that can enable backward communication between new digital units and older analog units that are already in place. That way, a school, university or hospital can buy only the number of new digital radios it needs and operate them in analog mode so they will be able to communicate with legacy radios. Then, at a later date when the budget permits the purchase of more radios, the campus can gradually phase out its analog units.

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3. Communications privacy: During a crisis or a situation that requires confidentiality, emergency personnel, campus administrators and staff must have the ability to communicate privately to certain pre-defined groups of individuals or talk groups.

Advanced two-way radios have multiple channels, one or more of which can be used for supervisory personnel. This allows campus officials to have private conversations so they can discuss sensitive subjects. The text messaging feature available on many radios can also keep communication confidential.

Some radios have call alert and selective call features that can page a specific person or group during an emergency, such as an evacuation, power failure or patient emergency. Call alert or selective call allow these situations to be managed by appropriate personnel without disturbing other users who are not involved.

4. Efficient use of radio frequency: Purchasing additional licenses for more two-way business radio frequency can be expensive. To address this issue, some radio manufacturers have incorporated TDMA technology, which delivers greater than twice the capacity as compared to analog and without requiring additional FCC-allocated frequencies. The extra capacity can be used for more voice traffic and dedicated data traffic without causing extra interference.

5. Coverage and scalability: Campuses require systems that can expand as their needs grow so their return on their investment will be optimized. Additionally, reception must be strong in areas like tunnels, basements, generator rooms, equipment rooms and on large sprawling campuses.

Today’s top two-way radio systems are designed to be regularly enhanced through third party devices and applications, making them expandable platforms that give users the opportunity to upgrade their radios as needed. These devices also provide better and clearer reception in formerly fringe coverage areas.

6. Personnel and asset tracking: If a security officer is unable to communicate due to an accident or assault, campus management must have the ability to locate that individual to render assistance. Additionally, many campuses require that students and school buses be tracked.

GPS enables schools, universities and hospitals to track field units, school vehicles and children. Their location is displayed on the dispatcher’s computer screen for more efficient operations and asset management.

Campuses Successfully Implement Two-Way Communications
Although these requirements can seem challenging, today’s advanced two-way radios are up to the task of meeting them while keeping costs contained. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and West Tennessee Healthcare are just two examples of how this technology has been successfully deployed on campus.

Click here to view case studies on Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and West Tennessee Healthcare.

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Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series