By Mels Deels
Critical communication is often associated with the C2000 emergency services network. However this is not the whole story. Many sectors, from construction to chemicals and festivals to road inspectors, need to rely on guaranteed direct group communication in their work and in emergencies. There is an increasing number of vertical markets seeking critical communication solutions. This is a great opportunity for resellers.
We are not just talking about emergency responders or two-way radios at chemical companies, but also about security guards working solitary night shifts, municipal enforcement officers, and technicians working at hazardous locations, where coordination with the remote team is vital.
PrioCom is letting resellers roll out Secure MVNO, specialised in critical communication, a new mission-critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) platform. This is an end-to-end solution, including robust smart devices, integrated Push-to-Talk application, PrioCom SIM cards, services and data priority on the T-Mobile network. Together guaranteeing maximum availability.
Nico Hortensius, Business Development Manager at PrioCom, elaborates on the strength of the new platform. “Firstly, it is about extensive communication functionalities on mobile devices. Group conversations, one-to-one conversations, emergency calls and priority conversations are possible.” By priority conversations, Hortensius is referring to how specific users can have higher priority letting them interrupt a conversation. This enables a supervisor to instantly communicate an urgent message.
Unlike traditional radios, today’s digital solutions means business applications, sharing messages and photos are commonplace. “Employees are already familiar with these because they use their own mobile device on a daily basis. So users no longer need time to get used to using the robust Android devices for critical communication, which is the case with beepers and two-way radios,” adds Marja Dieben, Sales Manager at PrioCom.
The platform provides all the necessary critical communication services in one single app: in the Command & Control Center application. The employee in the control room or porter’s lodge can control critical communication at any time. “We have an application for the operator, as we call this employee”, explains Nico. All functionalities are operated integrally from this application. The graphical map shows the locations of all users and the conversation group they belong to. Using geofencing, users can for example, be automatically moved to other groups based on their location.
“The role of remote photography is also new,” explains Dieben. “This is important for environment scans. They play an essential preventive role, because you can instantly share images with group members and the operator.” This method of sharing information is particularly suitable for road inspectors and special investigators.
Hortensius goes on to say: “In addition to all the new digital features, we must never forget that the system can always be used for an emergency call at the push of a button, with the microphone automatically listening, and the control room seeing the location of the user.”
In practice, any reseller wanting to focus on this exciting segment will have to deal with companies and institutions that still use a large number of radios. “They may not want to replace all these at once – and they don’t have to either”, explains Hortensius. “Our solution can be connected to different brands of radio systems, so enabling a gradual transition”.
Dieben and Hortensius also highlight the additional, extensive Lone Worker Protection module, which can be supplied ready integrated into the application and which is important to those who work alone, such as security guards, road inspectors and maintenance technicians. “This application registers, among other things, a possible fall from a great height, monitors sufficient battery capacity or if it is present for too long in a hazardous environment sends an alarm to the control room. This is of vital importance to those working where help would otherwise not be quickly available in emergencies”.
Hortensius concludes by giving a real example of critical communication: “During a major festival, around 200 traffic controllers were working among the tens of thousands of visitors. They had to be in constant contact with each other. Not only in order to coordinate their work, but also to prevent traffic jams on the motorway, and ensure access for emergency services. This worked flawlessly partly due to the prioritization of the PrioCom service on the T-Mobile network. One of our resellers specializing in events not only provided them with the equipment, but also with full support throughout the event. The Command & Control Center application provided a continuous overview of user positions and management on the event site and the entire surroundings. This is the strength of critical communication solutions for companies and offers new sales opportunities for the channel”.