7 things you need to know about PTT services

Published: 28 May 2021
Author: Piia Nikula
Reading time: 9 min

A push-to-talk (PTT) solution lets you talk to a group of people at the press of a button. With PTT on your smartphone, you don't have to waste time making multiple calls to coordinate with your team.

But that’s just the start. Choose a strong PTT service and you can expect even more. How much more? Read these 7 tips about PTT services to find out. Some of them may surprise you!

A recent webinar from Airbus experts revealed 7 things that can help you make the most of PTT services:

  1. Turn your smartphone into a professional radio
  2. Save time using group calls
  3. Not everyone in your talk group has to be a person
  4. A customizable app is your smartest choice
  5. Access the information you need
  6. A strong PTT solution offers proper user administration
  7. Set your own priorities.

You can see a recording of the full webinar here:

Watch now: 7 secret things about PTT services that you did not know

Tip 1: Turn your smartphone into a professional radio

Think of a task involving several people, such as paramedics briefing hospital staff about an incoming patient. Few hospital workers carry a radio, but a strong PTT solution on their smartphones means that the paramedics can still reach them. The whole team can talk to one another and everyone is on the same page.

In other words, a strong PTT solution turns a smartphone into a radio.

Tip 2: Save valuable time using group calls

Do you need to get your message across to multiple people? You will save a lot of time using PTT instead of one-to-one calls.

Let's say you need to explain something to six people. Even if each call takes just 45 seconds, six calls add up to almost five minutes – even more if any of the numbers is busy.

Fireman using a smartphone
A strong PTT service puts you in touch with the whole team in less than a second, so you can brief everyone together in under a minute.

When mission-critical users need fast, available and secure communications, strong PTT services deliver.

Tip 3: Not everyone in your talk group has to be a person

Most teams currently only include people, but what if things were not that way? What if Artificial Intelligence (AI) or a bot could help?

Organizations typically store a lot of analogue data such as video and audio files. AI could process this data and deliver it to the team in a suitable format using a strong push-to-x solution such as Tactilon Agnet. AI can also process data much faster than a human could.

Strong PTT services can make your human team members part of an AI-enhanced ‘super team’.

So a firefighter might be equipped with a body worn camera. The rest of the team could watch the live video feed in group chat, but live video can be blurry or out of focus. If AI or a bot could clean up the video and then deliver it to the team, the optimized images are much more likely to be useful.

Fireman putting out forest fire

Tip 4: A customizable app is your smartest choice

Even the simplest applications have some customization options, but professional users need more than a choice of wallpaper. A critical application must support existing operational models and not the other way round. That’s why a customizable app is your smartest choice.

Customizations range from simple to complex:

  • Simple customization lets users turn features on or off. Starting or stopping automatic video recording is one example or accessing a different wifi hotspot is another.
  • More complicated customization can give different access rights to different users. The IT department can define which applications or web browsers each user or group can use.
  • Sophisticated customization is based on the ability of one smartphone app to use another. When all your professional apps are integrated in a strong push-to-x platform it means that you don’t have to leave one app to chat with a team or exchange a relevant video. This saves time and effort.

For example, you could integrate a facial recognition solution from a third party app, adding another layer of authentication and security to your push-to-x service, which can be set up to launch only for the right person.

Tip 5: Access the information you need

A strong PTT (or push-to-x) service can provide a wealth of information for your organization. There is the data that goes through the service, the generated data such as statistics, and other available data.

You could apply data mining to this information. For example, a data mining solution could analyze social media activity in a given area, and offer any relevant findings to the professionals working in that area. In the best case, data mining can provide insight and estimations on what could happen next, based on historical information.

Personal safety is always a key target for improvement. Say your team is in a dangerous situation. You can track their heart rates in real time and set an alert so that teammates can intervene if anyone shows signs of acute stress. You can even analyze data from past operations to identify separate thresholds for each team member. This enables AI to identify in real time when a person is in difficulty.

Similarly, firefighters can build a clear picture of the hazards they face by monitoring data from IoT sensors throughout a building. Information about oxygen levels or toxic gases in different locations can be fed back to them via a push-to-X system for the duration of their mission.

Firemen in a smoky building

A strong PTT solution such as Tactilon Agnet can be the information sharing engine for your organization. The right people can access the data they need when they need it, regardless of its origin.

Tip 6: A strong PTT solution offers proper user administration

User administration is another important element of a strong PTT solution. And this is something that everyday PTT solutions do not offer.

But if you choose a strong PTT solution like Tactilon Agnet, you can have a really clever user administration that works for your organization. It will support your organization’s operational models in a much more flexible way than in the old systems.

Push-to-talk user administration

Location tracking is a good example. Some organizations must make location tracking mandatory for legal or security reasons. But for everyone else, a strong PTT solution gives the flexibility to track users in whichever way makes most sense. Perhaps you only need to track people during working hours, or each user can decide whether or not her manager sees her current location.

In other words, flexible user administration puts you in charge of how you use your PTT solution.

Tip 7: Set your own priorities

Imagine this: a spectator in football league finals falls down the stairs and injures himself. A medical team has to respond – and communicate together.

At the same time, the exciting game is on. Thousands of people in the audience are taking photos and videos and uploading them to social media. They use the same network as all the public safety professionals do for their communications.

Football stadium
How can you make sure that the medical team will get the service from this loaded network?

Although broadband technologies have mechanisms for managing traffic load in a congested network, consumer networks rarely use them. Consumer networks treat all subscribers equally, and everyone gets best-effort service. This works well when there is more capacity than the subscribers need.

But when the load gets heavier, everyone will have to settle with low-quality service.

This is where priorities come into play, and a strong PTT solution will support priorities. The most critical subscribers and the most critical applications get the highest priority. They will get the capacity they need. After all, when lives are at stake, communications must get through.

To summarize –

These were 7 actionable tips about PTT services. Here’s a bonus for you: strong PTT services can save you money too. Download this eBook to learn how!

Download now: Five ways that strong PTT services can save you money

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The Mission Is Critical blog gives you insights into professional and public safety broadband, mission critical user experience, secure and critical communications, hybrid narrowband-broadband solutions and dual-mode devices, and Tetrapol and TETRA radios.