What are the most important features of a dual-mode device to help public safety and other industry professionals in their daily work? Who better to ask than the users themselves with their years of experience in using mobile communications in the field? So that’s what we did and our test users came up with five features they considered essential in a hybrid device.
1 - Ease of use
When people first handle a hybrid TETRA and LTE device with its large touchscreen, they intuitively use it like a smartphone. This is a valuable reaction as it means they can start using the device with very little training.
The next step for the new user will be to adopt the TETRA communication features and new data capabilities, so those must also be easy to use in the device.
2 - Excellent voice
Working in noisy environments, users expect excellent voice quality. Consumer smartphones often don’t match up as their audio system is usually optimized for music rather than speech.
3 - External PTT
Users want to use the push-to-talk (PTT) key reliably and easily. If PTT is needed only a few times a day, an easy to hit button on the touchscreen will be adequate. However, heavier use requires a physical PTT key in the right place on the device. The PTT key also needs to be easy to use even when wearing gloves.
4 - Long battery life
Public safety and other professionals usually work in shifts, with a typical length of eight hours. During that time, the battery needs to feed GPS positioning, camera, data services, group and one-to-one communications. Ideally, the battery should be able to handle this.
But, should the battery run out of juice, it should be quick and easy to change.
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Eight great ways to make your device run for longer between recharges.
5 - Ruggedness
Some test users needed to run operations on a boat. They need their tools to be waterproof and resistant to shocks. This also goes for hybrid devices. As a rule, current consumer smartphones do not meet this need.
Want an alternative to a regular smartphone? Take a look at Tactilon Dabat, designed for professionals. It is more than a powerful public safety smartphone: it's a hybrid device, combining a smartphone and a TETRA radio in one.
It's easy to get the details from the Tactilon Dabat Technical Specification:
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Integrating the radio, smartphone and camera opens up a world of possibilities. With separate devices, you would have to check from the display which call, video, or app would give the best situational information at the moment. But in the new world, different calls, tasks, and apps can be prioritized.
So there you have it: five must-have things that demanding professionals want their hybrid TETRA/LTE device to deliver.
And if you want to know more about how TETRA fits with smartphones in general, read this post: "How to use TETRA and smartphones in a hybrid way"
Editor's note: This blog post was first published in December 2017 and it has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.