How to recognize a professional push-to-talk application
Push-to-talk, or PTT, means that the speaker presses the PTT key to talk to the group - the key needs to be kept pressed while they are speaking. On a PMR radio, PTT is the best way to connect a group of people involved in a task.
Recently, we’ve seen PTT applications claiming to “turn your smartphone into a walkie-talkie”. These apps seem to offer a lot and may promise near-instant communications with a push of a button, group calling, and even priorities and emergency calling.
However, there are things that a professional push-to-talk app has to deliver, but which these generic PTT apps just cannot. When choosing a PTT app for professional use, what should you look for? There some things a professional app should provide:
As a PTT user, the app you choose should allow you to do some vital things – make sure you get an app that offers them all.
Talk to a group without looking at your radio: The PTT key should be easy to find, even when your eyes are on the action. It should also be easy to keep pressed down for as long as you need it.
Keep your place in the queue: If you can’t speak straight away because someone else is speaking, you need an app which lets you queue for a turn to speak.
Talk to one person as well: Check the app allows a PTT call to a single person (with an individual or one-to-one call) – you don’t want to have to close the app and make a phone call.
Don’t miss important communications: There’s another drawback if you can’t make a one-to-one call within the PTT app. While you are on the phone, you will miss the communications in the group. Your best choice would be a push-to-talk app which not only lets you make a one-to-one call, but can also invite you to a group call so you won’t miss it.
In case of an emergency: If your work can take you into a dangerous situation, you need a PTT app which lets you make an emergency call to get help very quickly. But, make sure it won’t let you make one accidentally.
Does the PTT app include an emergency call or a “red key call”? Then check it also meets these criteria:
- You shouldn’t have to select a number to call – not even 112 or 911. The app should automatically send the call to the right place.
- The app should allow the emergency call to go anywhere you want - to your dispatcher, your team mate, or a group of people.
- And, if your first choice of recipient doesn’t answer, will the call go to someone else? It should!
Do more than talk: Push-to-talk is mostly associated with speaking, but can the PTT app deliver more? Can you easily send text or status messages within the app, for example? To the same groups that you speak to, or to individuals?
Keep track of where you are: Can the PTT app track the position of the device? This feature would allow the location of device, to be shown on the screen of a dispatching application, keeping users safer.
When looking at a professional app for push-to-talk, don’t settle for turning your smartphone into a simple walkie-talkie! A good push-to-talk app can do so much more. The question is, does such an app exist? Is there one that meets all these needs? The answer is yes, Tactilon Agnet – and you can find it here by downloading this datasheet.
Want to know more about professional apps - also other than push to talk apps? Take a look at what an Airbus survey into the professional apps revealed in 2017.