How are manufacturers across the nation future-proofing their communication systems to ensure worker safety, productivity and unified collaboration across departments and plants? The results of our 2017 Manufacturing Communication Survey are in and 500+ manufacturers from 47 states have given us a window into what they believe are today and tomorrow’s key manufacturing trends, priorities and pain points.
What’s clear is that plant communications are at an inflection point—with manufacturers ready to transition from outdated technology to modern systems. In the age of smart manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things, efficiency improvements and cost savings are waiting to be found. Connecting people, machines and processes is becoming a true competitive advantage. How are today’s manufacturers overcoming these challenges and bringing their factory into the future?
Multiple Devices on the Job is the Norm but Two-Way Radios are Top Choice
Just like we use multiple devices at home, the same holds true on the job. In fact, 78% of surveyed manufacturers are using more than one device to communicate at work. The most commonly used devices include smartphones, two-way radios, PCs/laptops, landlines, overhead paging systems and tablets.
However, even with the use of smartphones and tablets on the rise, two-way radio communications continue to grow in popularity. 2016 was a banner year for their adoption in the manufacturing industry with 45% of manufacturers indicating they are using two-way radios as their primary form of communication, up from 32% in 2015. When asked why, they said two-way radios help them resolve emergencies quickly with instant push-to-talk, boost efficiency and make decisions faster with real-time data.
Unified Communications Enabling Seamless Collaboration and Workplace Safety
When a manufacturing production line goes down or a worker needs medical assistance, every second counts. In these critical situations, as well as during day-to-day operations, manufacturers are united in their desire for employees to be able to communicate quickly from device or network.
71% of survey respondents said that connecting all their devices would be very important/important. They cited this would help them resolve problems with greater speed and efficiency, enable seamless, instant team communication from any location or device and provide rapid response to emergency situations for worker safety.
A Unified Communications solution makes instant collaboration possible, connecting teams and eliminating network, device and geographic boundaries. By building a unified communications environment and enabling employees to communicate the way they prefer to, downtime can be reduced, safety issues can be reduced and operations can improve.
How Do Your Plant Communications Stack Up? Download the 2017 Manufacturing Communications Survey Report.
See what manufacturers said in the bi-annual survey and discover how your plant communications compare. Download the complimentary Motorola Solutions 2017 Manufacturing Communication Survey Report!
Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.
Two-way radios have long been a favorite time-saving tool for businesses of all kinds, but feature-rich digital technology is transforming push-to-talk technology and bringing it in line with the most advanced voice and data innovations. Today, digital two-way radios are at the cutting-edge of evolving unified communications, combining the best features of smartphones and business productivity tools, and the reliability and power of push-to-talk radios.
Here are just three ways in which businesses and enterprises are achieving smart operations and improved team communications by moving from analog to digital.
Instant Team Communications
Push-to-talk has been around for decades. Likewise, many point-to-point communication systems used to connect disparate employees are either aging or being decommissioned. As a result, many businesses are looking to fill the communication gap while taking advantage of the investments they’ve already made over the years. Today the focus is on smarter, more cost-efficient communications that unify the workforce in ways previously not possible.
Such was the case for MGM Resorts, one of the largest hospitality and entertainment companies in the world with 15+ properties on the Las Vegas Strip and 61,000 employees. MGM Resorts made the decision to replace its existing resort-wide Sprint/Nextel push-to-talk solution and aging 900MHz radio system and move to Motorola Solutions’ MOTOTRBO™ digital radios and communications platform.
MOTOTRBO opens up a world of possibilities for organizations like MGM Resorts. In addition to crystal-clear audio, users enjoy integrated voice and data on one radio (more on the benefits of that below), slimming down the number of devices that employees need to carry– while providing the trusted push-to-talk functionality they depend on.
Businesses like MGM Resorts benefit from exciting new advances to core push-to-talk communications. Users can send and receive text messages, check email, and access Bluetooth connectivity. Plus, GPS awareness and Wi-Fi add a new layer of transparency and convenience.
A critical benefit of MOTOTRBO is that any investment in towers, site antennas, power and civil works can be carried across to the system, cutting down the costs of moving to digital – you can even reuse your radio frequencies for a seamless transition.
Communication Without Boundaries
But MGM Resorts wanted more than fast, reliable digital push-to-talk and data features, they wanted to connect across disparate networks, devices, and geographic boundaries that typified their portfolio of resorts.
With WAVE™ Workgroup Communications, new levels of interoperability and team collaboration are possible. Workers who don’t carry radios can connect instantly with a MOTOTRBO user using an Android or Apple smartphone, landline, or PC – augmenting any investment in smartphone technology.
For example, if an MGM Resorts manager is located at headquarters or working from home, WAVE lets them seamlessly communicate with an employee carrying a radio from any device - mobile phone, laptop, or tablet - from any location.
The benefits are significant. Organizations see a 20-25%* improvement in productivity when employees are connected. Cost savings are also realized. With the WAVE platform, businesses like MGM Resorts can seamlessly push-to-talk to their teams across all communication channels – radio, broadband, Wi-Fi, and even landline.
“One of the WAVE benefits we have seen is removing all boundaries from a communication perspective, so whether an employee or supervisor needs to speak to their direct manager across the city or across the country, those boundaries have been removed. They are able to support customer service in a much better way,” said Jim Kimball, Executive Director of Enterprise Telecommunications, MGM Resorts in this case study.
Use Intelligence to Drive Productivity
Business intelligence isn’t something you’d traditionally equate with two-way radios, but digitally-powered unified communications let you add powerful data and applications that drive productivity by simplifying your communications and workflows. These apps transform modern two-way radios into a business support platform, that can synchronize and enhance your operation. MOTOTRBO lets you integrate new and current applications within the Motorola ecosystem so your workers can focus less on systems and devices and more on the job in front of them.
Whatever your needs, you can choose from a wide range of data apps that drive greater productivity, accountability, and safety. Indoor location tracking and alarm management increase awareness. Wireline dispatching and work order ticketing help workers stay focused. For example, managers at an MGM Resort can send a work order ticket to a technician’s radio when a slot machine goes down or contact an employee on their smartphone to let them know a ticket has been closed.Other features ensure safety with “man down” and lone worker functionality.
Digital radios are designed around the way you work to increase productivity, efficiency and safety. As more companies make the shift from analog to digital radios, they are seeing tangible benefits in enhanced operations and greatly improved team communications. Don’t get left behind!
Ready to bring your business into the future? Answer a few short questions about your current infrastructure and get a free personalized assessment of how your communications compare with the latest industry innovations. Get started today.
Learn more about a Team Communications solution designed for the demands and challenges of the industrial worker.
*The McKinsey Global Institute Report
Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.
Whether you work on a construction site, in a manufacturing facility, or a warehouse, you need to communicate critical information. And you need to do it safely. If a maintenance worker on your team needs to access supplies, but requires a ladder to reach them, how does he navigate without his equipment getting in the way? With a radio on his hip, and remote speaker microphone tethered to it, moving around without restrictions can be a challenge.
Imagine if you could still communicate critical information during everyday tasks while keeping safety top of mind. With the Wireless Remote Speaker Microphone (RSM), you can walk away from your radio up to 10 meters, allowing you to take your radio off the belt when it gets in the way of your job. This is especially helpful when you are working in tight places, fixing machinery, or operating a manufacturing line.
With the Wireless RSM, you can maneuver in tight spaces with ease, handle machines and equipment without worry, and operate forklifts without a bulky radio getting in the way. Simply connect your Wireless RSM to your MOTOTRBO™ XPR 7000 Series Radio and you are ready for your busy workday.
If an accident were to happen, you can instantly call for help with a simple push of the emergency button, located on the Wireless RSM. Confidently transmit every word without being truncated thanks to our unique push-to-talk protocol and low latency.
You face challenges on a daily basis, but communication shouldn’t be one of them. That is why we designed each button and function with your daily operations in mind. The emergency and push-to-talk buttons are large, but recessed, so you can push it while wearing gloves but accidental activation shouldn’t be an issue. Even in dark places, this remote speaker microphone won’t let you down. With its task light, you are able to read important information even while working in a dark hallway or basement.
Work safer and smarter with the Motorola Solutions Wireless Remote Speaker Microphone for MOTOTRBOTM XPR 7000 Series Radios.
To see a complete portfolio of Motorola Solution Wireless Accessories, please click here.
Christina Ezell is Global Product Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.
A hotel manager is looking for a communication solution for her housekeeping and security teams. A manufacturing plant is looking for PTT devices and accessories for their floor supervisors and workers on the manufacturing line. Depending on your role, communication needs, and industry, the right device, for the right user, and at the right time can completely change. The new MOTOTRBO Solution Finder radically simplifies the experience of researching and selecting the right solution for your needs.
With answers to only a few questions (industry; number of users; number of sites; number of departments; and communication needs), Solution Finder helps you understand the optimal MOTOTRBO solution for their needs and provides the appropriate device and accessory options to quickly build an equipment list that can be submitted for quotation. After requesting more information, Motorola Solutions will connect you with one of our Valued Resellers to validate the best solution for your organization.
Industry trends have shown, as well as our own personal habits, that most buyers prefer to do their own research before they ever walk into a store or speak with a sales representative. This new tool helps you explore our vast portfolio, while building a solution that fits your organization’s needs. Whether you are a school principal, a truck driver, or a maintenance technician, we have the perfect MOTOTRBO solution for you and your teams!
Liam King is Global Marketing Manager for Commercial Devices at Motorola Solutions
Thanks to technology advances, today, two-way radios are making a huge leap forward – the move from analog to digital. Digital radios offer all the features of analog and more, yet there are still misperceptions out there about making the move.
Let’s break them down and offer some reasons why making the switch makes business sense on many levels.
Making the Switch is Costly
Cost is often one of the biggest concerns for any business contemplating a move to digital. But cost isn’t the issue you might think it is. In fact, using a digital two-way radio system like MOTOTRBO™ is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce your expenses, while getting more features.
Digital radios can also reduce your bandwidth imprint and costs. With digital, you can immediately double the capacity of your existing 12.5 kHz channel – greatly minimizing license costs and increasing the flexibility of your currently licensed spectrum.
Going forward, you’ll realize more predictable capital and operating expenses thanks to the greater visibility into usage patterns that digital provides, so you can manage your infrastructure more efficiently.
Two-Way Radios are a Fading Technology
With the advent of smartphones, are two-way radios a fading technology?
While smartphones combine the best features of many of the devices and applications that we use each day, they aren’t always the best tool on the job. The enduring popularity of analog two-way radios proves this. Yet, today, the same digital technology that powers smartphones has transformed two-way radios, combining the best aspects of smartphones with the reliability and power of push-to-talk radios – in one device. For example, digital systems allow more simultaneous talking paths while being robust enough to handle location information, text messaging, Wi-Fi, dispatch messaging and telemetry.
Digital technology also brings interoperability to two-way radios. Using WAVE™ Workgroup Communications, you can experience instant unified communications across locations, networks and devices including smartphones, landlines, and PCs.
In addition, digital networks offer much clearer sound, with features such as background noise-cancellation and intelligent audio, that automatically adjusts volume to compensate for background noise. These, along with many other benefits, enhance team communications on the frontlines in a way that analog radios and smartphones, alone, can’t. Take advantage of a unified communication and collaboration platform that offers real-time communication with enhanced group collaboration at the push of a button.
Transitioning to Digital is Complex
Making the switch from a legacy system naturally raises anxiety about the impact on existing investments and processes. But moving from analog to digital is easy. If you decide to make the switch, there’s no need to rip and replace, you can make the move in stages and use your analog and digital radios simultaneously. It’s your choice whether and when you move one person, a business unit, or your entire team.
From a low cost-of-entry to incredibly efficient cost of operation, digital two-way radios are a smart investment today, but they’re also just as smart down the road.
Ready to bring your business into the future? Answer a few short questions about your current communications system and get a free personalized assessment on how your operations measure up against the new standard. Get started today!
Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.
Does your aging communications solution have you thinking about what’s next? When it comes to unified communications, analog radios have long been a reliable option, but today, digital two-way radios offer a range of benefits that make them the undeniable next step. Here’s why it makes sense to upgrade now.
Next-Level Efficiency and Productivity
Remember when you had to carry around multiple devices, one dedicated to email, one for phone calls, and a laptop for business applications? Today, smartphones combine the best features from each device. But smartphones are not always the best solution on the job and where they fall short, digital two-way radios pick up for reliable, unified communication and collaboration.
With WAVE™ Workgroup Communications, workers can instantly communicate with one-button push-to-talk access across any device ranging from two-way radios, smartphones and landlines to intercoms and PCs. So, someone using a smartphone off-site can instantly communicate with an employee using MOTOTRBO, onsite. Since data and voice features are all on one device, both management and employees can receive real-time information, the location of people and assets, and other critical data that drives much more informed decision-making, previously not possible on analog.
The Basics, Evolved
Moving to a digital network also offers some exciting advances to core communications functionality, including better voice quality, increased radio capacity, better signal coverage, and longer battery life.
Just like the jump from cellular phones to the modern smartphone, the jump to digital two-way radios allows users to hear and be heard much more clearly, without static or distortion. This is because when you use a traditional analog radio, every sound that's picked up by the microphone is transmitted. Digital offers much clearer sound, with features such as background noise-cancellation and intelligent audio. The result is extraordinary voice clarity that stays sharper, even as the signal gets farther out of range.
Digital networks are also very efficient with spectrum requirements, so they can accommodate two completely separate "channels" in one 12.5 kHz channel, allowing you to double the number of devices on the same channel, without fear of interference.
Plus, because digital technology is more energy-efficient than analog, MOTOTRBO radios can last much longer on a single charge, up to 40% longer, so users can communicate the entire day without recharging.
Integrated Safety Features
Since radios are usually carried throughout the day and readily available, they can be a key worker safety tool. For instance, at times when reading may not be safe, MOTOTRBO can read texts out loud so workers keep their attention on the task at hand. Or for urgent communications, the Transmit Interrupt feature clears all channels to broadcast emergency messages across the entire network at once.
What’s more, advanced location-tracking can mean faster response times in emergencies. Digital capabilities allow MOTOTRBO users to easily sound an emergency distress call for assistance, emitting a continuous loud alarm, which along with GPS tracking, can help rescuers locate those in need of assistance.
Future-Proof Your Communications with a Unified Communication Platform
Sure, digital radios are a smart investment today, but they’re also just as smart down the road. They can leverage technology already in place, including a large variety of the equipment you already own, like towers, site antennas, power, and civil works, so you can add digital capabilities at your own pace.
If you aren’t ready to make a full migration, know that MOTOTRBO radios have built-in analog and digital functionality, which means you can configure a mix of channels to use on each radio while you make the transition to digital, one device at a time, workgroup by workgroup, or all at once. As your organization grows, your digital radio platform makes it easy and cost-efficient to add new users.
Going forward, operational costs are more predictable because your digital system gives you greater visibility over usage patterns, so you can manage infrastructure more efficiently. Even benefits like longer battery life, which mean fewer charges, can quickly add up to cost savings.
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Author: Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.