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      • Back to School and Beyond: Building Customer Loyalty

        Published Aug 11 2017, 5:28 PM by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Education
        • Retail

        The sun is still high in the sky, and the fun of summer is not over yet, but the start of the school year is just around the corner, and that means buying school supplies and new clothes and shoes for students of all ages, kindergarten through college. For retailers, this back-to-school mad rush offers an opportunity  for abundant sales and repeat customers that carries through to Black Friday. 

        By all accounts, that opportunity is a strong one in 2017. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, back-to-college spending is expected to hit an all-time high and back-to-school spending is trending to see its second-highest spending level. According to the survey, shoppers for grades K-12, plan to spend $4.9 billion on school supplies, $8.8 billion on electronics, $10.2 billion on clothing, and $5.6 billion on shoes.

        However, just as interesting as what parents are planning to buy is from where they are planning to buy. 57 percent plan to shop at department stores and 54 percent at discount stores, and not surprisingly 46 percent of back-to-school shoppers will conduct some or all of their shopping online. Those shopping online plan to take advantage of free shipping and over a half of respondents will buy online and pick up in-store.

        As online shopping continues to attract more consumers, offering a way to compare prices, read online reviews and get items shipped quickly, it is even more critical to build customer loyalty. Be sure to deliver a superior experience with shoppers who come to your store even if it’s just to pick up an online purchase. How do you ensure that the customer has an all-around great experience from the moment they walk through your door? The answer is: communication. By equipping associates with discreet two-way radios, you provide instant communications between the sales and support team and management, allowing even the greenest employee to find the information they need and share it with the customer quickly. This instantaneous connectivity also ensures they can respond quickly in a case of emergency keeping both customers and staff safe.

        Business radios from Motorola Solutions are small, lightweight and easy to use, providing clear, strong audio and seamless communications. By connecting the sales, inventory, and management teams, you can provide superior service to the customer and increase their likelihood to return to your store and experience it again.

        So even though the forecast for back to school shopping is positive, are you prepared to take full advantage of that opportunity? Is your staff equipped to communicate instantly once the customer walks through your door? Are you providing an experience that will lure weary (and wary) consumers off the Internet and into your store?  From the Back to School season to the final exams of Black Friday and the holidays, make sure your staff is ready to excel and keep bringing those customers back.

        Click here to learn more about our Retail Communications Solutions.

        Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions. 

      • 500+ Manufacturers Surveyed: Digital Next Step For Advancing Plant Communications

        Published Jun 27 2017, 4:49 PM by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Manufacturing

        Dangerous chemicals. Heavy machinery. Confined spaces. Manufacturing plants and factory floors are hazardous places, with the potential for serious safety issues. Communications technology used in manufacturing is rapidly evolving to help employees—from plant managers and operations personnel, to warehousing and distribution — instantly connect and quickly respond to whatever situation may occur. Are you keeping up with the latest communication technologies to ensure your team is equipped to respond to emergencies quickly, intelligently and decisively?

        In the new Motorola Solutions 2017 Manufacturing Communication Survey — available for immediate download — factory safety is top-of-mind among the 500+ respondents from 47 states. To protect workers from injury and keep manufacturing processes running smoothly, plant workers are embracing digital communications for smarter and safer operations, improved team communications and unified collaboration.

        Two-Way Radios Still Manufacturer’s Top Choice for Safe and Effective Team Communications

        Even in today’s age of smartphones, the use of two-way radios is growing.

        The survey found that 45% of manufacturers use two-way radios as their primary form of plant communications, up 13% from 2015.

        Nearly half of respondents are using digital radios or a mix of digital and analog and of the remaining analog-only respondents, a third plan to switch to digital in the next two years.

        For manufacturing, digital communications are a true game-changer. With next-generation technology, background noise is suppressed to deliver crisp, clear audio real-time, every time — ensuring employee safety and productivity is maximized. It’s no surprise that 93% of manufacturers surveyed indicated that “hearing clearly anywhere, even in noisy plant conditions” was a top priority for their communication system.

        Digital two-way radios offer important safety features including one-to-many calling, flexible emergency alerting capabilities that enable workers to immediately notify emergency response teams, and critical communication prioritization when it’s needed. Personnel tracking is enhanced with “man down” and “lone worker” modes. In these modes, a worker’s radio can actually call for help when a worker can’t and can initiate an emergency alert if they’re inactive. Transitioning from analog to digital radio addresses other communications pain points manufacturers cited including coverage, clarity, and battery life, all of which are instrumental in keeping employees connected and safe.

        Hear from 500+ Manufacturers in the 2017 Manufacturing Communications Survey Report

        Download the complimentary survey report to find out what manufacturers are citing as their top priorities and challenges for 2017 and beyond.

        Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.

      • Survey Says: As Devices Multiply, The Time For Unified Communications In Manufacturing Is Now

        Published May 18 2017, 3:07 PM by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Manufacturing

        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.

      • Don’t Get Left Behind: 3 Ways Digital Two-Way Radios are Transforming Unified Communications

        Published Apr 27 2017, 2:09 PM by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Transportation and Logistics
        • Hospitality
        • Manufacturing

        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.

      • 3 Surprising Misconceptions About Migrating from Analog to Digital Two-Way Radio

        Published Mar 08 2017, 5:16 PM by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Transportation and Logistics
        • Hospitality
        • Manufacturing

        Two-way, push-to-talk radios have been in use for decades. They are synonymous with reliability, durability and security.

        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.

      • Analog vs. Digital Two-Way Radios: Why it Pays to Start the Migration Now

        Published Feb 15 2017, 4:24 PM by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Transportation and Logistics
        • Hospitality
        • Manufacturing

        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.

        Does Your Business Communication System Measure Up? Get a Custom Report!

        Want to learn more and bring your business into the future? Answer a few short questions about your current business communication solution and receive a personalized report, free. Get started today!




        Author: Aleksandra Ikanowicz is a Vertical Marketing Lead for Commercial Markets at Motorola Solutions.

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