Two way radio is an essential aid to many professionals in the buildings and facilities management industry. But while the assistance it provides in helping to coordinate operations in fluid, mobile work environments is highly prized, many firms understandably have an eye on costs when purchasing communications equipment.
Although modern digital two way radios come packed with features for call management, data connectivity, security and more, they also often come with a higher price tag. This can be off-putting to smaller businesses in particular.
Brentwood Communications, a specialist supplier of two way radio solutions with more than 40 years’ experience, says that the trade-off between features and cost is always an important balance to strike. The good news for SME operators and contractors in the FM trade, however, is that there are now value-for-money two way radio options which come with an impressive range on in-built features.
One example Brentwood highlights is the Motorola XT460, which you can check out on the website.The XT460 is a clever blend of traditional two way radio functionality and modern design and technology. It is built around the fundamental principles of two way radio – an uncomplicated design that offers an intuitive mode of group communication, with simple push-to-talk operation to broadcast messages, and excellent audio quality delivered by the built-in speaker.
These are the standard functions you would expect from any budget ‘walkie talkie’. What sets the XT460 apart is the additional enhanced features it offers, starting with a tri-colour LED screen which allows you to see at a glance what channel you are operating on and switch between different operational modes.
This is complemented by programmable buttons for setting one-touch access to different functions. Options include VOX mode, or voice activation, which will automatically broadcast a call as soon as you speak. This allows the XT460 to be used completely hands-free.
The XT460’s durable construction makes it ideal for use in buildings management. It will withstand most everyday knocks that can occur when carrying out repairs and maintenance work, and is fully water resistant – ideal for those plumbing jobs, or for work around water sources.
It even comes with an antimicrobial coating, so is suitable for use in environments where HAACP standards apply, such as kitchens or food processing premises. And for peace of mind on long shifts, it boasts up to 20 hours battery life on a single charge.
This range of features would not be out of place on a mid-range digital two way radio model. Yet the XT460 delivers these at budget prices. The main reason for this is that it is an unlicensed radio. Unlicensed radios operate on free-to-use public frequencies, as opposed to private frequencies which require a paid-for license.
The drawback of unlicensed radio can be the interference you pick up from other users in high density areas. But if you are, for example, working in a large office building or factory complex, works staff are likely to be the only people using two way radio within signal range. Interference is therefore less of an issue and unlicensed radio becomes a viable, cost-effective option.