New digital radio technologies such as DMR
and NEXEDGE provide affordable digital
communications of low complexity, and
enhanced functionality that combines voice,
data, SMS and other services.
Some organizations install a new radio network and expect
staff to perform the serious business of coordinating operations
through a portable handset on a desk. Not only does this mean
they don’t make full use of their communications investment,
they are missing opportunities to increase both efficiency and
staff safety. A full featured dispatch console helps even smaller
operators to gain maximum value from their system. With
the right dispatch console, you can efficiently coordinate and
manage routine administrative and emergency tasks, across
vast regions – or over a localized area – depending on your
Here are three reasons why any digital radio network operator
should seriously consider installing a dispatch console,
regardless of whether you have dedicated dispatchers or rely
on your supervisors to coordinate operations.
REASON 1: BETTER PRODUCTIVITY
Organizations that use dispatch consoles can expect greater
efficiency and better productivity. With a dispatch console you
can communicate with multiple people at the same time in an
organized way. And you can organize and communicate with
your people – as groups or individuals – even if they are on
To increase productivity, look for:
» Integrated Contacts
Users can have their own ID and belong to one or more talk
groups. Integrated contacts means you can contact and identify
the right people quickly and easily.
» Work Groups
A dispatch console can be set up with combinations of channels
or talk groups for specific situations. Each work group brings
together different radio channels (or talk groups). When several
people share fewer consoles, it enables each dispatch console
operator to use the radio network according to his or her role.
» Simultaneous Access to Multiple Channels
An operator (or supervisor) can communicate with multiple
people or teams at the same time, even if they are on different
channels or different talk groups. The operator can listen to
multiple channels at the same time and control the level of sound
from each channel, so they can very quickly identify where radio
traffic is coming from.
» Rapid Recall
An operator can immediately play back conversations during
and after received calls, so radio users do not need to repeat
information, as the console operator can easily re-check facts.
» Linking and Patching
These are particularly useful when you need to operate two (or
more) different types of radio networks; for example, a new DMR
network and a legacy analog UHF system. Operators can create
links between radio users on different systems, then once links
are established, communicate with people on different systems
simultaneously – no need to repeat messages. And radio users
on one system can also talk to users on another system directly,
without manual intervention.
» Phone Connectivity
Integrating telephones into a system makes life easier and saves
time for communications staff and radio users. A dispatcher
can use the same headset equipment to communicate with the
phone system and the DMR network.
REASON 2: INCREASED SAFETY
All digital radios increase the level of safety within your
organization, and help ensure that you maintain your duty of care
to your employees. The right choice of console will maximize
this. Features that increase safety include:
» Location Services
Digital radios can periodically transmit GPS coordinates so you
know where your people and your assets are. They are displayed
on a map on the console GUI, and updated in real time. For
advanced location/tracking services, you can set up geofences
to alert you if someone wanders into a dangerous area (such as
a hazardous atmosphere, or explosion risk zone), or moves out of
an authorized region.
» Emergency Management
A dispatch console can generate alert tones on the radio
network to signal an emergency. This can be designed into SOPs
(standard operating procedures), be initiated by a supervisor
or dispatch operator, and take place without interrupting voice
» Remote Monitor
Supervisors can remotely activate any radio microphone and
discreetly monitor the user’s audio, whenever they have reason
to be concerned about a worker’s safety.