Walkie-talkies are currently used to connect front line teams, in industries such as hospitality, retail, events management, and property management, and others. They typically work because they provide immediate connection and response, and they are made for the sole purpose of communication. This means that there are no distractions when using walkie-talkies.
But how far can we take this radio connection or other existing products like WhatsApp? Well, for one, the communication range is limited. For walkie-talkies, you can communicate within a small vicinity, between a few hundred meters at worst and a few kilometers at best. In most cases, communication is accessible only on a specific property site. Walkie-talkies aren’t designed for communication over long ranges, such as for remote or even off-site work.
In Hong Kong, while the number of channels can go up to 40 for CB Radios, the official Class Licence system requires users not to transmit radio signals at any indoor location. This avoids causing any interference to larger, legitimate telecommunications systems. These restrictions are an additional barrier for large frontline workforces, whether in large events-based management or indoor, hotel, guest-facing experiences.
Walkie-talkies, typically are disruptive to physical comfort, focus, and efficiency. Walkie-talkies tend to be larger than phones, slightly more bulky, with antennas, large buttons, and a coiled wire.They feel disruptive to users in industries such as the ones mentioned before: hospitality, retail, events and property management. The style and usage of walkie-talkies or not well-suited for comfort or discreetness when managing important clients, customers, or even guest experiences.
What about other communication apps?
Screen-based communication apps like Whatsapp, on the other hand, interrupt the flow of work simply due to the use of screens. Having to pull one’s phone from a pocket, or type messages, are typically not considered guest friendly. Not only do phones interrupt the space that you’re in, but also disrupt the focus of frontline workers. These apps tend to walk the line between personal and work usage, and the boundaries for both purposes may be crossed. Thus, these apps have their limitations, too, and are not built for the kind of work that frontline employees do.
The number of channels and users are limited, as well. With walkie-talkies, while multiple channels are possible, walkie-talkies are analog units, meaning they are subject to interference with other nearby frequencies and users. Relatively easy to eavesdrop, walkie-talkies are slightly more challenging for private and security-driven communication.
What about OFLO?
Well, for starters, OFLO’s products function independent of range. There’s an unlimited range: with our 4G/WiFi dependent product, you can communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Then, there are the unlimited connections: for front line and desk-based workers, the number of users are unlimited. What’s more, is that you can create customised channels for different teams across property.
If your work concerns privacy and security: OFLO uses 4G/Wi-Fi connection, so you can communicate privately, and solely, within your company. This way, we eliminate any chance of random users dialing in to your radio channel like in walkie-talkies. Our cloud storage provides strong data security.
Our push to talk app is designed specifically for an Android app for phones, a software we provide, and is primarily voice-based communication. Key features of the app include, but are not limited to, direct voice message, location tracking and text-to-speech communication (from our Web app).
On top of voice, you can also send type messages that are then translated to voice read out. The uses for this purpose are endless, whether you’re in property management and need to settle disputes with archives of past communication, or you’re in hospitality as a desk-based worker discreetly communicating on your desktop controller to a front line worker.
What’s next for the walkie-talkie?
If you’re asking “what’s next for the walkie-talkie,” you’re asking the wrong question. The question we ask, everyday at Origami Labs is this: would you keep using walkie-talkies if there were a better product out there? OFLO is the answer. Connect front and desk base workers with products designed exclusively for Frontline workers in mind.