Several years ago, two-way communication over a distance was fairly uncomplicated. All users needed were a few walkie-talkies and two or more people could talk across a reasonable distance of up to a few miles, with the right conditions. This technology was called push-to-talk, or PTT.
Things started to become complicated as more and more people wanted to talk using the same UHF / VHF frequencies. As technology progressed, these frequencies were being used for other uses, such as mobile telephones, or reserved for restricted use, such as military or emergency services.
The Government brought in a licencing scheme where if you wanted to use specific frequencies you had to apply for a licence (and pay for the privilege) before using these frequencies. With a limited number of frequencies available it was not long before these frequencies were swamped with radio traffic, so interference from other users was commonplace.
With the ease of access to scanners, people could eavesdrop on radio communications, meaning conversations were no longer private, and commercial rivals could also listen in to radio communications and potentially use that information for nefarious purposes.
Ways to combat this were introduced, with CTCSS and DCS allowing transmissions to remain a bit more private, but these cannot remove the problems with users sharing the same radio frequency.
With mobile telephone advancements came improvements in mobile data, to the point where most of the population owned a smartphone capable of making and receiving telephone calls, browse the internet, etc.
This opened the possibility of utilising the mobile data network for push-to-talk communications systems like traditional walkie-talkies, but with significant benefits, and as such push-to-talk over cellular (PoC) technologies were born.
Push-to-talk over cellular, or PoC as it is commonly referred to, allows two or more users to communicate in the same way as normal PTT devices, but over significantly greater distances, even across countries. Because the communications are digital, they are inherently secure, meaning eavesdropping is significantly (if not impossible) to achieve.
PoC systems require no licence, as they operate on mobile cellular data and / or wifi, so this reduces administration and cost. As PoC systems use cellular data, it is very rare there is enough traffic on the network to stop a transmission being made.
Being digital allows other benefits, such as GPS tracking, flexible talk group allocation, one-to-one or one-to-many transmission, and some systems, such as our own 365PTT, even allow for live video to be transmitted as well.
PTT still has a place currently, being very cost effective, but for security and advanced functionality then PoC is the way forward.
If you would more information on if PoC is right for you then click here.
If you require any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.