A helping hand for retailers

While retailers have been preparing for the Christmas rush, several companies have been coming up with a number of ways to make their lives easier, as Sam Fenwick discovers

One of the most popular entry points for retailers as far as two-way radio is concerned is PMR446, given that it allows them to benefit from instant one-to-many group calls while being simple, low-cost and licence-free.

“PMR446 is perfect for a lot of retail stores because they don’t need to buy big infrastructure, they don’t need a repeating system, just small, cheap 446s,” says Lawrence Deacon, product support engineer at South Midlands Communications (SMC). “A lot of people are opting for PTT over Cellular to get away from frequency spectrum overload. PMR446 is another good way of doing that.”

With the growing ease at which two-way radios can be connected to IT systems, there is more that can be done with them, and SMC has been working on new features, using a Motorola XT420 PMR446 radio connected to its SMC Gateway, which it will be launching soon.

The company can play audio messages over the PMR446 handset to others in the network, and the audio can be generated in multiple ways, commonly by SMC’s text-to-speech engine and recorded audio stored on the Gateway. To get around the limited capacity given lack of network infrastructure and the absence of dedicated spectrum, SMC uses PTT detection and stores the messages in a buffer – “as soon as the PTT is released from someone else, we can fire the messages [off], but we can queue them indefinitely”, Deacon adds.

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