Push-to-Talk Apps: How to Choose an Enterprise-Ready PTT Solution

Frontline teams know the ability to communicate in groups and one-to-one is critical to productivity and safety. Today’s enterprises are faced with a plethora of bad options.

Further, communication technology for the frontline workforce has a track record of being underinvested, uninspired, and limited to push-to-talk (PTT) without photos, videos, files, and text (not really) sharing.

So how do companies with a deskless workforce know which voice solution is right for them?

Let’s take a look at the options:

We’ll help you understand why all these communication options, except for an advanced voice-first intelligent collaboration platform, are unable to support the needs of today’s enterprises.

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The Basics: How Do Radios Work?

Radios offer two-way push-to-talk communications between radio receivers, typically on a land mobile radio (LMR) system. Commercial radios require a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to use a designated frequency for two-way communication.

Diagram showing basic components of an LMR system. Source: CISA.govDiagram of a basic LMR system. Source: cisa.gov

Unfortunately, radio technology is very slow to change and is decades behind modern solutions. Radios have limited value and offer an unwieldy form factor with an extremely limited range and low audio quality. In fact, there are at least a dozen reasons radios hold your company back.

A Small Improvement: How Do Digital Radios Work?

Example of a digital radio: the Motorola XPR7550
Motorola XPR7550 – Digital radio

Like analog radios, digital radio users still have to purchase FCC licenses. Digital radios operate similarly to their predecessors but conserve LMR spectrum usage by compressing audio. However, this means digital radio audio is low-quality, distorted, and often irritating to those listening.

Even though digital radios might sound innovative, the truth is that they don’t have much more innovation to offer than analog radios. Poor coverage. No process automation. No map display. No situational intelligence. No instant message replay for end users. And no photos, no videos, no files, no easy-to-use text messaging.

Learn the 12 Reasons Radios Hold Your Company Back

The Next Iteration: How Do Push-to-Talk (PTT) Apps Work?

PTT apps were created to be the next evolution of radios. In the mid-1990s, Nextel created one of the first iterations of PTT that worked on cellular networks and connected people at any distance. This feature was initially exciting but quickly overshadowed by smartphones for personal use. However, organizations with a deskless workforce took notice of its utility compared with traditional radios.

Push-to-Talk Apps for Enterprise Voice Collaboration - OrionOrganizations are often drawn to push-to-talk apps because they are instantly scalable, unlike radios. Users are not locked into expensive radio hardware and can instead push-to-talk on any Android or iOS smart device. However, some PTT apps are tied to specific communications providers like AT&T or Verizon. These services lock you into their cellular networks and prevent choice and flexibility.

It’s important to note that most push-to-talk apps perform poorly and provide no path to innovation. Several popular PTT apps notoriously lack encryption, creating large security and compliance risks for organizations.

PTT apps simply don’t do enough to solve the many problems with radios or enable frontline teams to achieve meaningful innovation (like automation, intelligence amplification, and analytics) and digital transformation.

Frankly, frontline teams need so much more than a simple communication point solution that PTT apps provide. That’s where Orion comes in.

What Features and Solutions Should Enterprise PTT Apps Offer?

The best PTT apps don’t just provide communication. Yes, they must work over unlimited distance and provide high-quality audio. They must also be secure, encrypted, and support Android and iOS devices.

To learn more about everything you should consider in a push-to-talk app, take a moment to get the Collaboration Solution Buyers Guide.

Voice for Today’s Enterprise: How Does the Orion PTT and Collaboration Platform Work?

Now more than ever before, leading organizations are turning to collaboration software like Orion to empower their deskless workers, create their connected workforces, and digitally transform frontline teams.

Modern Communications & Multimodal Collaboration

Organizations can collaborate at any distance, on any network, on any device. Orion builds on its high-quality audio PTT abilities with secure multimodal collaboration, including voice, text, photos, videos, and files such as PDFs. The platform also has the highest levels of security with end-to-end-encryption (E2EE). Secure, voice-first, multimodal collaboration is table stakes for connecting a deskless workforce to a digital organization.

Operations Console

Operations centralize control with Orion’s web-based console that provides situational intelligence, mapping, and advanced location services. Management gains real-time visibility to see all worker locations on a single screen. These location services provide analytics that help organizations optimize operations, increase productivity, and improve worker safety.

Once organizations have modernized communications with Orion’s voice-first, multimodal collaboration, they can innovate with process automation, intelligence amplification, and analytics — ultimately creating a voice operations system of record.

Process Automation

Orion’s process automation handles repetitive and routine tasks so the deskless workforce can focus on higher-value work. Orion standardizes a number of processes including routine checklists, safety SOPs, regulatory requirements, lone worker emergencies, and geolocation-based check-ins. With process automation, frontline workers stay hands-free, heads-up, and focused on their job in both routine and urgent situations.

Intelligence Amplification

The Orion platform amplifies employee intelligence by providing real-time context and access to systems, data, and SMEs to dramatically improve worker output, optimize processes, and increase productivity. The frontline workforce can now learn more about new processes and products in real time by connecting them to manuals and best-practice guides — all from their point of work. Intelligence Amplification becomes the path that truly connects the deskless workforce to the rest of the digital enterprise.


Orion’s collaboration software enables organizations to optimize and gain insights into the day-to-day operations across the deskless workforce to maximize overall performance. Orion captures 100% of the message stream, including location data, automated processes, and all messages sent and received. This allows managers to measure, optimize, and report performance.

Choosing the Right Voice Solution

Why settle for a lesser voice solution like radios or simple PTT apps?

Orion’s collaboration platform creates a path for true innovation and digitalization for enterprises and their deskless workforces — well beyond anything radios and PTT apps could ever imagine possible.

Learn how Orion’s Collaboration Platform offers more than PTT with unprecedented team voice-first, multimodal collaboration, operational control, process automation, intelligence amplification, analytics, and more.

Learn How Orion Drives Innovation

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