Real-time communication and collaboration is a critical requirement for dynamic field operations. However, many frontline teams still rely on legacy technology like radios or overly simple, consumer-focused, and non-secure chat apps to communicate. These teams operate with low-quality audio, poor range, lack of security, and limited capabilities compared to modern, digital solutions.
Frontline teams have come to realize radios don’t meet their complete communications needs. This realization sets teams on the digital journey to augment their communications strategies. Frustrated field teams often migrate toward multi-device strategies mixing radios, smartphones, desktops, and mobile chat applications like WhatsApp to meet their entire multimodal voice, text, and visual media needs. In some cases, teams have fully migrated to consumer-focused chat apps. The result is a mismatched and overburdensome communications strategy that is short of the security and efficiency of a streamlined, uniform solution. These unplanned strategies also create organizational risk and frequently operate without the oversight of IT management.
Instead, field teams need a modern, intelligent alternative that provides both easy-to-use communication functions and innovative capabilities that align with the digital transformation strategies required of today’s organizations.
Here are a few transformative advantages of modernizing communications with frontline collaboration technology:
#1 Push-to-Talk (PTT) 2.0
Today’s field teams need technology that keeps pace with the advanced capabilities found across the modern software industry, including artificial intelligence, process automation, and the ever-evolving industry standards for scalability, resilience, and extensibility. Unfortunately, outdated field communications methods lack the table stakes capabilities found even in the most basic consumer technology like smart speakers or ubiquitous IoT-enabled devices used in everyday life.
Modern collaboration technology offers these abilities and more with PTT 2.0. With PTT 2.0, frontline field teams gain the following:
Multimodal Communications: PTT 2.0 builds on voice with text, picture, video, and file-sharing functionality, all from the same interface without switching apps. Voice provides heads-up frontline communication. Text and files provide critical data field team members need. And pictures and video deliver important context that adds precision to missions. Teams are better equipped to provide complete situational intelligence when they have flexibility in how they communicate.
Connectivity on Any Device, Any Network, Anywhere: Field teams must be able to communicate over any distance and on any device that suits the task or mission. Team members need the ability to instantly connect regardless of network or location. That means communication must be accessible on a local, regional, and global level — and connect over any IP connection, whether LTE (public or private), Wi-Fi, satellite, or mesh.
Scalable and Flexible Ad-Hoc Communications: Today’s field teams need the ability to spin up and close down communications instantly. PTT 2.0 provides unlimited and dynamic communication groups. Teams can communicate 1:1 to share information only with relevant personnel or create dynamic groups in urgent situations and add appropriate personnel, subject matter experts, and response teams seamlessly and on the fly.
Operational Control With Real-Time Visibility: Modern collaboration platforms with PTT 2.0 increase operational control and situational awareness with real-time, actionable insights. Operation leaders gain a complete view of on-the-ground activities with the real-time location of team members in the field. This added intelligence enables teams to gain situational intelligence, improve safety and incident response, and improve decision-making.
#2 Voice-Activated Workflow Automation to Do More With Less
Today’s collaboration technology enables an already strapped workforce to accomplish more. Organizations have had to deal with shrinking resources, many of which have team members wondering how they can keep up. Enter voice-activated process automation and voice-driven workflow execution. Teams use specific voice commands to activate workflows tied to everyday tasks or invoke bots that execute complex processes critical to reporting and compliance. In short, voice-driven automation makes teams faster, safer and more efficient.
#3 End-to-End Encryption and Data Security
Different missions call for different communication devices like smartphones, ruggedized devices, or tablets, each capable of operating remotely and on various networks. In today’s global threat environment, this communication technology must be designed for government operations with proper encryption and security protocols like FIPS 140-2 and NSA Suite B cryptography.
These standards enable end-to-end encryption and data security which are a must-have for missions in dynamic environments involving sensitive data, messages, or locations. Field teams need to know that they can instantly and remotely send secure messages on any smart device to their teams or control centers without compromising mission integrity.
#4 Interoperability With Field Team Technology
Fast-paced missions don’t always allow for heads-down work on tablets or screens. Voice-first collaboration software enables teams to use voice to activate high-value applications in real-time during incidents and threats. Field teams integrate voice commands into existing field solutions, like ATAK (Android Team Awareness/Tactical Assault Kit), to support precision targeting, surrounding land formation intelligence, situational awareness, navigation, data sharing, and more.
These integrations, an advantage of a digital communications and collaboration platform, enable field teams to leverage a single device and preferred interface. Teams ultimately ensure complete visibility of operations, whether in day-to-day work or targeted missions.
Transforming Field Operations
A collaboration platform is a critical step for modernizing field team communications. But far too many teams rely on generally available products not designed with the government in mind or tested to meet the needs of field teams in dynamic environments.
By unlocking digital collaboration for field operations, teams gain secure, real-time communication and information that enables agencies to innovate and modernize operations.
Orion is the leading voice-first, intelligent collaboration platform that transforms how field personnel and frontline workers operate and collaborate with PTT 2.0, process automation, intelligence amplification, and analytics. Orion was developed hand-in-hand with the Intelligence Community and is used in active field missions today. The Orion platform is a secure, scalable, and highly available platform for tactical and covert team communications and collaboration, as well as field operations across a broad range of use cases. Learn more at orionlabs.io.