How To Get Worldwide Two-Way Radio — For Free!

Jim Luff
Posted on July 1, 2015

The main benefit of using a two-way radio system in passenger transportation is the ability to quickly share brief messages such as a driver reporting to a dispatcher that a vehicle has arrived on location or has discharged passengers.

It also allows dispatchers to quickly relay information about a job assignment to a driver without having to dial a phone number and wait for someone to answer. The push-to-talk radio system has served public safety agencies for decades on local levels. However, trips that cross mountain ranges always have made two-way radios ineffective for long-distance communication. Modern technology, a nationwide cellular network and a smartphone app called Voxer have changed that.

What Is Voxer?
Voxer is a live voice messaging application that brings push-to-talk technology to smartphones. The service features live communication but also records all communications and stores them for later replay or recordkeeping. When you push the button to talk, you can be heard on the other end as you speak. Voxer is a next generation push-to-talk app that can be delivered over any data network and stored in the cloud. This means you can play Voxer messages on a desktop computer or a phone. You also can legally use a smartphone functioning as a two-way radio device while driving in most states.

What Equipment Is Needed?
A smartphone is the only device needed. Voxer works globally on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 devices. It also has location sharing which can be transmitted alongside voice messaging. This lets dispatchers know the location of a vehicle when it transmits. Voxer works over any cellular data network (2G, 3G, 4G, EDGE, LTE) and over WiFi. Anywhere there’s a data signal, you can use Voxer or “Vox” with access to more than 200 countries. Voxer is a free application that can be downloaded onto any iOS (iPhone, iPad or iPod), Android, or Windows Phone 8 device. Voxer also works on computers and allows for easy international communication.

Practical Group Use & Dispatching
Small chat groups can be set up for chauffeurs working together for the day. The dispatcher could be included in this group or another group with all chauffeurs working at a given time connected to the dispatcher. When the dispatcher transmits, all phones assigned in the group will hear the message. A chauffeur can leave the group at any time. Chauffeurs can chat privately amongst themselves without the dispatcher hearing the conversation, or the dispatcher can be added to the group if desired.

Recorded Conversation Benefits
Because every transmission is recorded and stored in the cloud, if a chauffeur is busy, he can play the message at his convenience. If a dispatcher misses a transmission because he is on the phone, he also can play it back to retrieve the information and choose to store it permanently on the cloud by time and date or delete it.

Data Usage
Obviously, you will use up parts of your data plan for this technology but the usage is minimal. The average audio message on Voxer is about seven seconds and uses about 14KB of data. Text messages on Voxer average about 700 bytes of data. To put this in context, to hit 1GB of data sending messages on our service, you would need to send about 34,000 voice messages or 1.5 million text messages.

Related Topics: communications, dispatching, fleet management, Fleet Vehicles, How To, managing chauffeurs, mobile technology, technology, Telematics, two-way communications

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 1 )
  • Nancy Pickering

     | about 5 years ago

    I don't believe the Voxer Walkie-Talkie mode is free. You have to upgrade to Pro to get that feature which simulates a 2-way radio, and it costs $2.99/mo/user Zello is a totally free walkie-talkie app and does the same thing

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