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Vodafone BHV Emergency Department Finds Better Guaranteed Security with Push to Talk

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Thanks to Vodafone Netherlands for sharing this great success story for carrier-integrated broadband push-to-talk.


With one push of a button you can communicate with all emergency response staff during an evacuation, make an urgent PTT call for backup during an arrest, provide a direct update to technicians remotely – this is all possible with Vodafone Push to Talk (PTT). This advanced instant communications service combines the benefits of a smartphone and a radio on a single device and uses the power of the nationwide, highly reliable 3G and 4G Vodafone network. Vodafone itself uses this service - the BHV emergency department is successfully communicating via PTT.

Connect Everywhere

Vodafone was itself one of the first adopters of Push to Talk. Vodafone has 70 BHV staff divided across four offices. Three of those offices now use Push to Talk. These staff members all have access to the PTT app on their own iOS and Android devices. A phone which is ideally suited for Push to Talk is the extremely rugged Sonim. This phone is especially useful for employees who work in construction and similar rough environments. They do not have to bring a second device just for PTT.  Vodafone Head of BHV Emergency Resonse Mark Buitenhuis

The Challenge

Mark Buitenhuis, Head of BHV Emergency Response at Vodafone Netherlands says: "Before, the Vodafone BHV organization used walkie-talkies. But that was not a good solution, certainly not in the Vodafone office in Maastricht which consists of several buildings. We could not get signal between the emergency command post in the central building and the various locations in the other buildings. That was an undesirable situation in the case of an emergency where communication is essential."

The Solution

“When the alarm went off, the well-known slow whoop, the emergency response team would go to the location in their department where the radios were kept. If all went well, the radios were charged and programmed with the appropriate settings, such as pre-select on the channel used in the case of emergency. But we could not ever be sure of this.” Nicolette Daemen adds: "For some time we wanted a different solution for emergency response communication. When we were looking for this, someone alerted us to the new Push Talk we offer to our customers. That proved the solution for our communication problems."

Clear Interface

All BHV staff now have the PTT app on their device. "In contrast to a walkie-talkie, you can see exactly who is speaking. The interface is clear, with a large button to speak, and the range is great because it works wherever there is cell phone coverage. People outside the building are also able to speak as needed. I myself tested PTT calls while I was at home, in another city, and that works fine."

Buitenhuis: "The big advantage is that PTT is always with you. We are a telecommunications company, so everyone has a modern mobile device with them. Another advantage is that everyone can now communicate directly, because previously we had one radio per floor. That was not useful because people often changed locations. Sometimes there were four BHV on one floor, but only one radio. Now everyone is accessible wherever they are. The Security is therefore much better guaranteed."


BHV managers can just put their phone on silent mode (Do not Disturb) when they are in a meeting and also so important conversations with customers will not be interrupted by a PTT call. If a PTT call does come in, they will get a notification that they have missed a call. And when something has happened BHV will be warned by the alarm as well.

Daemen: "We have created groups in the PTT application, so not all seventy BHV employees communicate with each other all the time. We have groups for each office, and managers have been added to these groups. People who regularly travel between different offices, like Amsterdam and Maastricht, can be added to both groups.

"When BHV staff are done working, they can set the PTT app to ‘do not disturb,’ and when they come back in the office set it back to ‘available.’ Other PTT users can see who is part of the group and which persons are available at a given time.”

Buitenhuis: "The functionality is extremely simple; after a single training, anyone can use it without problems. All BHV staff have this app on their phone and are very excited about. Nobody wants to go back to the old situation with walkie-talkies."

With Vodafone Push to Talk on the phone, a user can directly make a PTT call with a colleague or a group of employees without having to dial a number and without waiting for connection. The service can be easily installed on various iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Where conventional radios usually make use of a separate infrastructure, PTT communication uses the Vodafone network. This means that colleagues do not need to be close to each other in the neighborhood to have direct voice connection with Push to Talk.

Want to know more? Go to www.vodafone.nl/pushtotalk or fill out the contact form on the Vodafone website.

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