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Microsoft launches Teams ‘Walkie Talkie’ secure instant voice broadcasting

Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie is available for Android and iOS telephones and tablets but why have Microsoft launched this new functionality?

 

Microsoft Teams in an app available with Office 365 licences. See previous articles to understand why Teams is such an invaluable tool for the ‘new normal’ workplace.

Instant voice broadcasting for the workplace

Walkie talkies have been used in various workplaces for many years, but they have the obvious drawbacks of range limitation and security. But the benefit of being able to have instant voice communication and broadcast around workplaces is huge. The ability to do this saves time and money by removing the need to physically pull people together for a voice conversation.

This feature continues to further strengthen the massive value that Microsoft Teams brings to the workplace as other apps like Slack, WhatsApp, or Messenger do not have a walkie-talkie feature – Teams Walkie Talkie is just – ‘push to talk’.

Think of Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie as:

  1. ‘A quick shout out’
  2. ‘A verbal and urgent alert about a workplace incident’
  3. ‘The ability to immediately speak to the right colleagues about the right thing’

    Teams Walkie Talkie provides the ability for a verbal broadcast on anything to relevant groups of people – securely.

    You could use it to:

  • remind workers to maintain social distancing ask for a snapshot feedback on the working day
  • prevent shouting across distances in a noisy manufacturing environment warn a group of managers about a real time incident
  • communicate with mobile service engineers anywhere in the country because there is no range restriction and mobile phones will work with onsite Wi-Fi or mobile data.

Teams Walkie Talkie is now in the pre-release phase which means that it is gradually being released into Team environments across most Office 365 licences. If you don’t have it right now – you will do soon.

How to licence firstline workers for Office 365

The ideal Office 365 licence for rolling this out around your workforce is specifically for  firstline workers and provides access to Teams, SharePoint, One Drive, and power apps. The cost is only £3.00 plus VAT per month, per user. Please see our upcoming article about how these licences will support not only Walkie Talkie but your use of Teams Shift management and Teams Clocking In.

How will you use Teams Walkie Talkie?

Teams Walkie Talkie enables secure groups to be created (unlike a traditional walkie talkie) for instant voice communication.

Shift managers can contact shop floor staff by group. Secured groups can be created for Health and Safety for example or any other dedicated group that deals with specific topics/areas.

“Unlike analog devices with unsecure networks, customers no longer have to worry about crosstalk or eavesdropping from outsiders,” says Emma Williams, a Microsoft corporate vice president.

Get in instant voice contact with your off-site teams

If you run a team that services, cleans, or installs for example, team managers can instigate immediate multi way voice communications.

Think about this scenario:
Broadcast out to a mobile team of 6 engineers………

‘Can anyone pick up that part from junction 3?’
‘Yes mate’
‘What time can you be there?’
‘About 4:30, when I have finished off here’

It’s an instant resolution to a question and does not rely on picking up emails, answering your phone, or written internal ‘chats’.

What devices can you run Walkie Talkie on?

Samsung, one of the market leaders in Android telephony has launched this device
The aim of this ‘phone is to provide the ruggedness and usability required for firstline workers. Screens are sensitive even when wearing gloves.
Teams Walkie Talkie is also suitable for BYOD or other company owned Android and iOS ‘phones and Android tablets.

Thought for the Day
If your business has still not deployed Teams fully, then this is just one more compelling reason to look into getting it done. Call Qi and we can give you the help you need to deploy Teams.