Telecom giant Motorola unveiled its newest digital two-way radio in Las Vegas today, designed specifically to carry business applications developed by Ottawa-based startup, Teldio.
“These radios are more and more intelligent, and they are more like smart phones,” said Teldio CEO, Nicolas Otamendi.
The SL-Series radio, which Motorola stated is an addition to its professional digital communications portfolio, is an indoor device with a sleek design that gives it the appearance of a cell phone. The product is targeted for the hospitality industry, as well as for the health care and manufacturing sectors.
“Motorola Solutions’ customers in many markets, including management and customer-facing staff, wanted a lightweight and compact radio – one that can easily be worn under a jacket for discreet use while it looks good and is easy to use,” stated Jeff Spaeth, corporate VP for radio products and accessories at Motorola Solutions.
Teldio has given the new radio additional functionality, said Mr. Otamendi, including the ability to make and receive phone calls.
A new task management app on the radio will allow hotel staff to send and receive work tickets, which can then be tracked, and closed once the job is completed. This allows for the hotel’s workforce to be managed from a central location, he said. A safety and security feature will detect if a worker is injured or hurt by using a chip in the device that will notify a supervisor if it is immobile for a set period of time.
“(Manufacturers) have large installations, and safety is prime for them,” Mr. Otamendi said.
The radio will also be able to notify staff if a guest has hit service or panic buttons located throughout a hotel. While the apps are hosted on site, hosting its application suite from the cloud is “attractive to us,” he said.
Mr. Otamendi said that there are advantages to digital radios that businesses cannot have with cell phones, such as the ability to control costs and their coverage area. The demand for the product is expected to be high as manufacturers around the globe end production on analogue radios. The U.S. government has also mandated that all radios carry a digital signal by next year.
“Digital radio is coming. Every single analogue radio (in Canada), and in the U.S. is being replaced with a digital radio. We are talking about 20 million (devices),” he said.
With Motorola holding about 80 per cent of the market in North America, the company is anticipating growth in the number of leads and customers it will have.
Teldio got its start in Wesley Clover International’s incubator, a global investment firm founded and chaired by tech icon, Terry Matthews. The company was originally established to find communication solutions for large areas of Nunavut that are without cellular coverage.
Since its launch in 2008, the startup has experienced between 300 and 400 per cent in annual growth, in a market valued at $2 billion every year, according to Mr. Otamendi.
He said that the full release of the six-application suite will be in mid-April, and will be available through 1200 Motorola dealers in North America.