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Still Using Walkie-Talkies? Use Microsoft Teams Instead

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Construction Industry, Productivity, Tech Tips

Just when you thought Office 365 was just for the office, Microsoft Teams introduces a Walkie-Talkie app for your crews on job sites. This application was developed to improve and simplify communication for your non-office workers and offers several advantages over other forms of radio communication.


The Problem

Like most construction leaders I’m sure you expect your Project Managers (PMs) to find ways to get projects done safely and on-time while keeping costs under control.

What are common industry profit-killers?

  • Rework due to miscommunications and lack of timely, meaningful data. According to FMI Corp, that alone costs builders about $31 billion annually.
  • Tradesmen busy playing phone tag with the PMs and getting answers on change orders instead of spending their time doing their trade. Only 37% of workers’ time is actually doing their trade.
  • Budget overruns due to avoidable delays. Approximately 61% of construction projects go over their projected timelines and budgets due to miscommunication.
  • Scheduling errors for everything from project start dates to material deliveries

At the root of all these issues is a lack of a simplified and accountable communication system.

Communications are often hindered by the disconnection of communication tools and no system in place to connect them all. Between bulky, expensive hardware and lack of any centralized system, tradesmen, supervisors, and PMs lose time and focus by using 20th-century tech to address 21st-century problems.


The Solution

We have great news for you. Chances are, you’ve already got the solution in the palm of your hand without even realizing it. Microsoft Teams now has a Walkie Talkie Function that connects into your Teams platform that also connects everything your field team needs to complete their job effectively. All emails, documents such as change orders, chat messages, scheduling, and signoff forms to name a few are all connected in one place.

But we like the old way of doing things – just get on a handset or phone and talk to an on-site supervisor.

There are just a few problems with those methods.

  1. You’re investing money in extra hardware without really solving the problem.
  2. You’re missing an opportunity to fully leverage tech that you already have on hand
  3. Spending additional money on a solution that you already pay for with your Microsoft licensing is an area you can save to help overhead.

You’re probably deploying Microsoft products to run your core office processes currently. You may even already rely on the Teams application for some of your communications.

But, are you really unleashing its full potential?

The Walkie Talkie function addresses the lack of effective, timely communication without adding to your expenses or over-complicating matters. At a time when budgets are tight and reliable remote communications are essential, this advantage will reduce frustration and keep team members connected no matter where they’re located.

Old-fashioned communications devices like hand-held electronics have limited reach. If a crew member or supervisor is out of range or away from their handset, they’re cut off from information. Phone calls and text messages are easy to miss on noisy job sites.

How much better would it be if tradesmen who are already using mobile devices on the job site and team members back at the office were using the same app on their phone that was dedicated to communications?

That’s what Microsoft 365 gives you when you enable the Walkie-Talkie feature from their Teams app. This added functionality addresses common concerns and frustrations by improving communication among PMs, construction crews, accounting people, and subcontractors.

We know that a Push-to-Talk (PTT) or Walkie Talkie functionality is not the only way your people communicate which showcases the beauty of Microsoft Teams. Microsoft allows your company to have a centralized communications hub that provides everything that tradesmen and office workers need, including:

  • Chat interface for quick communication
  • Video conferencing for when your PMs need to see something on a job site that they are not at
  • Project-related documents, such as order changes, drawings, schematics, punch lists, and more
  • Connects calendars for scheduling ease
  • Allows easy access for collaboration to any subcontractors working on the project
  • And now the Walkie Talkie feature to help your crews in the field easily communicate

This increased functionality combines many of the same features that you’re likely to have scattered across several different platforms and applications and puts them all in one place.


Final Thoughts

When was the last time you inquired about current IT solutions for your construction company? We’re here to tell you that Microsoft Teams is not just for office staff anymore.

With the development of the Walkie-Talkie app, you’ll be able to streamline communications by creating a centralized hub. Not only will this feature save time and money, but it will also keep you connected to job sites and workers at all times and from any location.

At Spot Migration, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to improve service delivery. Our specialty is working with general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, and building materials manufacturers to cut costs and boost productivity through current IT solutions. Get in touch with us when you’re ready to find out how technology will improve your business processes in unexpected ways.

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