You can’t just wing events. As any event organizer in the Philippines knows, events are complex machines with hundreds of moving parts, where, at any minute, anything can (and will) go wrong: late speakers, food delays, inclement weather…the nightmare list goes on.
Ensuring the smooth operation of the event, therefore, requires constant communication. An event organizer has many options to converse with others—but the one that always rises above the rest isn’t the one with the most advanced guts. In fact, its tech is rather ancient.
Yes, we’re talking about the venerable walkie-talkie.
A Short Origin Story of the Walkie-Talkie
Before the iPhone was a twinkle in Steve Jobs’s eye, long-range communication was conducted through radio. In 1940, the Galvin Manufacturing Company, the forerunner of Motorola, released a portable radio receiver/transmitter for the US Army nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie. Unlike the handheld units we’re used to today, the first walkie-talkie was huge. The entire device was the size of large backpack. N fact, it was carried in one.
Further development shrunk the device into a more manageable size, and now it comes with accessories like headsets, throat mics, and ear buds for hands-free use. Motorola still makes walkie-talkies today, along with a wide variety of other manufacturers.
Using a Walkie-Talkie
Obviously, using a walkie-talkie is very different from using a phone. You don’t dial a number to talk. Instead, you and the person—or frequently, persons—on the other end get on the same channel or radio frequency. Communication isn’t continuous, either. You must hold down a button to talk, and while this button is held down, you cannot hear the person on the other end. So specific radio conventions were invented (such as saying “over” to signify that you finished talking) to get around these limitations.
Why Walkie-Talkies for Events?
Using a walkie-talkie sounds like a pain. Why use outdated tech when you can just use, say, a Viber group? However, walkie-talkies have numerous advantages over other forms of communication.
You can communicate to many people at once. Because you’re talking to all the people tuned in to the same channel, everybody can receive your message, which is a godsend when you don’t know who among your team can answer a dilemma or need all of your team to respond to an emergency at once. You may not hear what everyone is saying when you push that talk button down, but rest assured: everyone else can hear you.
You don’t have to worry about the battery. Because of their laser-beam focus on no-frills communication, a full walkie-talkie battery can last for the entire course of the event. Unlike smartphones, there is no need to have spare battery packs lying around (though it’s always best to be prepared).
Walkie-talkies are very robust. Event specialists sometimes have to stay under the rain or get their hands dirty. During these times, a walkie-talkie can get wet or banged up. Unlike mobile phones, though, it’s no big deal. They can take a licking, and still keep on crackling.
They’re also very easy to use. Once the channel is set, the only thing a person has to worry about it is pressing the button when he’s about to speak. That’s it.
They’re on their own network. Mobile phone signals are dependent on towers receiving and transmitting them. Some areas lack coverage and communication becomes spotty. Not so with walkie-talkies. They are their own receiver and transmitter, and you never have to worry about signal loss.
Lastly, they’re light. Modern technology has made them weigh at virtually nothing. Add in a few accessories and your hands are free to do other tasks.
Although based on older tech, walkie-talkies provide easy, reliable, robust, and long-lasting communication. When there is an emergency during an event, their help is critical in keeping everything going smoothly.