Microsoft has released a public preview of the Teams Walkie Talkie app for iPhones to help frontline workers communicate.
The Teams Walkie Talkie app for Android has been available in preview for over a year now and came to Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro devices late last year. The app provides push-to-talk (PTT) services for frontline workers, allowing participants to talk one at a time, taking turns talking and listening.
Microsoft is pitching the Teams app as an alternative to workers carrying bulky dedicated PTT radios. Like an old-fashioned walkie-talkie, the Walkie Talkie app has a microphone button that users need to press and hold to speak, and then the user needs to release the button to listen to the other speaker.
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"This push-to-talk experience enables clear, instant, and secure voice communication over the cloud, turning employee- or company-owned iOS and Android smartphones and tablets into a walkie-talkie," Microsoft said in a blogpost.
Another benefit is that users don't need to worry about frequency static that affects analog devices. It also offers a shield from crosstalk and eavesdropping and can work across large geographic regions since it works over Wi-Fi or cellular networks.
Frontline or firstline workers are a key segment in Microsoft's growth plans for Microsoft 365/ Office 365. The segment consists of workers who spend most of their time away from the desk, in the field or on factory floors.
Once set up, the Walkie Talkie app can be accessed from an icon in the navigation bar. Users can only connect to one channel simultaneously, but they can switch channels to listen or speak on a different channel. The app shows how many people are currently connected to the channel.