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5 Significant Reasons to Upgrade School Buses from Land Mobile Radio (LMR) to Push to Talk Over Cellular (PoC)

With kids home for summer, May and June are ideal months to begin the process of replacing aging school bus communication systems. Of course, you've heard of Push to Talk Over Cellular (PTToC or PoC), but you may have been unsure of the benefits of PoC over older land mobile radio (LMR) systems. There are many benefits of PoC, including lower system cost, broader coverage and capabilities, ease of implementation, enhanced safety capabilities, and, most notably, no local LMR infrastructure to maintain or upkeep.

Benefits of PoC Over LMR

1. Lower System Cost
Traditional two-way LMR systems often cost over $1,000 per bus—but upgrading to PoC doesn't mean your school needs to invest in expensive smartphones to get the job done. Affordable PoC devices, like the ultra-rugged Kyocera DuraXV Extreme+ PoC flip phone, combined with a compatible hands-free kit, is a total PoC solution that costs roughly half the price of outdated LMR systems per vehicle. Some PoC devices like the DuraXV Extreme+ flip phone may even be free for eligible government customers (like schools). Find out if your school qualifies for free ultra-rugged PoC devices.

If you still have functional components and you're not ready to get rid of your land mobile radios entirely, interoperability solutions exist that allow you to connect LMRs to PoC devices for a smooth transition and back-and-forth communication.

2. Better Communication & Wider Coverage
Land mobile radio can be extremely limited in its capabilities and range. However, opting for ultra-rugged mobile PoC devices like Kyocera flip phones allow for additional uses not afforded by traditional LMRs, including calling, texting, email correspondence, and even fleet/timesheet management services with pre-installed apps like Field Force Manager.1 These capabilities allow for advanced communication and can be customized depending on the services your school needs and chooses.

LMR systems can be prone to interference and can have limited coverage areas, making it difficult for users to communicate effectively. However, PoC devices can connect virtually anywhere with cellular or Wi-Fi. PoC with nationwide cellular coverage also means team members can communicate even on business or personal travel throughout the country, well beyond LMR coverage.

3. Ease of Implementation
Implementation is as easy as activating a device and Push to Talk+ service. With additional accessories, such as the industry-leading GPSLockbox push-to-talk kit (that includes a DOT-compliant corded palm microphone, 20-watt amplifier, and speaker), a bus's PoC system could be up and running in a few minutes. And with DuraXV Extreme+ plugged into GPSLockbox's charging cradle and the phone's Car Kit mode enabled, the device will always stay charged while the bus is running.

To make implementation even easier, Verizon's Enterprise Contact Manager Web Portal makes it uncomplicated for administrators to distribute contacts automatically to each device, replace or update them remotely at any time, and quickly create talk groups.

4. Maintenance & Upkeep
LMR systems can be expensive to license and maintain. When investing in a PoC system, LMR network upkeep, licensing, and upgrade duties will no longer be your school's responsibility, freeing up its time and resources.

5. Safety & Immediate Communication 
Parents, students, teachers, and school administrators alike can agree that safety is a top priority. However, LMRs have limited potential for technological developments that allow broadband services to support employee and student safety. With a rugged Kyocera PoC device, location and emergency services are readily available through our partners and over Verizon's ultra-reliable nationwide cellular network.

Final Thoughts
While LMRs continue to be used for critical communications in public safety and other industries, there is a growing need for more advanced communication technologies that can support high-bandwidth data applications and provide more reliable coverage over longer distances.

PoC technology offers several advantages over LMR, such as lower cost, better support for rich data and safety tools, and easier scalability. So, if your school is ready to switch to PoC, or you have additional questions, contact a Kyocera PoC expert by emailing today.


1. Additional fees are required for Field Force Manager services. 2. Check DOT requirements and laws to ensure compliance.