How pagers can improve your business
If you thought that pagers are a dead relic of the past, think again. You may believe there is no money to be made by producing these devices. Quite the opposite; some companies such as Motorola are able to make hefty profits based on beepers alone.
Contrary to popular opinion, there are numerous benefits to using these small and slick devices. Furthermore, there are certain things pagers do much better than cell phones making them a popular choice for various industries. If you think about it, you can see them in almost all hospital TV series, right?
In this article, you will learn every about pagers, their history and how they can be used to improve your business.
So, let’s get to it!
What is pager?
Simply put, pager or beeper is a wireless telecommunication device which can receive messages.
We can classify paging systems based on the type of message that is conveyed to end-user:
- Alert-only – User gets a beep which alerts him there is a situation. This is a great way to notify a doctor that his presence is needed in emergency room for example
- Numerical – In this case, user can see a number. The number can either represent number of the caller or it can be a code which can be used to describe an emergency
- Alphanumerical – As the name implies, this pager system can include both numbers and letter. It is good if you need to receive a more complex message
It is necessary to explain alphanumerical pagers a bit more thoroughly.
We recognize two basic types of this device: one-way pager and two-way pager.
As you can presume, one-way pager can only receive messages. On the other hand, two-way pager can also respond back. Depending on your profession, you may prefer one of these two options. For example, if a person doesn’t have time to respond, there is no reason to get a two-way model.
“Did you know that 90 percent of hospitals in USA use pagers?”
Nowadays, these devices have adapted according to industry and their particular use. This is why we have products such as waiter call button. Although they have been surpassed by most of the mobile devices, beepers still have enormous popularity in certain professions. This is why we still have a lot of pager service providers and pager manufacturers.
When was pager invented?
Broadcasting brought about some amazing possibilities. Suddenly, we realized that it is possible to send and receive messages all over the country. Inventors across the world started fantasizing about devices that can send and receive wireless messages.
In 1949 Canadian inventor called Al Gross invented the first telephone pager. However, Motorola Company was the first business entity that managed to monetize on this device.
They created the Handie-Talkie radio pager in 1959. In short amount of time, this paging system became wildly popular. Physicians were the first to notice its benefits and they started using it on a bigger scale.
Nevertheless, the first commercial success came with the introduction of Motorola Pageboy in 1974. Up till this day, Motorola pagers are recognized as the most reliable pagers on the market.
“Did you know that Motorola Pageboy had no display, only alarm tone?”
Beepers’ glory days were during the 90s. During that period of time, everybody was using them. They were very sophisticated and mobile phones were still not that much of a competition. According to some data, there were approximately 61 million users in 1994. But, as the cell phones started improving, pagers lost good share of the market.
Recently, pagers have experienced resurgence. Many organizations have realized benefits of this wireless system and started using them instead of regular cell phones.
Do you wish to learn why you should also start using a pager?
Keep on reading!
How do pagers work?
If you are interested in technology, this is the right chapter for you!
Pagers are a pretty old technology. That being said, their system is rather simple.
Pagers are based on radio waves. On one side, you have a sender. When sender wishes to contact a receiver, he needs to enter a special code (otherwise known as Channel Access Protocol code) that is connected to that pager. After that, signal is sent to a pager. Every pager is adjusted to a specific radio frequency. If the person on the other side entered a proper code, pager will be able to receive it. That’s why you can never make a mistake when contacting a person.
“Did you know that page (in pager) refers to the message itself?”
Back in the day, pagers used a two-tone system. With this system, sender was able to send a signal that consisted of two different tones. But, its main problem was that you could only contact a small number of people. As pagers increased in popularity, manufacturers had to develop a better system. So, they implemented five-six tone system.
Here is how things work within a pager:
- Antenna allows the device to pick up RF radiation and send it to receiver
- Receiver demodulates and forwards encoded information to processor
- Processor decodes the information and checks if its addressed properly
- Memory stores the previously decoded message
- Display is used to present the message to end user after it was stored in memory
These are the other parts of beeper:
- Controls are used to configure the device and open different messages
- Indicator alerts you that you have a new message
- Casing is used to protect all these parts
Obviously, this model refers to a one-way pager. As you can notice, there is no way to send a message with such a device. On the other hand, two-way pager has a bit more complex structure.
How to use a pager
Similarly to everything else about this device, pagers are rather easy to use.
Before we start explaining how to use a beeper, it is necessary to mention how you can send a message to one.
First of all, you need to call a pager number. You will be greeted with an automated message. The message will ask you to leave the number after the beep. Now, you can either leave your own number or some other specific number that can be used to describe a situation (such as emergency code etc.). When that’s done, all you have to do is hang up and wait for response.
Now, that we have that covered, let’s see how to use a pager.
Every pager has at least two buttons:
- Function button – Allows you to access menu and it also serves as reject button
- Confirm button – Allows you to enter an option or message and confirm your choice
Beepers also have arrow buttons. The number and layout of arrow buttons depend on model. More complex models usually have 4 arrow buttons:
- Left arrow
- Right arrow
- Up arrow
- Down arrows
In most cases, it is easy to figure out which arrow button you should use so there is no need for further explanation
When you wish to read a message, all you have to do is scroll over it and press the confirm button. Within the message, you can use scroll buttons to go up and down and read longer text. Pressing the function button will return you to the menu.
Even if you have no experience with pager systems, they are pretty easy to navigate and you will get a hold of it in no time.
Why should you use a pager?
Now, this is the main question!
Regardless of what you think, there are a lot of service providers and pager companies out there. This industry is alive and kicking for a reason. So, what is so special about pagers that can replace mobile phones?
Pagers are based on satellite communication. They use so called “simulcast” which allows pages to be broadcasted instantaneously. This is an enormous advantage in comparison to cell phones that use local towers to transmit and receive messages. With that in mind, it is obvious why emergency services and field teams prefer beepers and walkie-talkies to any other form of communication.
Here is the rundown of all the pager benefits. Who knows, perhaps your business can profit from it?
- Reliable – No matter where you are or what you do, you can always be reached through your pager
- Quick – It takes a maximum of 30 seconds for a message to reach pager. This is much faster than cell phone messaging where text can get stuck for a much longer time. Also, it is possible to reach a large group of people almost instantaneously with one call.
- Unaffected by ground situation – Beepers have proven to be a great solution during crisis. Even if there is an earthquake or some other disaster, you can be certain that pager will work
- Durable – Unlike modern mobile devices, pagers are really durable and they can last for a long time
- Cheap – They are pretty much the cheapest mobile device on the market
- Discreet and easy to conceal – If the size is in anyway important, have in mind that this device is definitely a great pick due to its small dimensions
“Did you know that when tornado hit Missouri in 2011, cell phone network was down for 4 days while pagers worked?”
People tend to get obsessed with technology. We think just because something is new and has a lot of options, it is actually better. In this quest for technological improvement, we tend to forget that simplest things still work. Yes, it is hard to dispute usefulness of mobile phones. In the end, they allow us to talk with people and even use the Internet. However, that doesn’t mean that you should completely turn your back to pagers and neglect their awesome potential.
Does this mean that I should get a pager no matter what?
Even with all its benefits, pagers do have a lot of drawbacks.
However, there are certain businesses where pagers are extremely popular and beneficial such as hospitals, restaurants, hotels, offices, nurseries, emergencies etc.
Now, let’s see how some of these industries use pagers to their benefit.
This is probably one of the industries that benefit the most from pagers.
How many times did you have to wait for a seat in a restaurant? Also, how many times did you have to wait for your order?
Restaurant paging system can finally solve these issues.
As you can presume, beepers are an excellent method of conveying information between a guest and restaurant. In certain occasions, we do not have time to reserve a table. Instead, we have to wait for one to be free. This can be really tiresome. Some of us would rather browse around (especially if you happen to be in a shopping mall).
If you have to wait for your takeaway or a seat, restaurant manager can give you a beeper. So, you are free to look around, take a walk or do whatever you wish to do. As soon as your table is ready, you will get a brief message.
“Did you know that restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory, TGI Fridays, and PF Changs use this technology?”
Although this may seem as a small thing, it vastly improves customer satisfaction. In fact, waiting is the main reason why people become annoyed with restaurants and their staff. You can even slide with poor quality of food but no one tolerates poor quality of service.
But, what if a customer runs away with my beeper?
Do not worry, they have installed anti-theft feature and they will be safe other people’s hands. Even if a customer manages to damage them in some way, these beepers are really affordable and do not present a big cost for your organization.
Besides your guests, your delivery team can also profit from using them. Instead of standing in a kitchen or a restaurant, they can sit outside waiting for a meal to be made. When it’s finally done, they can get a beep and come to take the order.
Unlike some other institutions, use of pagers is a tradition in hospital environment. Since their inception in 1950s, these devices are the backbone of hospital care. This isn’t surprising given how efficient beepers are in critical situation.
With that being said why doctors do not use cell phones instead? In the end, they are much newer technology.
Here is where the problem occurs: a lot of doctors work within big hospitals that spread over a large surface. Furthermore, most of the hospital staff has long shifts making it almost impossible to stay in one place all the time. For example, they might go to the staff’s room to rest or to nearby restaurant for a lunch. Emergency may occur and they will be called back immediately.
However, their cell phone may be out of reach. In this case, pager is the best solution as they provide up to 4 kilometers of coverage (with signal booster). Not only does it provide undisturbed signal, it is also much quicker when it comes to sending and responding.
Nowadays, some hospitals are thinking about modernizing and switching to smart phones and other system. Nevertheless, signal problem still persist. On top of it, smart phones tend to be very expensive in comparison to pager systems.
“Did you know that New York Langone Hospital paid $100.000 for 16 smartphones in 2012 while average pager costs $35?”
Anyway, doctors still love their pagers. In the end, this technology shows the best results in life or death situations. It is a must for any health care business!
Church nursery pagers
Discretion is another thing that needs to be considered when it comes to paging systems.
The devices are really small and inconspicuous. They can be set to vibrate and you can easily get a message without alerting your immediate surroundings what’s happening.
When it comes to church nurseries, discretion is very much needed. Sometimes, child may suffer an accident or it may start crying without end. In that case, parent should be notified immediately. But, in order to prevent all the fuss, you can simply page a person and reduce pleasantries. Furthermore, only the parent will know that this message is originating from nursery which can further prevent any embarrassment. Imagine if you are praying and you constantly get messages that your child is causing ruckus!
Here are the four main reasons why you should get a pager for you church nursery:
- Parents can be more relaxed
- Parents can be instantly notified
- It allows uninterrupted worship service
- Improves child safety
Some time ago, most of the churches had LED signs that could notify parents during the service. However, this was a very crude and embarrassing solution. Nowadays, church nurseries are slowly transitioning towards pagers as a more advanced solution.
Here is another example where pager can easily trump cell phones and other mobile devices.
When we think about offices, we always think about busy environment where everybody is exchanging ideas and running around. But, this model is not great for everybody. In fact, by building a more stable environment, you are able to improve productivity of your business and reduce loss of time.
This is where pagers come into play.
Unlike cell phones that can be really distracting for your staff, pager systems represent a direct method of communication. Instead of having a cell phone that can be used for various things, you can limit your employees to use of pagers. This can be crucial for business where communication is the key and in case you wish to make work communication strictly business oriented.
“Did you know that in 2015, there were more than 38.000 pager users in Hong Kong, China, mostly within the private sector?”
Here are the four main reasons why you need pagers in your office:
- They are discreet and they do not build tension within the office
- Beepers are a quick and direct line to employees
- They are a great way to limit use of cell phones
- If the employee leaves the building, you will get instantly notified
As you can see, these devices are a good way to reduce chatter within the office. Also, they are great way of controlling your employees so they do not waste time on using cell phones. Together with internet limitations, this can be a great way to increase focus of your staff.
Retail also benefit from pagers.
When we go shopping, different problems may occur. For example, salesman cannot find the right size for us. Perhaps he needs to go to storage to get just the item we need? No matter the case, we might be stuck for a moment forced to wait until staff resolves the issue. As you well know this can be rather bothersome.
Instead of losing our time in a store, we can continue browsing and visiting nearby stores. When the staff manages to get the item, they can easily contact us through a beeper. Then, we can return and claim the product.
This can be an amazing solution which will improve customer satisfaction. It can reduce the stress and time which a person needs to spend waiting. Thus, it is only logical that a retail company should get such a device.
Another thing to have in mind – pagers are great for your team coordination.
How many times have you gone to a supermarket and heard a voice through speakerphone telling a worker that he is needed in a particular aisle or at a cash register? You will agree; this can be annoying.
Luckily for us, retail staff can use beepers to reduce the noise. Manager can used paging system to quickly and discreetly organize his staff and send them where they are needed.
When it comes to importance of customer satisfaction, hotels take the cake.
Naturally, when a person spends a week or more within your establishment, he wants to have everything at the tip of his fingers. In this case, service is even more important than the product (room and food). If you are working within this industry, you know how valuable it is to leave a good impression. People who had good time in your hotel are more likely to revisit you the next time they are in the city.
That being said, we come to pagers.
Oftentimes, hotel or motel visitor will require something from your staff. Instead of going to reception, he can simply contact the employees via pager. This is why it is really good to have them in every room.
Another good use of beeper system is at the poolside. Most people like to have some kind of a cold beverage nearby when they are relaxing in the sun. With a pager, they can contact the staff and get their drink without ever leaving the spot.
People can have very specific demands when they visit a hotel. In most of the cases, it is really hard to keep a track of all their wishes by using devices. This is why the industry still relies on analog communication such as phones and pagers. Most of the issues (and wishes) are resolved (fulfilled) directly, after face-to-face communication where visitor tells staff what he actually needs.
“Did you know that 25% of US hotels still use pen and paper as a way to record needs of their visitors?”
Most people would find this as a crude method. But, it is obvious that the system works. Pagers and similar devices can be especially important if your visitor is speaking a foreign language and it takes him a while to explain what he needs.
Have in mind that there are a lot of people who prefer direct communication instead of ordering through computer. This is why your hotel business needs a pager to make entire process easier for your visitors.
People who like to gamble can spend hours and hours at a table or a slot machine. During this time, you can make a nice profit by selling drinks and food. Visitors will wait for a waiter to pass by to place an order. Oftentimes, they will lose track of food as they get involved in the game. This is where you lose money.
As a casino owner, you have to make sure that the players are constantly supplied. At the same time, you shouldn’t make a mistake in bothering them. Solution comes in a form of a pager.
Whenever player needs something, croupier at your table can contact a waiter. This increases revenues significantly. Although it is a small thing, it will also improve client’s satisfaction.
Additionally, pagers are great when the tables are occupied. Casino visitor can relax in nearby restaurant or bar and as soon as there is a free spot, you can contact him through his pager. With this device, you can make sure that your tables are constantly occupied and that you are maximizing your profit.
Lastly, similarly to previously mentioned cases, pager can be used as a way to convey messages between members of your team. Unlike phones, pagers are very discreet and they won’t make any commotion.
Use of beepers in factories is quite specific and different from anything that we mentioned so far.
In this case, it is mostly connected to personal safety of workers.
You see, factories, refineries, mines and similar places are very noisy. Due to this, it can be hard to hear a person near you, let alone anything else. Unfortunately, accidents do occur in such an environment.
Alarms or sound systems would be a great solution in this case if it weren’t for all the noise. Workers may continue with their daily routine without ever realizing that a potential hazard is right behind the corner. This is where paging systems step in.
Pagers can set up either to call a person or group of people. In fact, this is one of its main benefits. If an accident occurs in your factory, you can simply notify all your workers with a click of a button. Having in mind that beepers work nicely in critical situations and can send a message almost without a delay, you can rest assured that everybody will be notified in due time.
On the other hand, if you do not wish to cause panic, you can appoint one person for crisis situations. He can receive the message and then, relay it to others.
“Did you know you can contact 1000 people with a single page?”
But, even if there are no critical situations, you can still use pagers in a regular way. Regardless of the situation, they are a great communication method for loud production plants. On top of it all, the fact that they are rather small makes it easy for worker to do their job without being bothered by devices in their pockets.
Spas represent another good implementation of pagers.
Perhaps the most important thing about these establishments is the fact they provide a thorough relaxation for visitors. Ambient music together with incenses, create a perfect atmosphere. But, this serenity can be easily disturbed.
It is best if you keep phones away from your spa. Also, make sure that visitors are undisturbed during the treatment. Both of these goals can be accomplished by using pagers.
Beepers are really discreet. They can be used by the staff to coordinate or notify the users that the treatment is ready. Just the thing to relax your clientele!
Oftentimes, people get back to the basics. In our search for improvement, we tend to forget that the original recipe worked just fine.
Same goes with pagers.
Up to this day, these small devices are alive and kicking. Obviously, they have numerous advantages over their sophisticated mobile counterparts. So much so that many organizations have realized that by using beepers, not only are they providing a better service, they are also able to save money and run a more efficient organization.
Depending on your business, you might want to consider getting a few of these devices because they can certainly bring the necessary improvement!