A few years ago, it seemed as though push-to-talk communication was a dying technology. Most services ran on outdated networks and provided few exciting features, in sharp contrast with the sleek smartphones and tablets taking hold in both consumer and business environments.

But what if you could combine the benefits of traditional push-to-talk and rugged devices with the most advanced mobile technologies, new smartphones, mobile applications, presence and more?

Today, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Companies that rely on instantaneous communications – think those in the construction, manufacturing and transportation industries – can now get push-to-talk capabilities on the latest and greatest mobile devices or newer ruggedized devices. What’s more, they can bring together push-to-talk and a whole range of applications designed to improve employees’ productivity in the field.

The next generation of push-to-talk has arrived. And if you haven’t thought about push-to-talk for your business in a while, here are five reasons why you should reconsider:

1.    It’s fast. Really, really fast

That means call setup times and latency of less than one second. With IP-based technology, we now have the ability to run push-to-talk over lightning-fast 4G LTE networks.

 2.    New push-to-talk features go above and beyond expectations

Modern-day push-to-talk applications aren’t just a button on the side of the phone. The latest services allow you to check a push-to-talk user’s status to see if he or she is available. If you’re a supervisor, you can override a conversation to communicate an important message. You can create talk groups immediately on your mobile device.

3.    Mobile applications take it to the next level

Integrating mobile apps with push-to-talk changes a useful tool into a comprehensive solution for field workers. Think about how much more productive employees can be if they’re filling out forms or invoices on their devices instead of on paper – and then add in the ability to call an expert, refer a manual, and take in a video at the same.

4.    There’s no better way to get in touch quickly

The average push-to-talk conversation lasts 40 seconds, while a traditional phone call takes three minutes. And what about text messaging? Unless you’re a world record holder, you can probably speak a lot faster than you can type.  In many situations, it may not only be more productive, it may be required for safety reasons.

5.    The future looks bright

What’s ahead for push-to-talk? Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow businesses to fold push-to-talk functionality into almost any application. We also expect to make our new service, AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk, available over Wi-Fi connections and internationally through roaming agreements.

The 21st century version of the ‘walkie talkie’ unites the best of modern mobile technology – high-speed networks, smartphone compatibility, new rugged phones, mobile apps – with the longstanding requirement for calls at the touch of a button.

So what do you think? Is push-to-talk dead? Or are we just getting started on a new age of instant communications – the push-to-talk of the smartphone era?