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Apparently, such a device does exist, but it is not widely commercially available. According to Brandon Gregg, a poster on Quora.com,
“There actually are “WiFi walkie talkies” for people in the security industry. Most are connected to security officer patrol verification systems that track officer movements, check ins, status reports, etc”.
Basically, WiFi, as a communications format, simply isn’t as reliable in a crisis as a good old-fashioned two-way radio or walkie-talkie. In fact, Walkie Talkie’s (like the Motorola GP3400 series), are generally useful, reliable, high performance and cost effective. They also work instantly, with no boot up or load time.
A WiFi equivalent would possibly be more costly and probably not nearly reliable enough. Put simply, there just doesn’t seem to be a market for it right now. Personally, I doubt that there will be one in the foreseeable future, but you never know.
Also, although it isn’t, strictly speaking, a ‘walkie talkie’, an Android app also exists that performs the same function as a walkie talkie and operates via WiFi. It is called, appropriately enough, ‘WiFi walkie talkie’. To quote the app’s write-up on ‘appszoom.com’,
“WiFi Walkie Talkie is a Push-to-Talk application, which allows you to talk for free over wireless networks. With this application, you can transmit your voice data to all devices that are on the same network, or to any (other) device (if) you know its IP address”.
If you’re really into the idea of owning a WiFi walkie-talkie, then THIS SITE is selling a smartphone/walkie-talkie hybrid. The Runbo X5 runs on Android, has a talk time of between 6 and 10 hours and operates a dual core CPU, it is also highly water resistant. I’ve never reviewed this product personally, so I can’t say much more than that, but the stats look pretty impressive. It even has 4G.
Overall, you’re probably better off sticking to a regular walkie-talkie or two way radio for your business (or personal) needs. There is a wealth of support and help online for the use of walkie-talkies, as well as a number of detailed product reviews (some of which are contributed by yours truly) that will help you make an informed and cost effective decision.
WiFi is a technology that is still improving, but we’ve all had connectivity problems with our phones, laptops, tablets and whatnot. The last thing you need is to suffer the same difficulties when encountering an emergency situation.
Perhaps one day someone will make a WiFi walkie-talkie, but it will only become a viable alternative to the current versions when it can be proved to be safer and offer superior service, which is something that I just don’t see happening. Sorry.
As I have said elsewhere, I’m far from an expert in these matters, so if you feel like grabbing a second opinion with your morning coffee, then by all means, do a little research and get back to me with a snotty email telling me what a prat I am.