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September 14, 2017 / sgroth28

Throwback Thursday: Two-way radios, reporting improve senior living community operations

Featured in our Second Quarter 2015 newsletter was this article on our customer Greenwood Connections. With the Emergency Preparedness Rule in the forefront of everyone’s mind, we felt this was a great article that demonstrates the value of using two-way radios during an emergency situation.

Greenwood Connections

Two-way radios, reporting improve senior living community operations

You know you’re doing something right when you impress the American Red Cross.

Two years ago, the senior living community of Greenwood Connections, which provides several living options for seniors in multiple buildings, were evacuated because of an area wildfire.

Greenwood Connections administrator Clair Erickson says the Two-way Radios from Advanced Wireless Communications (AWC) proved invaluable during that experience. Residents were spread out in three different rooms of a nearby school and the Red Cross took note of the ease with which Greenwood Connections staff communicated.

“(The radios) definitely helped minimize confusion,” Erickson says, whose Greenwood Connections are located 40 miles east of Detroit Lakes in beautiful Menahga, MN.

But the radios don’t only come in handy during a time of crisis.

Erickson says the use of the radios has cut down on the time wasted looking for people, something he verifies with the daily reporting stats sent from AWC through its Instant Assistant® Wireless Nurse Call System.

The reports (extended wait times and location activation’s summary) have also helped in conversations revolving around complaints.

“Extended wait times can be addressed at staff meetings with hard data to back up or refute complaints from residents or families,” he says.
The technology upgrade goes beyond saved time for Greenwood Connections, an AWC client since 2011.

Erickson says nurses no longer mind carrying around radios because of the compact size of the Radios, giving them a lighter load during their shifts. And the AWC Nurse Call Boxes have eliminated the need for the archaic call lights above residents’ doors when they request attention.

“The nurses know immediately where the call is from no matter where they are at the moment (because) the calls go directly to the nurses,” Erickson says.

And the cherry on top?

“The building is much quieter.”

May 16, 2016 / sgroth28

Monarch Meadows sees better response times

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A 33-percent improvement in response time is worth noting.

It definitely got the attention of the staff and residents of Monarch Meadows, a North Mankato-based assisted living and respite care provider celebrating its 15 year in operation.

“Decreased response times are important for resident safety,” said Stacy Wihlm, executive director of Monarch Meadows. “On occasion, we will have a resident become frustrated while waiting for a response and will attempt to transfer themselves, which can lead to a fall and injury.”

But it’s not an issue anymore after acquiring Advanced Wireless Communication’s Page 2 Talk system with professional small two-way radios.

Before working with AWC, Monarch Meadows used pagers in each area of the building. Now, all staff members hear a voice notification through their two-way radios when an alert is activated. The closest person responds to the call, and notifies other staffers that it’s taken care of.

“Residents no longer complain that it took someone more than 15 minutes to answer their page,” she said. “Staff also are working more as a team.”

The new system worked so well that their parent company, Vista Prairie Communities, has installed the Page 2 Talk system in seven of their communities. An eighth community has a full wireless nurse call system with two-way radios from Advanced Wireless Communications.

The radio equipment is easier to handle, as well.
“They are the perfect size for staff to carry and are not too heavy,” Wihlm said. “They are high quality and have held up remarkably well to the wear and tear we put them through on a daily basis.”

Also, overlapping frequencies with nearby radios is no longer an issue with FCC licensing.

“The channel privacy has also been a wonderful upgrade for us,” she said, saying their previous radios used to get interference from neighboring businesses. “We no longer have to worry about that.”

April 29, 2015 / sgroth28

Page 2 Talk How it Works

April 27, 2015 / sgroth28

Applebee’s improves guests’ experience, productivity and profitability with two-way radios.

Applebee's, Apple Valley, MN

There are more than 616,000 restaurants in the United States.

All of these businesses are competing for a share of the consumer’s out-of-home dining dollar. One of the ways a restaurant can be more competitive is by making their employees more productive and create a pleasant experience for their guests.

Well, that’s exactly what the Applebee’s restaurant in Apple Valley, Minnesota did with the help of Advanced Wireless Communications (AWC).

According to General Manager Tom Wroblewski, the two-way radios from AWC have helped them in so many ways.

“I don’t know what we did without radios before this, but I would not want to operate the restaurant without the use of radios,” said Wroblewski.

Applebee’s and Wroblewski reported many benefits, including:

● Labor efficiency improves because everybody can be where they are needed most, but can also be productive in other areas of the restaurant.

● One hostess can provide the all-important first impression while a second is seating guests or doing a clean-up project.

● Improved communication decreases customer complaints because problems are reported and solved more quickly.

● Improved customer service improves guest feedback, which improves customer loyalty.

● Table turnaround gets reported quickly so waiting guests can be seated more quickly.

● Instant communication allows team to prepare for large parties and rush situations.

● Radios provide improved safety and efficiency for ‘Carside To Go’ delivery staff members.

Applebee’s and Wroblewski also state that the two-way radio system has directly helped them improve their GEM customer service scores. GEM is Applebee’s Guest Experience Measurement tool and it’s used to judge customer satisfaction.

“Applebee’s stores that have a good radio system and use it well always tend to have higher GEM scores and be more profitable because their customers are more likely to be loyal,” Wroblewski said. “And customer loyalty generates repeat guests and drives traffic,” he added.

Wroblewski said Applebee’s stores that use radios also tend to communicate better and have improved efficiency in all aspects of their operation.

“You need to communicate efficiently with key people in order to operate at a fast clip and still provide great service,” Wroblewski said. “And our Advanced Wireless radios provide us with a tool to do that,” he added.

Advanced Wireless Communications works with a number of Applebee’s restaurants. The larger and busier restaurants utilize a 12-radio system, while the smaller ones a 6-radio system.

Waitress at Applebee's, TK-3230

The Kenwood TK-3230 two-way radios from AWC offer an incredible combination of power, size, and battery life. At around six inches tall (including the antenna) and a mere five and a half ounces, these radios are easy to handle. They provide 1.5 watts of output power, delivers excellent range and operates for up to 18 hours on a single charge.

Manager Tom Wroblewski reports that Applebee’s is very pleased with the value they receive from their two-way radio system along with the service he’s received from AWC. Service includes a needs analysis, ordering, programming and FCC licensing.

Wroblewski said, “Advanced has done a nice job taking care of our needs, providing new sets and repairs when needed and providing us with very fast turnaround.”

January 27, 2015 / sgroth28

Two-way Radio System Improves Communications and Environment

Estelline Nursing and Care Center

At Estelline Nursing and Care Center, Estelline, S.D., the care and comfort of its 60 residents is at the top of the priority list. Residents rely on staff for comfort and medical care, and the staff works to make the environment as calm and homelike as possible.

More than 4 years ago, the staff at the care center was using an overhead paging system that was loud, disruptive, and less effective than staff would like. It was at this time that Mike Ward, Estelline’s administrator, began investigating new ways that the staff could communicate with one another without
disrupting residents.


After working with Linda Pfaff, a local Advanced Wireless Communications (AWC) account manager, the administrator was introduced to two-way radios that would allow the center’s staff to communicate one-to-many. The portable radios offered a small, compact solution that staff members could easily carry with them. By adding an attachable ear-hook radio headset, staff communication became fast, efficient, and quiet.

MINI PRO two-way radios were purchased from AWC for use by Estelline’s 73 staff members. Each on-duty staff member carries a device with an attachable ear-hook headset.

The MINI PRO two-way radio is compact and lightweight at just 4 ounces and perfect for the staff members who are on the go. The MINI PRO includes a built-in LED flashlight for emergencies.

“The radios have saved 10,000 steps, improved safety for the residents and staff, quieted the environment, and increased communication between staff tenfold,” says Ward. “The headsets keep information confidential and have increased the timeliness to attend to residents’ needs.”

Advanced Wireless Communications is a leader in the design and integration of wireless communications solutions. The company focuses on providing reliable and cost effective on-site communications to retail, health care, education, and manufacturing companies throughout the U.S.

January 22, 2015 / sgroth28

Online Ordering, Pick Up at Store Solution

Shop from Home Call Box

Many restaurants, grocery stores and retail establishments have launched curbside pick-up – a convenient way for customers to shop by placing orders through the store’s website, then picking them up in a designated parking area.

Behind the scenes, at the store, delivering this convenient service can be labor intensive meaning that a team member usually has to serve as a look-out for guests who pull in to the designated parking stalls.

ShopRite, a large East Coast grocery chain, asked Advanced Wireless Communications (AWC) to come up with a solution that would assist them in knowing when guests pull in to ShopRite from Home stalls.

Advanced Wireless took ShopRite’s existing two-way radio system, paired with the Instant Assistant®, and expanded it to include wireless heavy duty, weatherproof two-way call boxes. These call boxes were installed at each stall. Now when a customer pulls in to one of the designated stalls they push a button on the call box which immediately connects them to a ShopRite from Home radio user. The customer and ShopRite team member can carry on a conversation. When finished, the call box times out and disconnects from the two-way radio system.

Using the Instant Assistant® they are able to pull reports telling them how many times the call boxes were activated, trends on when customers came to the store, timing on how quickly customers were served, and if there were any service failures.

This increases productivity of team members, freeing them up to work in other areas of the store and allowing for a quick, reliable response to guests who pull in to the ShopRite from Home stalls. The reports become a valuable tool in training ShopRite’s team and increases customers’ satisfaction with their service.

ShopRite from Home Call BoxV3

August 14, 2014 / sgroth28

Grocery Chain Reduces Risk from Spills

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When Brown’s Super Stores Inc. – a conglomerate of 10 ShopRite supermarkets in the Philadelphia region – needed to resolve how they handled spills in their stores, they contacted their Advanced Wireless Communications representative.

It was important to ShopRite management that they find a solution that would allow store employees to handle spills quickly and efficiently without having to leave the site of the spill to get assistance with clean-up. When Lou DeCenzi, ShopRite’s director of loss prevention, safety and POS operations, met with his Advanced Wireless representative, they discussed the possible solutions.

Until the meeting with the representative, the store’s employees would handle spills by posting a wet floor sign and leave the area of the spill to report it, or they would have to wait for a fellow employee to walk by to communicate information to management about the spill. This process was less than ideal as there were delays in reporting and, at times, spills were left unattended.

As a solution, the Advanced Wireless Communications representative recommended that the store’s management post four-button wireless transmitters in strategic areas in order to notify the clean-up crew of spills, maintaining the store’s control and safety. The Instant Assistant® system offers communication between a custom call box to a two-way radio, wireless phone, pager or public address system. The system can be custom-designed offering instant communication between strategically placed call boxes to the appropriate personnel. The system allows for immediate response times to potentially dangerous spills, reducing liability and creating a safer shopping environment for the store’s customers and employees. The system also provides up-to-the-minute activity and performance reports, allowing users to evaluate the system’s use and effectiveness.

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“We purchased a transmitter for each aisle of the store, two for the produce areas, two for the meat aisle and one for each department, including dairy, frozen, and the front of the store,” says DeCenzi. “The four-button transmitters allow our employees who discover a spill to remain in the area, preventing a potential slip or fall.”

Each button on the transmitter communicates a unique need: 1) wet spill, 2) dry spill, 3) manager, and 4) clear. Once installed, the wireless communications staff offered on-site training to 30 ShopRite associates as well as ongoing follow-up training.

“The transmitters have allowed us to cut our reaction time in half,” says DeCenzi. “We had a great experience working with Advanced Wireless Communications. The installation and the sales team stayed with the store until the employees were comfortable using the equipment. They also continuously checked in with the stores after the installation.”

ShopRite is now considering future purchases of similar devices for its Shop From Home Department.

August 14, 2014 / sgroth28

AWC Announces Retirement of CEO and New Partners


Advanced Wireless Communications (AWC) announces the retirement of Ben Coons, CEO, as of September 30, 2013, and that new partners have joined the company.

Ben Coons founded AWC in 1992, along with his son Ken Coons, who will continue as the company’s President and majority owner. “Ben enjoyed his tenure at AWC and is amazed that the company grew from a start-up to a multi-million dollar company,” says Ken Coons. “Ben has been instrumental in building the company from a small handful of customers to the thousands of locations and businesses who use our products today.”

The CEO’s departure opened the opportunity to take on new business owners and management team members. This new team comes from Rebound Enterprises LLC, Northfield, Minn., and the appointments include:

• Brett Reese has been named AWC’s Chairman of the board. He also serves as Rebound Enterprise’s Managing Principal and Chairman of the board, founding the investment and advisory company 25 years ago.

• Jon Bergquist has been named AWC’s Chief Operating Officer. Bergquist has 30 years experience in manufacturing, including engineering, sales, operations, quality, and finance.

• Bob Reese has been named AWC’s Chief Financial Officer. He has more than 29 years experience in public and private accounting.
In addition to these appointments, Rick Bowles has been named Vice President of Sales. As President Ken Coons will now focus more on product development and making strategic decisions to forward AWC’s mission.

“Rebound Enterprises and AWC are both businesses with strong Northfield connections,” says Jon Bergquist. “About two years ago, Ken Coons and Brett Reese had their first conversation regarding the potential of Rebound participating in some manner to coincide with Ben’s retirement. Rebound brings a broad base of successful sales and manufacturing experience to AWC as well as equity, working capital, and focus.”

The collaboration’s immediate agenda is to ramp up customer service initiatives, revamp some key products, and achieve higher levels of growth by adding two to four additional regional sales staff.

Advanced Wireless Communications is a leader in the design and integration of wireless communications solutions. The company focuses on providing reliable and cost effective on-site communications to retail, health care, education, and manufacturing companies throughout the U.S.

July 31, 2014 / sgroth28

Innovation Key to Wealshire of Bloomington

Wealshire of Bloomington 1

Wealshire of Bloomington, a dementia and Alzheimer’s care facility, was specially designed using an aging-in-place concept: its campus’ unique modular design is personalized by households, tailored to meet the needs of all four stages of dementia.

Known as the largest Alzheimer’s care facility of its kind in the country, Wealshire of Bloomington offers the latest innovations in enhanced care.

Technology by Advanced Wireless Communications has contributed toward their expert care. Wealshire recently added an AWC wireless nurse call system that was integrated into an existing system, AWC call boxes, and Kenwood ProTalk TK-3230 two-way radios.

“Our response time is much better, and it gives families satisfaction and reassurance their family member has a way of getting help if they need it,” said Arlyce Severson, director of operations and care at Wealshire of Bloomington.

“We can respond quickly and efficiently,” said Severson. “Overall these are better products for us, and it was pretty much a seamless transition. The staff likes it, and it’s easy to use.”

“For those that want to be independent, this system enables a sense of autonomy,” said Severson, speaking of the
residents in the early stages of Alzheimer’s that don’t need as much constant monitoring but can certainly call when needs arise.

Because there are different households at Wealshire, different channels have also been set up to alert just the staff needed for that area of the campus, eliminating mass communications when unnecessary and thus helping to keep labor costs under control. Staff can also communicate with each other through this technology if more assistance is required.

“It provides security for all involved – the resident, their family and our staff, knowing help can be reached at any given time,” added Severson.

As Wealshire continues to provide “residents the opportunity to live with pride and dignity and in a community of well-being,” innovations in technology are essential as with Advanced Wireless Communications, who is supporting them along the way.

March 11, 2014 / sgroth28

Preventing Pressure Sores using Technology

Nurse assisting patient

To avoid the risks of getting pressure sores, many skilled nursing facilities follow a defined procedure that calls for the “turning” of bed-ridden residents.

Skin disorders such as pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores) represent a serious risk to frail and bed–ridden residents. Pressure sores normally develop on the “bony prominences” of the body – like the heel or lower back. These sores occur because of pressure placed on the skin from bones for prolonged periods of time.

Pressure sores are categorized in four stages of severity from red painful areas to very deep open sores. Learn more about these stages at WebMD’s website.

To avoid these risks, many skilled nursing facilities follow a defined procedure that calls for the “turning” of bed-ridden residents at prescribed intervals, typically every two hours.

A skilled nursing facility can be hectic and distractions are often. Following a schedule on paper can easily be overlooked without a noticeable reminder.

We came up with a simple, cost-effective solution to remind nurses on duty to “turn” an at-risk resident after a customer came to us with a request for such a solution.  Our solution involves a Controlled Tone Generator. This is a small “black box” that connects to the audio input of the current public address system. It can be programmed to activate at precise time intervals, for example, every two hours. Upon activation, this device issues a simple audible tone across the public address system. You may also have the tone or a pre-recorded message play across two-way radios, pagers, and other output devices (requires additional hardware). Care givers will hear their reminder tone (a soft bell-like chime). This tone reminds them that it is time to turn at risk residents. This device can be programmed to accommodate up to three unique repeating time intervals each with a unique audible tone.

Learn more about this solution and our other offerings by giving us a call (800) 475-5852 or by visiting our website:

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