Commercial Audio Applications
The following are examples of commercial audio applications commonly installed and in use throughout the UK.
Note: There are generally clear market distinctions for standard commercial audio applications. However, we increasingly seeing demand for multi-market applications, eg. a Voice Alarm (VA) based technology application installed within a retail shopping centre, also providing Background Music (BGM) and general 'Tannoy' announcement applications.
Public Address (PA), Tannoy
The most widely implemented commercial audio technology application, Traditional Public Address (PA) or 'Tannoy' systems can be found in every conceivable commercial location and setting. Typically used for making staff and/or public announcements, many of these systems have stood the test of time. We have seen examples of systems and speakers still performing perfectly well after 30 years.
The general technology, design and products used in traditional PA / 'Tannoy' systems remains based around three main components: Microphones for providing the announcement 'input', Amplifiers for providing the basis for system 'power' and Speakers which are output devices, obviously used to broadcast the audio / announcement.
- Where used / installed? EVERYWHERE!
- Typical application example: Calling for staff, Notification, Events, Issues
- Typical product components: Traditional and/or IP Audio, Mixer, Amplifiers and Microphones
- Enhanced component / application: Simple Single-zone or Multi-zone to Target Audio
Lockdown, Mass Notification
Rapid and effective communication, combined with clear and robust lockdown / mass notification policies and procedures help to ensure swift action is taken to mitigate and minimise risk or harm. Working to government guidelines and UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) Guidance Note 1/2015, Abletek provides school lockdown solution design and installation services to schools and the wider education sector.
- Where used / installed? Schools, Retail, Businesses, Hospitality and Local Authorities
- Typical application example: Lockdown, Major Incident or Issue, Intruder, Loose Dog/Animal, Emergency Notification
- Typical product components: Traditional and/or IP Audio Design Solution
- Enhanced component / application: Multi-zone, Button and Trigger options of Lockdown Audio File Playback
Commercial IP Audio (AoIP)
Widely available now in most commercial settings, IP based networks can now provide the transport interconnectivity basis for IP audio technology applications. Replacing restrictive dedicated wiring, but not without it's own considerations and challenges, IP PA / IP 'Tannoy' can enable commercial audio design and configurations which cannot be provided by traditionally 'wired' solution applications.
- Where used / installed? New projects and integrated existing. Distributed, multi-site, multi-building, even multi-country organisations
- Typical application example: As traditional audio applications. Streaming IP audio and music / radio. Integrated BMS audio
- Typical product components: IP audio interfaces, IP decoders, zone controllers, IP speakers, software / GUI design and control
- Enhanced component / application: Software based Multi-zone, Background Music (BGM), Streaming audio/music/radio
Background Music (BGM)
Many commercial settings use a Background (BGM) audio technology system for broadcast of music and/or radio. Some applications employ BGM to create or enhance ambience (eg. retail improved shopper experiences), others to add or enhance working conditions (eg. production, factories).
- Where used / installed? Everywhere, typically - retail, hospitality, factories, sports and events
- Typical application example: Shop, Restaurant, Factory - Music / Radio.
- Typical product components: Mixer / Amplifiers, Music Source, Tuners, Music / full frequency range Speakers
- Enhanced component / application: Multi-zone, Multi-source music (eg. different music / radio to different areas or rooms)
Voice Alarm (VA)
Voice Alarm (VA) technology provides integrated audio design with alarm and evacuation systems. Voice based informational and instructional announcements used to communicate alarms and evacuations has been proven successfully against simple alarm bells and tones - essentially providing meaningful evacuation instructions and reducing evacuation times.
Voice Alarm applications must be installed to meet guidelines, codes or practice and regulations, covered in the UK under BS5839 and the emerging European harmonisation directive EN54.
- Where used / installed? Typically, public settings - eg. retail, stations, event venues, sports & entertainment
- Typical application example: Large Retail Park - Recorded Voice Announcements for Alarm and EVAC messages / instructions
- Typical product components: Mixer / Amplifiers, Routing Matrix, Zone Controllers, Redundancy Backup, Monitoring, UPS / Power Supplies, Compliant Speakers, Fireman's Microphone
- Enhanced component / application: Can be used as a general PA / 'Tannoy' / BGM application
Commercial audio technologies, products and applications to enable assisted hearing and listening audio solutions. Options to provide as integrated, independently or mobile to primary setting Public Address (PA) / 'Tannoy' system.
Audio Frequency Induction Loop (AFIL's) and Infra-red transmitter / receiver systems are used to transmit audio that can used with most standard hearing aids fitted with a Telecoil / 'T' switch or by using separate headset / neck receivers.
- Where used / installed? Everywhere, typically, public and local authority settings
- Typical application example: Lecture Theatre - AFIL's, IR / Infra-red, mobile / portable
- Typical product components: AFIL's 'loop' and controller, IR transmitter / receivers / head and neck sets, portable loop units
- Enhanced component / application: n/a
Small meetings to large scale public events. Enable interactive event discussions and communications. Wired and wireless, delegates and conference managers can interact and communicate collectively through well planned and well designed PA and 'Sound Reinforcement' solutions.
Typical installation technologies & products: Fixed or portable (WiFi, Radio Frequency or Infrared based communications). Central control unit (PC/software solution possible), Chairman and scalable Delegate units for control and speaker / monitor functions. Considered hearing impaired person(s) - Induction Loop (AFILS) and/or Infra-red (IR).
Intercom systems are generally used where commercial audio applications are required between certain points. Most often required for voice communication, the design and extent of installation could be large (across a building or site), small in the form of a basic access intercom or a simple speech transfer system (eg. at the bank or ticket counter).
As Public Address (PA) / 'Tannoy' and BGM applications, Intercom systems and supporting technologies can be designed and installed traditionally with cables or now available through an IP based network, as IP-Intercom.
- Where used / installed? Everywhere, typically, point to point / many points direct communication
- Typical application example: Factory - production line communication
- Typical product components: Microphone / speaker base points, switch and relay control
- Enhanced component / application: additional speaker capability to provide local broadcast - eg. to multiple operators on a production line