Audio Message Playout
Stored Audio Message Playout / Playback
Pre-recorded audio message playout / playback is an audio application used regularly across many commercial, industrial, government, sports, leisure and Education settings:
Timer controlled or integrated with time and attendance systems. Schools often use audio message playout for their School 'Bells' and Class Change. Production, Factory and Industrial settings use audio message playout integrated with timer controls or use time and attendance systems to control work flow process and to co-ordinate Break Times and Shift Changes. Retail settings regularly use audio message playout for marketing and advertisement announcements.
How does Audio Message Playout Work?
Audio message files, clips and music (typically MP3 or WAV audio format) are stored on a dedicated, audio player device. In most commercial and industry settings, the audio player will typically connect to an audio broadcast system (Public Address - PA or 'Tannoy'). A 'trigger' event initiates playback, audio is then routed, amplified and sent for playout through loud speakers - this may be to all speakers or targeted to zone/s of speakers.
Audio Message Files - Creation, Storage and Format
- Creation: There are a number of options to create audio and audio message files. Professional studio recording is one option. However, many clients / users have success with recording their own files using a phone, a basic 'Windows' audio recorder with PC mic or free to use audio recording software. Free and paid for Natural 'Text To Speach' TTS compilers also exist, with some excellent results.
- Storage: Audio message files are stored within the audio player device. Traditional audio players typically use an SD card or USB drive for storage - audio is generally loaded using a PC and the storage device then inserted to the audio player device. IP audio players also use removable storage. However, as they are connected to the LAN, users can use a browser to simply 'drag & drop' audio message files to the IP audio player device.
- Format: The audio file format is generally either WAV or MP3.
Playout - Trigger / Playback Options
Audio playback is initiated using an event 'trigger'. A simple timer connected to a traditional audio player is a proven successful option. An IP audio player can also use an NTP timer to create schedule/s for playback (eg. factory shift change or school class change).
- Timer: Manual or programmable timer
- Switch or Button: Wide use and application, eg. to initiate lockdown or to call for help / support
- PIR or other detector: eg. security playout
- BMS System: To playout warnings or status updates
- Alarm Interfrace: To playout important security or saftey announcements
- Scheduler: (IP Audio Player) to schedule playout. Eg. in a retail store for marketing, advertisements
Audio Message Playout: Example Client Projects
(Garden Centre and Hospitality)
- Integrated IP Audio Message Player
- Secure browser GUI
- 'Covid-19' Social Distancing Playback
- Marketing and Advertisement Playout
Outline: Large garden centre site including retail, cafe, restaurant and external/gardens. As part of brand and marketing improvements, our customer required an audio announcement and playout system. Stored announcements are used to provide customer information and marketing / advertisements. June 2020, scheduled Covid-19 social distancing audio message playout.
Solution: An IP Audio Message Player sits at the centre of this project design. Users access and control message storage via browser and simple drag/drop uploading of audio files. Sheduling of audio message playout is performed to trigger playback throughout the working day/s.
(Food Factory / Production)
- Traditional Audio Message Player
- Timer Control (programmable)
- Break and Shift Change Playout
Outline: Food production sites in Corby and Newcastle. Our customer required an audio system to playout multiple audio applications (PA, Radio and Audio Message Files).
Solution: A traditional audio player and was installed, our customer created / stored their required audio files. A traditional display based programmable timer was installed for the customer to control and trigger playback times throughout the day.
(Central London Hotel)
- Intergrated IP Audio Message Player
- Secure browser GUI
- 'Lockdown' Audio Message/s Playout
- Security and Fire Alarm Co-ordination
Outline: Situated on London's south bank, Sea Containers (a 15 floor hotel in central London) required an audio playout solution to co-ordinate staff and guests during routine events such as fire alarm testing and non-routine / incident events such as lockdown and security related issues.
Solution: Manual wall buttons and similar activation trigger methods were initally discussed. However, to provide access and location independence and flexibility, an IP audio message player was specified and installed. Abletek customised the design and audio playback options for the hotel to enable simple user access from any PC / network connected device. For example, the hotel fire alarm testing is routinely conducted using a tablet or iPhone to help inform and co-ordinate staff and visiting guests.