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FEATURE: INTERCOMS AND PAGING


Game Creek Video deployed RTS matrix intercom products utilising the OMNEO IP media networking architecture to provide the key cross-river link in a vast multi-venue comms system at this year’s Super Bowl


Turning the page


What effect will the predicted rise of the all-encompassing media solution have on traditional intercoms and paging systems? Will they remain in standalone form or be incorporated into (increasingly) complex systems? David Davies peers into the future…


IN THIS integrated audio world, the notion of standalone systems capable of handling one primary function is increasingly the subject of scrutiny. For reasons of flexibility and cost-efficiency, multipurpose solutions that can deliver sophisticated processing, paging and voice evacuation across different zones are increasingly de rigueur. For small installations that


require only basic intercom and paging functionality, the likelihood is that the more complex systems will remain off-limits for some time to come on grounds of price if nothing else. But in


26 May 2014


medium to large sites whose usage patterns are likely to evolve significantly over time, the powerful spec of broadly based media systems is already proving highly attractive. From Riedel’s Artist digital matrix system to Biamp’s Vocia DSP platform, the number of all-encompassing media solutions continues to grow. With this changing product landscape as background, Installation decided to pose a few crucial questions about how these systems are likely to alter the function of intercoms and paging in the built environment.


ADVANTAGES First, what are the primary advantages of an all- encompassing media system? System design is an intrinsically personal affair, and for various reasons – not least of simplicity and end- user expertise level – some consultants will probably always prefer a ‘separates’ philosophy. As Riedel product manager Christian Diehl remarks: “Every engineer will have their own set of preferences for how and what to combine on a given infrastructure.” Regulatory and standards issues can also help determine the use of


separate systems (more of which anon). But for those who feel comfortable deploying them, combined solutions can first and foremost help negate potentially tricky issues of interoperability. Barix product manager


David Gostick points to a common example. “Interoperability is key – for example, when making an important in-store announcement, it is critical that the in-store radio is automatically muted. It makes no sense for the user to have two distinct systems in such a case,” he says. Biamp Systems’ EVP of


[KEY POINTS]


The past five years have been characterised by the emergence of multipurpose media systems that can deliver sophisticated DSP and routing alongside more standard paging and intercom capability


Regulatory factors are leading to a preference for separate systems by some consultants, who may also favour their simplicity and ease of operation for (potentially unskilled) end-users


The migration towards IP-based operation is expected to further accelerate the merger of paging and intercom functionality into larger combined systems


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