Bosch Building Technologies has installed a digital public address and voice alarm system at Telford Shopping Centre in the United Kingdom. On 25 acres of commercial space, the IP-based Praesensa system from Bosch now provides music, announcements, and emergency alerts for retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and a cinema. The shopping mall operator was looking to upgrade the existing public address system with an IP-networked solution for retail environments with two key requirements: heightening the center’s sustainability and energy efficiency while keeping costs for the upgrade low.

Bosch partner North AVS refurbished all existing loudspeakers installed at Telford Centre across 16 zones via minor modifications on the end lines. As a result, system integrators merely needed to replace the obsolete control equipment — including a call station with analog buttons — and amplifiers. Since the cost-effective upgrade, security staff at Telford Shopping Centre now control the public address system via an intuitive touch screen interface. 

Managed via OMNEO media networking technology, the software-based system combines live broadcasts and recordings from various media sources. The library includes background music in MP3 format, commercials from a message database, plus end-of-day mall closing messages on automated schedules. Automation also kicks in during an emergency. For instance, in case of a fire, targeted to specific zones on the property, the public address system integrates with the fire alarm system to play pre-recorded alerts and evacuation messages. Leaving full control to security, personnel can send live voice messages and manually trigger the evacuation protocol as needed at any time.

As the latest in a long line of public address systems, Praesensa achieves a low energy footprint via smart power partitioning across amplifier channels. The software adapts intelligently to loudspeaker loads and divides the available output power across all channels to a maximum of 600 watts. This built-in function lowers overall power usage over the system’s lifetime, especially in the idle state. Requiring less battery standby, the system can run on only two batteries that need changing every four years, according to British standards. 

Also contributing to the system’s low energy footprint is the minimized form factor: While the legacy system occupied two rack spaces in the server room, the new solution cuts the size in half. This is achieved by integrated standby amplifiers that reduce the cost, especially for cooling, and space of the rack housing. This also provides an effective redundancy measure. Praesensa also delivers automated fault notification to the control desk within 100 seconds, thereby meeting EN54-16 standards for public address systems.

The system also meets the latest data protection guidelines as a fully secure IP solution. All control equipment is connected via secure IP out of the box. Safeguards include encryption and authentication for complete protection against eavesdropping and hacking.

“We were very pleased with the installation of the equipment by North which caused minimal disruption and they also managed to keep us operational whilst the Shopping center was open,” said Chris Titley, facilities manager, Savills. “We are extremely happy with the quality and operation of the new Bosch equipment and the team are finding the system easy to use. It´s of paramount importance to have a reliable system and this is definitely ticking all the boxes.”