IP Comes to Intercom & Speaker Systems
There are two major trends that I have been following that will have dramatic effects on our industry.
The first is the explosive growth of do-it-yourself (DIY) alarm and video surveillance systems and the great numbers of potential alarm company clients who are taking the double-sided tape path to their “security” systems. The
lower-end residential and commercial security, surveillance and monitoring markets will evaporate in the next few years and companies who rely on these accounts for RMR will feel the sting. And while we don’t like this development, there’s nothing to stop it. The blacksmith cursed them when the first Model Ts rolled down the street in the beginning of the 20th century. Where is the blacksmith now?
The second trend is a potentially huge market opportunity for installers who are all in on IP-enabled devices, using clients’ existing network infrastructure to attach IP cameras, access control and related technologies. When connected to the Internet, such IP-based systems offer new services to customers.
One type of technology that has recently “gone IP” is the intercom/public-address speaker system. Many retail, educational, institutional and industrial buildings have existing analog speaker systems. The new breed of IP speakers and technology can do so much more for our customers, and we can install them using the same wiring that now supports their old-school analog sound system.
For example, Axis Communications offers end-to-end IP speakers, control consoles with a microphone for live voice delivery, built-in audio server software, and an analog-IP bridge module that allows use of existing audio speakers/system while added IP speakers can provide enhanced capabilities only available through IP devices and software.
Each speaker includes its own amplifier, software, and controls and can be programmed as stand-alone speakers or set to deliver sound, music or audio messages through other Axis IP speakers that are programmed to follow a “leader” speaker. Unique messaging can be recorded on SD cards and played on schedule or on demand.
Using the AXIS 2N SIP microphone/control, console speakers can be grouped for joint simultaneous music, audio or voice messaging with simple client controls. The AXIS C8033 Network Audio Bridge will join existing analog audio systems with the Axis IP system to utilize existing speakers, cabling and hardware.
I recommend you watch the videos on the axis.com webpage to see options that are available with Axis IP audio. The open-source system can be mated to most VoIP telephone networks and other IP audio sources, such as streaming services. These videos can be shown to customers to give them ideas of what an IP audio system can do.
When changing out existing analog speakers, IP and PoE will need to be delivered to the new IP speaker(s). Nitek provides “Etherstretch” media adapter technology that will deliver 10/100 Mbps Ethernet and PoE power over any two wires that conduct electricity, including old speaker wires, obsolete telephone cabling, etc.Visit my You Tube channel at Slayton Solutions and view the “Nitek 1551 Video” to see this technology in action. Nitek has single-channel systems and also makes 8- and 16-input receivers to save time and money when installing a number of retrofit IP speakers.
Axis also is producing the AXIS Audio Manager C7050 server, which will allow the complete control of IP audio feeds to multiple locations at the same time across the Internet. So stores in a retail chain can broadcast the same sales messages or announcements simultaneously.
This is a new market to develop and profit from. Get yourself an Axis IP speaker and a Nitek two-wire IP/PoE transceiver set and see for yourself.