Listen to this: Exploring how network audio adds value to different use cases

As humans, our connection to the world around us is based on our senses. Only with the help of sight, hearing, touch and smell are we able to interact with our surroundings, navigate and stay safe and secure.

We have started to replicate the capabilities of these senses through technology, in the form of surveillance systems: video surveillance cameras being sight, with microphones and audio-in the hearing.

What also adds value is the ability to communicate verbally based on what we’ve seen and heard.  In the world of surveillance technology, network audio speakers provide this channel.

The human voice is particularly crucial when we’re in danger or facing threats as it allows us to send out a warning to those around us, or direct them to safety. Network audio can also play that role.

But audio isn’t only valuable in enhancing safety and security. It can also support operational efficiency across various industry sectors. Network audio can be used creatively in a variety of different ways, such as to create an atmosphere using background music or share marketing messaging.

How network audio elevates security

Installing network speakers and other audio technology helps reactive surveillance become a proactive tool in crime deterrence and security.

Once a camera spots an undesirable activity – be that trespassing, vandalism or parking violations etc. – a voice message (live or pre-recorded) can be played to allow an intervention in real time. This fast response possibility can help to stop illegal activities completely or before severe damage is done and is one of the main use cases for audio in a security context

Reducing the number of incidents can mean less downtime for a business, prevention of theft, fewer man hours required to fix damage and vandalism and, potentially, reduce insurance costs and more.

An extra security layer for the Chester Zoo

In order to optimize its security and to be able to respond faster to threats – for animals, staff and visitors – Chester Zoo in the UK decided to upgrade its surveillance solution. The establishment installed over 300 network cameras combined with numerous horn speakers, particularly in the entrance and parking area. Based on surveillance camera footage, it was possible to provide real time communication with visitors through live and recorded audio messages; guiding them towards the entrance, and deterring any potential wrong-doing such as potential danger to visitors or property theft. In combination with cameras, it also helped the zoo’s security team to spot and act on security threats faster than before, tightening perimeter security, optimizing retail operations and preventing losses at the zoo’s many eateries and souvenir shops.

Safe and Sound

Apart from the level of security that can be improved by playing the right sounds and messages, audio solutions can also contribute to the safety of the individuals in a location. Being able to speak to people to protect them can be an even more effective option than putting up signs with warnings or other visual factors.

Messages played via network audio speakers can not only communicate with large numbers of people simultaneously, for example in case of an emergency, but also provide useful safety information. For instance, it could play reminders of social distancing rules during the recent pandemic or assisting with crowd management.

Fighting natural forces and crime with audio

In the Valparaiso region in Chile, where earthquakes and natural disasters are relatively common, the City of Concón discovered the true benefit of installing horn speakers. Following an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.4 and subsequent tsunami which caused significant damage to cities on the Chilean coast, authorities pledged to install an advanced surveillance system at strategically chosen locations. The combination of cameras and network speakers enabled a better communication between public authorities and the residents and increased the level of safety for citizens and tourists.

In the case of extreme weather, operators can provide safety instructions and information via the speakers along the coastal walk. These messages can be played manually or automatically in response to a pre-set event alarm. In addition, the City of Concón uses the cameras to detect and prevent crimes in these areas and safeguard residents by alerting them via the speaker system. The cameras help with the detection of (potential) crimes and the footage can be used in court to identify suspects.

Binghamton University – Safe education with network speakers

The Binghamton University in the U.S. wasn’t fighting natural catastrophes but was in need of an advanced security system for its campus which had grown significantly to around 120 buildings.

Adding speakers throughout the campus allows the university to communicate with students, as well as directly address those intent on crime or antisocial behavior. By connecting the new speakers to the emergency notification system, it is also possible to quickly evacuate the whole campus thanks to being integrated into a mass communication system. The solution also provides the flexibility to broadcast announcements in specific zones, providing students with location-relevant information.

Improving operational efficiency through network audio

In addition to safety and security, network audio can also contribute to increasing operational efficiency and commercial performance in various sectors, and retail is a great example.

In-store advertisements and news about special offers in shops and atmospheric background music have been shown to be effective in improving sales and the customer experience, while directing employees quickly to certain areas of the store can support customer service. The options are endless and – most importantly – not limited to the size or numbers of areas that need to be targeted, thanks to zoning features.

The retail supply chain can also benefit from the use of network audio, in the context of safety, or for the prevention of crime.

Pump up the jam

The case of the Asian gym chain U Time Fitness demonstrates the flexibility of network audio speakers. The solution implemented at U Time Fitness allows personal trainers in different zones to play their own playlists during their classes – from yoga to boxing. This is possible thanks to the zoning audio system which lets the operator pre-define which music or message is being played in which area of the gym. Good music means happy (and fit) customers.

Safety, security and songs – the holy trinity

Network audio is a versatile technology, that can deliver many benefits. As shown in the use cases above, audio speakers can not only prevent crime, they can keep people safe in multiple environments and help to optimize customer experience and efficiency. Plus, they’re easy to install, cost-effective and highly flexible.

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