A bridge between traditional and new technology: Easy migration to network audio

May 14, 2019
Today’s fast evolving technology often means systems are out-of-date the moment they’re installed. To be at the cutting edge, customers need to update their systems or even purchase new hardware devices. In this article we look at how to get benefits of network audio without having to rip and replace your current system.

When it comes to major systems, such as commercial audio solutions, companies often invest a substantial sum in equipment and installation. Therefore, they won’t be able to buy a new system every few years, but they still want efficiency gains from new developed technologies as well as the benefits you get when integrating with other systems. Examples of such an integration could be combining audio with your security, access control or a phone system. But no need to worry, it is possible to keep much of the existing audio solutions and still get benefits of network audio. In fact, the audio products from Axis, AXIS C8033 Network Audio Bridge and AXIS C8210 Network Audio Amplifier, have the purpose to provide a smooth migration from analog to network audio. Smart, easy and unified are the keywords for these solutions.  

People often don’t realize it, but audio systems are everywhere: When customers walk through a supermarket they are usually accompanied by soft background music and occasional announcements about the latest products. In schools, the principals can pass on information to the pupils and teachers about the next assembly or other events. Audio systems are a great way to, for instance, increase your sales, raise awareness, send information and keep your premises safe. But with changing technology - especially analog systems - become obsolete more quickly. Not every organization has the monetary possibility and resources to regularly invest in new systems, but with Axis products for easy migration from analog to network audio systems customers have a way to enjoy benefits of network audio and still keep the legacy of their investment. Benefits of network audio could be zone management for announcements (live, scheduled, or triggered) and background music. And with network audio it is easy to build a scalable and flexible solution with central control as well as integrating it with other systems such as VoIP or network cameras.

The benefit of intelligent audio using analog system

The network audio bridge from Axis is a combined audio encoder and decoder. With this product you can connect an analog source, such as a microphone or an emergency button to a digital system. Another option is to connect a digital source such as a web radio to an analog system.

Axis audio amplifier is an edge device, transforming any passive speaker into a network speaker.  Depending on the sound pressure level needed you can drive up to eight passive speakers from the audio amplifier. For example, in a school that has between two and four existing passive speakers in each classroom, the audio amplifier can be put in the ceiling of the room and drive all these speakers as one zone in the system. Both these products, like all Axis network speakers, includes the AXIS Audio Player for functionalities like uploading MP3 files, creating playlists or schedule announcements. Another feature the audio products use is PoE – which means only one ethernet cable for both power and connectivity is needed. They also have an SD-card slot for extended storage of, for example, music playlists.

We have long been looking for a network attached streamer  that could meet our requirements regarding flexible software and central management.

Regarding the growing importance for firms to increase their sustainability, both the audio amplifier and the audio bridge are quite useful as they help to make a smooth transition to network audio without having to sacrifice the investment made for the existing audio hardware.

The Swedish retail store chain Kjell & Company faced this exact problem: The store had an analog system connected to an in-store PC which streamed internal web radio. In order to gain greater control of the streaming and to guarantee consistent delivery of audio in the stores the decision was made to move to a system with network connected devices and central management.

“Investing in a completely new audio system was not really an option and we have long been looking for a network attached streamer  that could meet our requirements regarding flexible software and central management. The audio bridge from Axis is great as it allows us to manage all streamers from one interface and stream audio consistently across all our stores“ said Erik Ljungdahl, IT-Manager at Kjell & Company.

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