Listen Up: Smartphones and Assistive Listening
Smartphones are everywhere. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, eighty-one percent of Americans now own a smartphone. So, it’s no wonder why companies offering assistive listening products have taken advantage of the pervasiveness of mobile technology. The benefits to both users and venues are plentiful, eliminating the hassles of distributing and collecting equipment, as well as the maintenance required. And by simply downloading an app, users can easily access software that allows hearing-impaired patrons to quickly connect and engage.
Listen Technologies announced Listen EVERYWHERE earlier this year, which offers wireless audio streaming via iOS and Android smartphones and tablets by way of a free downloadable app. The company’s proprietary Listen Technologies hardware can be added to a venue’s existing wireless network and can reportedly accommodate thousands of users over fifty channels.
Listen EVERYWHERE is ideal for venues where ambient noise and distance can make it difficult for patrons to hear audio clearly. The product also can be used in combination with other ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) assistive listening systems.
The app can also be customized to promote a venue’s brand. Venues can upload ads, coupons and special promotions as well as links to menus, class notes, meeting agendas and other content. Custom labels and logos make it easy for users to find their preferred audio channels.
Making it’s North American debut at Infocomm 2018, Barix’s Audiopoint 3.0 is a lower-latency, personal audio delivery system that streams to mobile phones in volume-sensitive environments. Audiopoint 3.0 supports two channels of audio streaming for up to 250 simultaneous mobile listeners in each fully integrated hardware device. Combining their cost-effective new hardware with the free, downloadable iOS and Android apps, version 3.0 of AudioPoint accelerates signal processing for robust stream reliability while reducing the latency to tighten lip sync resulting in a better user experience.
Source audio—whether associated with video content, or a microphone feed in a live scenario—is fed to the audio input of the AudioPoint 3.0 hardware, which encodes it in real time for streaming. Visitors connect their mobile devices to a Wi-Fi access point on the same network as the AudioPoint unit, and the Barix Audio Signage app immediately enables the live stream. Consumers can select between available audio channels in the app, letting them choose between languages or switch to the soundtrack of another nearby local display screen.
Williams Sound has recently announced WaveCAST Dante—a Wi-Fi-delivered assistive listening systems with Dante control that is utilized via a free mobile app. Built on a hardware-based DSP audio system architecture, WaveCAST allows system optimization for the particular audio stream being delivered. Hearing assistance can be optimized for hearing loss, music can be optimized for high-fidelity playback, and voice can be set for maximum speech intelligibility. Custom pre-sets can also be established for specific performance applications.
Up to four WaveCAST systems can be connected to the same Wi-Fi network to provide multiple listening channels—supporting 45 users in unicast mode or 1500 or more users in multicast mode. Based on the Audinate UXT Ultimo chipset, the WaveCAST supports both AES67 and SMPTE 2110, which WaveCAST Dante to be controlled by the Dante Controller—Audinate’s software for setting up and managing audio routing of Dante-enabled products on an audio network. A non-Dante version of WaveCAST is also available.
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