Audio technology is undergoing a dramatic change. Just as CCTV cameras shifted from analogue to digital more than 20 years ago, audio is currently going through the same process. Today’s IP audio systems are capable of a huge variety of tasks, from background music and live announcements to enhancing security messaging. As a result, there has already been a boom in interest from early adopters who’ve grasped the benefits it offers.
What is IP audio?
IP audio works by converting analogue audio to a digital signal, and transferring this digital signal over the network to a compatible IP speaker. Similar to an IP video camera, the network speaker can be described as a speaker and network device combined in one. This turns each speaker into a complete audio system with features including talk-through, speech and music broadcast and sound alerts.
Furthermore, IP audio devices need only one cable for connectivity, power and communication making them incredibly simple to install. Plus, as some are based on open standards, they can be easily integrated with other systems.
Once installed, devices are simple to manage. A speaker can be monitored remotely, reducing the need to send out technicians for on-site checks. And for management of the system, IP capabilities allow for updates to take place from a centrally managed hub. Axis network speakers can, for example, be integrated with most VMS and can also be managed en-masse with Axis Device Manager from the central hub.
IP audio can greatly impact a wide range of sectors, from retail and education through to healthcare and business. Just some of the advantages include greater flexibility, improved security and a much lower cost of ownership compared with analogue systems.
If you run a PA system for announcements, radio or music streaming and a separate security system, merging the two can be very cost-effective and commercially beneficial, and with audio bridge capability, you can retain your old speakers, further lowering the cost of merging the systems.
Utilising IP audio effectively
IP audio can be used across a wide range of applications. On the security front, it can help deter crime by delivering an audio warning to an intruder. The broadcast of an audio message can be automatically activated via integration with an intrusion detection system, video motion detection or even our security partner Axis’ new network radar system, useful for perimeter applications. Such use of IP audio has been proven to reduce instances of crime. In addition, a security operator can click a button and talk through a speaker to deter an intruder in real-time and fully in context, where a predefined audio message may not be suitable.
A popular application is also audio streaming. This can be helpful to create a specific ambience in offices and shops, but also in environments like residential care homes and theme parks. Music can then be changed in real-time, depending on who is in a retail store, for example.
Using IP audio for live and scheduled announcements is another common use. This can help customer management as closing times approach, requesting someone make their way to reception or customer services, or to share specific sales messages throughout the week. IP audio is also useful for schools. For example, when integrated with a video surveillance system, it can be used to both monitor and inform students when on site.
Thanks to the intelligence of IP audio, the latest smart zoning technology allows users to send announcements or stream music to specific speakers, meaning the right messages or music can be streamed to set areas of your business or property.
Are you ready to invest?
IP audio has a huge range of applications, which expand even further when integrated with IP cameras and access control systems. It’s clear to see the benefits it can offer a wide range of industries from helping improve sales, customer, staff and patient experiences, through to keeping sites secure and even deterring crime. Why not get in touch to see how your company could benefit?Read more about network-based audio