Joe MartinezVice President
Joe MartinezVice President
One of the biggest challenges in the audio equipment arena today is creating classroom audio solutions that can integrate hybrid learning with in-classroom and still work to meet life safety NFPA72 regulations and ADA compliance.
One of the biggest challenges in the audio equipment arena today is creating classroom audio solutions that can integrate hybrid learning with in-classroom and still work to meet life safety NFPA72 regulations and ADA compliance. How can teachers talk and present to the students in the classroom and remote students without being shackled to the monitor while maintaining the need to hear pages and emergency mass notifications if and when the need occurs?
California-based OWI developed a wireless microphone system that allows the instructor to teach by moving throughout the room and using the whiteboard instead of only sitting in front of their computers to speak to everyone both at home and within the room. OWI’s solution allows the students at home to ask a question and the teacher and all of the students to hear the question, reply, or answer anywhere within the room.
The CRS301-P Wireless Microphone System enhances the audio in the classroom with 2-4 speakers in the ceiling depending on the size of the room. There are plenty of ways to incorporate everything the teacher says in the microphone, plays on their computer, or watches on the flat panel or projector to be heard by everyone in the classroom and at home with the seven inputs. Plus, all of the questions from the students at home can be heard by all of the students both on the remote system and in the classroom. In addition, when it is connected to the OWI CRS301P, the emergency override feature allows for muting or audio ducking when and if an emergency arises, and notification needs to take priority over classroom audio. The CRS301-P is capable of all of this and is cost effective for schools to achieve this with the lower budgets they are currently facing compared to many competitive systems.
The company’s CRS301-P product is a revolutionary approach in the audio equipment arena. “Our Infrared (IR) wireless mic system is useful in schools because Infrared solutions are less expensive and not prone to interference like UHF/RF wireless mic solutions which will require mapping out the frequencies to prevent overlap crosstalk and overall interference once you exceed 12 classrooms,” explains Joe.
“We use our same modular amplifier the AMP-HD and one of our MC4 mini mixers in the CRS301-P which provides several inputs and outputs to integrate the mics, devices and program materials back into the laptop/computer so the teacher can speak in a normal tone of voice to the students in class as well as the remote students.” The result is that teachers have less fatigue, and do not have to repeat themselves.
The creative force behind most innovations is Joe Martinez, the Vice President of OWI, whose biggest quality is that he listens. He listens to the consultants, his customers, review the latest laws and regulations and then takes action. In an instance, OWI built amplifiers that could easily integrate with life safety and paging to meet NFPA72 standards and national safety and emergency codes and standards. OWI also built a line to integrate those systems with assisted listening to make it quick and easy to add those devices when needed. Most importantly the hearing impaired can hear the emergency mass notification when required.
OWI has taken a different approach to pendant speakers by making wide dispersion models to cover larger areas than traditional models. Customers can use fewer speakers to cover large areas, like retail space, restaurants, banquet rooms, casino floors, hotel lobbies, school gyms, and multipurpose rooms, and more. “Taking from this Pendant idea Joe created a surface mount speaker that was designed to give the same features as the hanging pendant for low ceilings where a pendant could not be hung but achieve the same wide dispersion pattern to give the maximum coverage for commercial establishments. The Neptune can be mounted on the ceiling, a wall, a beam, a gang box, a pole or even a tree,” adds Pierre Louis, Regional Manager of OWI.
In a recent case study a school district in Phoenix, Arizona, was having issues with enhancing audio in the classroom and wanted a more permanent, standardized solution than what they were using, either the speaker onboard the projector or a desktop speaker point towards the class. They were using four in-ceiling speaker installs for a while, but the cost for the speakers and their installation got to be too expensive, so they dropped it to one speaker. Unfortunately, that led them to discover that a single speaker was not enough to properly cover all aspects of the room, leaving some students being blown out with sound and others unable to hear anything. We did a pilot of the Neptune speaker from OWI in the science wing of their brand new High School in 2019 (West Point High), where the rooms were rather large with open grid ceilings, and the results were incredible. Teachers were exceptionally pleased with the sound, so OWI began to install them in individual classrooms, and now the district has decided to do a complete districtwide refresh with interactive flat panels; they felt it was time to standardize the classroom audio enhancement and were so pleased with the feedback from the staff that they decided to include the Neptune in their refresh. This product helped solve many problems for the district, namely increasing the quality of audio in the classroom while decreasing the total out-of-cost expense.
OWI is currently working on a new wireless miniature amplifier for home and small businesses. This will be able to take audio signals from all of their devices, be it a computer or a cellphone, and transmit it to the amplifier wirelessly to one or all of the amplifiers you want the audio to transmit. “It will allow immediate expansion of audio without wires and will be a modular device that can be placed into or onto any of the OWI Speakers,” adds Joe.