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InfoComm 2016: And the Winner IS…

Drumroll Please…. Listen Technologies!

 

We have had an exciting week at InfoComm 2016.  Listen Technologies is proud to have received not one, but TWO awards at this year’s show.

The first comes from our valued partner in distributing, Herman Pro AV who honored us with their “Vendor of the Year” award.  Looking forward to many more great things to come with Herman Pro AV!

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Listen’s Maile Keone, Chief Revenue Officer and Peter Papageorge, Vice President of Sales and Marketing accept the “Vendor of the Year ” award from Herman Pro AV.

 

ListenTechnologies is also thrilled to be voted rAVe Publications Reader’s Choice for “Favorite Assistive Listening Product”. Nominated and voted upon by the AV community itself, the rAVe Reader’s Choice Awards are the voice of the people in the know-and they LOVE Listen Technologies!

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Tracy Bathhurst, Listen’s Chief Technology Officer accepts the rAVe Reader’s Choice award for “Favorite Assistive Listening Device”.

 

InfoComm 2016: Who’s getting excited? We are!!!

InfoComm 2016 is almost upon us and we are EXCITED! Listen Technologies Booth #C10519 is brand new this year and it is shaping up to be awesome! It takes a village to put together a show like InfoComm and our Listen village has been rocking it this year.

Cory Paxman, Ryan Paxman, Ryne Carrillo, and Riley Hendrickson-working hard to get us on our way!   Cory Paxman, Ryan Paxman, Ryne Carrillo, and Riley Hendrickson-Working hard to get us on our way.

From dreaming to planning, packing to set up……we are almost there and we CAN’T WAIT!  See you soon!

 

 

Blog from the Booth: IR that Sounds Like RF at InfoComm 2015

If you think you know IR, think again. ListenIR sounds more like RF. Case in point: a Consultant just stopped by booth #959 for a chat with Cory Schaeffer and Peter Papageorge. As one who is devoted to RF products, this Consultant was a bit doubtful of our claims, but we switched on the LT-84 Transmitter/Radiator, had him take a little walkabout with one of our iDSP IR receivers, and then showed him the iDSP software suite and he was convinced. ListenIR offers an unparalleled IR experience. 

Stay tuned for more updates from InfoComm 2015!

Partnering with InfoComm to provide CTS Renewal Units

Listen Technologies has renewed its partnership with InfoComm and their CTS Renewal Units Program. This program allows over 9,000 professionals with InfoComm International’s Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) credentials to earn the renewal units they need in order to keep their certification. Specialists have the opportunity to earn four RU’s (Renewal Units) by completing Listen’s One-Day Integration & Commissioning of Hearing Loop Systems (Level 2) Class.

Through Listen’s Hearing Loop (Level 2) Class, AV Integrators and Consultants are trained to the high standards of the IEC 60118-4 specification, which is important to note, because Hearing Loops must be installed to this international standard in order for them to work at their highest performance level for signal strength and frequency response along with other criteria. If a technology doesn’t actually work for an end user, there’s really no point in installing it.

Our course includes an intensive full-day training session that takes people through understanding the technology along with the steps that are necessary to learn how to install a Hearing Loop system properly and to provide a Certificate of Conformity to the IEC 60118-4 standard. Those who attend these courses gain a hands-on practice of creating test loops, setting up, installing, and certifying a Hearing Loop system. They also learn the theories of why it is so important to install them properly. At the completion of the session and passing the final exam, participants will be certified as Listen Hearing Loop Level 2 Integrators making them capable of meeting the performance standards of the IEC 60118-4 standard that was mentioned above.

We are very pleased to be partnering with InfoComm to help AV Integrators and Consultants reach their CTS credentials. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved. Not only do participants get to earn Renewal Units towards their CTS credentials from InfoComm, but we at Listen Technologies get to build more awareness about Assistive Listening Systems and Hearing Loops.

Top 10 Things I Loved About AV Week 2013

It’s hard to believe that AV Week is already a week ago. Since then I’ve had the chance to reflect on the various activities that took place to celebrate our industry and build awareness in Utah about the impact of our industry. 2013 marked my 7th AV Week and so I give you the top 10 things I loved about 2013 (in random order—too hard to rank).

 

#1 Connecting with InfoComm Members: AV Week gives us an excuse to connect outside of obvious reasons like our tradeshow in June or doing business. In Utah we tend to start planning early for AV Week and we’re all coming together for our industry and so there’s this warm, genuine camaraderie that I have experienced in moments like the photo op with Governor Herbert in the Capitol rotunda. He’s a busy man so we’re asked to arrive early and be ready for the 2 – 3 minutes he’ll spend with us; so we do and it gave us a chance to chat and catch up and be part of a special moment together.

#2 Essays by the Kids:
You have to love the unapologetic, uninhibited hopes of kids and the way they choose to express that in writing. I know I did when I read the essays that were submitted by Listen kids on why they wanted to win the Fender guitar that was up for grabs during AV Week. You can read the blog with the various entries and see who won >>>

#3 Audiologists’ Willingness to Provide Free Hearing Tests:
We have some very giving people in our community in Utah. I’m grateful for Dr. Anne Lobdell, AuD and Dr. Layne Garrett, AuD for their willingness to provide free hearing tests during AV Week. Building awareness around hearing loss and hearing protection is an important concern for our industry. Many of us in the industry are involved in experiences where the sound is at dangerous levels (above 80 dB) and it’s important for us to all be aware that once you lose your hearing from NIHL it’s gone. Read a recent InfoComm All Voices blog on protecting hearing >>>

#4 Celebrating Women in Technology:
I’m involved with an awesome group of women as part of my role on the steering committee for the Salt Lake Chamber Business Women’s Forum. Our efforts are focused on fundraising and building awareness for the Business Women’s Center which is a non-profit providing services to women who want to start their own business. Each month we have a different theme and we chose women in technology to coincide with AV Week so that we could showcase the opportunities for women in AV. We held a mixer and technology tour of KSL Studios. It was an evening filled with a lot of great networking and enthusiasm.

 

# 5 Witnessing Breaking News: During our tour of KSL we happened to be in the newsroom during the evening news broadcast and our guide was giving us an overview of the equipment and technology in use. Our group was pleased to see that the camera operator was a woman and was also running the behind-the-scenes of the newscast. Suddenly, adjustments had to be made as President Obama was going to address the country about the Federal Government shutdown ending. It was thrilling to have a firsthand view of this current event and what it took behind-the-scenes with AV to make it happen.

 

# 6 Loop Utah Momentum: In September the Loop Utah movement kicked off at the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Festival. Since then volunteer members of the Loop Utah movement have been working to build momentum and awareness for hearing loss, assistive listening and Hearing Loop technology. Cory Schaeffer and I are involved as volunteers and because of AV Week Cory had the opportunity to invite a reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune to Listen HQ to meet with members of the Loop Utah movement. The article came out this week and it has resulted in positive momentum for the movement. Read the Salt Lake Tribune article >>>

#7 Mike’s Moment:
Michael R. Griffitt is one of our Product Marketing Specialists for assistive listening and where he thrives is as our trainer for the Level 2 One-Day Hearing Loop Training. Level 2 is the more technical training and is required to be able to install both perimeter and phased array hearing loop systems to conform to the IEC standard for performance. On Wednesday of AV Week Mike delivered the Level 2 training at Listen which just happened to be the same day the reporter and the members of the Loop movement were at our offices for the demo and interview. At a break during the training Kristel Scoresby and Steve Brantley were invited to meet the session participants and speak to them about their experience with hearing loss and Hearing Loop. Mike had a moment. To paraphrase, “It was incredibly moving for all of us at the session. One comment in particular resonated with me. Kristel Scoresby shared how typically if she is watching TV she’ll use closed captioning so she doesn’t have to turn the TV up so loud that it would bother her husband. What she realized when she did the demo with the Hearing Loop and no captioning was that with captioning she doesn’t get the emotion that is being conveyed by intonation or music. Wow is all I can say. It was a point I had not really considered and just another reminder of how meaningful it is to be able to make a difference in some small way.”

 

#8 Hayley’s Willy Wonka Perspective on the Adobe Tour: Hayley is a recent gem of an addition to the Marketing Services team at Listen and I just don’t know how we got by before she came to us. 2013 was her first AV Week and she was tasked with blogging about the Adobe Tech Tour hosted by Avidex. Avidex designed and integrated the AV systems throughout the 280,000 square foot campus to the tune of $2.8 million. Hayley wanted to do the tour justice but also have fun with it. I found the Willy Wonka analogy to be refreshing and fun while still conveying the valuable points of the impact of AV at Adobe. Read her post and see what you think >>>

#9 GENCOMM Tech Expo:
It felt a bit like a mini InfoComm right here in our own backyard. I enjoyed catching up with people I know from the industry that came to Salt Lake from neighboring states. It also appreciated GENCOMM’s invitation to present on behalf of the Loop Utah movement and deliver a session on ADA compliance and an overview of Hearing Loop technology.


#10 Awesome Colleagues:
As I got to #10 I realized that this really is the #1 thing I love about AV Week. I have the privilege of coming to work every day with people who care about each other, our industry and most importantly the difference we get to make in our own way. AV Week is a demonstration of the small things my colleagues are willing to do to go above and beyond to make things successful and also to support me personally. Thank you Ryan Williams, Ryan Paxman, Deb Weeks, Carrie Keele, Hayley Heaton, Mike Griffitt, Dania Darling, Wendy Peterson, Tracy Bathurst, Cory Schaeffer and Hollie Kieszek Your support is very much appreciated.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Listen Attends an Official AV Week Proclamation Signing

As a proud participant of InfoComm International’s annual AV Week, Listen Technologies was happy to attend a ceremony along with some of our fellow colleagues in the AV industry from GENCOMM.  We also had a representative from the office of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams joins us to officially proclaim that October 13 – 19, 2013 will be AV Week in the state of Utah.

Each year, AV Week celebrates the AV industry during a week in October in order to bring more awareness to the industry. Not only does the AV industry provide end users better experiences in their homes, but it also touches them in their workplaces, at schools, and all kinds of entertainment venues.
It even influences people when they put gas in their cars at the gas pump, as Kristin Rector, Director of Marketing Services at Listen Technologies, pointed out during the proclamation ceremony. She was thinking of GENCOMM’s innovative work done last year for the Draper, Utah ProStop Convenience Store. Read about their ProStop work in the Salt Lake Tribune >>>

The AV industry certainly surrounds people and enhances their lives constantly.
We at Listen are looking forward to this upcoming week in October very much. We’d also like to thank the representatives from Mayor McAdams’s office and all of those who were involved for signing this Proclamation to make it official.
Local InfoComm members have some very exciting things planned and can’t wait to share them with you during AV Week.
To date Avidex is planning a Technology Tour of Adobe on October 17, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. GENCOMM is planning their annual Tech Show for October 16, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. The show will include instructional sessions, vendor booths, and networking with AV professionals.

Stay tuned; Listen will be announcing a formal schedule of all of our 2013 AV Week events soon.

AV Week – Tour Of The LDS Conference Center Part 3

This blog is the third in a three part series. To read part two click here  >>> To read part one click here >>>

The LDS Church has a history of embracing technology to communicate its message to the community with its first radio broadcast in 1922 and first video satellite broadcast in 1972. Presently, in addition to its semi-annual General Conference and many independent productions, the church produces and broadcasts “Music and The Spoken Word” live to BYU TV and KSL TV every Sunday morning and later distributed to more than 2200 TV and radio stations. If you’ve ever seen a broadcast, you know that in addition to the beautiful words and music, it is visually inspiring.
During our tour of the LDS Conference Center which was part of our AV Week (a week set aside for the audiovisual community to celebrate, promote and share the impacts of the AV industry across the world) activities, we were able to get a firsthand look at the video production process.
 
Guy and Jeff testing out the robotic cameras
While I’ve talked a lot about the audio installations (after all we are all about audio here at Listen), but the video installation is second to none in producing feature films and educational videos. Using Sony digital HD technology, there are more than 120 fiber drops throughout the campus. Several control rooms handle all the steps of production. The video capture control room could easily be confused with a teenagers gaming room. We had a chance to play around with the mounted cameras using the joystick fashioned control. I was amazed to see how a camera that was mounted on the top balcony of the 1+ million square foot building could zoom in on the wall at the front of the room, showing the texture details in the paint.
In the video control room everything comes together. During a production, the director calls the shots on everything. All of the camera, lighting and audio are choreographed ahead of time, but there are constantly changes and mishaps that need to be taken into account.
Let’s talk lighting for a minute. With 70 dimmer racks and approximately 100 dimmers in each one, there are over 6000 controllable outlets and dimmers. There are stage lights, lights that project images on the walls and lights that change the look of the famous organ pipes. When you are in the audience of a major production, it’s as if you are center stage. From the lighting control room the computer has a map of the stage allowing you to easily use pre-programmed settings or to try your own. Once again, we were allowed to have a little fun as we experimented with the controls (you should have seen the 70’s Technicolor transformation the organ pipes made)!
Amanda testing out the lighting controls
Now for a little more audio talk! From the audio mix room they run 2 HD systems simultaneously. Everything is multi-tracked through Pro Tools so that if they get to the end of a show and need to redo a piece, they can pull that mix and it is recorded and mixed again within 5 minutes. While it is currently a digital set up, they are actually in the process of going back to analog with and API Legacy Vision consul. Digital audio just doesn’t have the same quality as analog and doesn’t offer the flexibility that is necessary. We listened to a recording of the Tabernacle Choir accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square and I really noticed all of the layers of sound that contributed to the piece.
Thanks again to Jason McFarland and his team for providing this tour. Being new to the audiovisual industry, I am so glad that I could experience such an impressive display of AV at its best.

AV Week – Tour Of The LDS Conference Center Part 2

This blog is the second in a three part series. To read the first blog click here >>>

 
As part of our AV Week Activities, a week designated to celebrate, promote and share AV throughout our community, I was able to tour the LDS Conference Center with almost 40 Listen Technologies employees and friends. The Conference Center has the ability to interpret and disburse 97 languages live.

Not even the United Nations comes close to that number (they interpret 6 languages live). I was impressed by many things during the tour, but I think that the language interpretation process is especially impressive as it really is uncharted territory.
 

On the 2nd floor between the main auditorium floor and balcony, is the language interpretation area. There are 58 individual language booths, a general meeting area, a control room and one set of bathrooms. ASL translation is performed in a different area as it requires its own studio and production staff. During LDS General Conference, which is two full days of content streamed live twice a year, they will simultaneously translate up to 97 languages. Each language team has from 6 to 16 people, depending on the availability. Even more impressive to note, these interpreters are volunteers. That’s anywhere from 500-600 people who freely donate the time and talents. And remember, there’s only one set of bathrooms.
Each booth is set up for two people to see and hear the broadcast; one is actively translating while the other is on standby for backup. In many languages, there are not locals who can either speak fluently or without a thick accent. For these languages a Tieline codec is used and the audio is sent directly to that country, using IP, ISBN and analog phone lines, where it is interpreted and sent back to the Language Control Room and then distributed around the Conference Center campus using Listen Technologies and other receivers. In all there is less than a ten second delay from the time the original content is spoken, to the time the interpreted language is received. It makes my head spin just thinking about it!
 
Everything produced out of the Conference Center, is in a minimum of 13 languages though the majority goes out in 32. To keep things moving quickly, the translations are all recorded and cut at the same time. This goes for audio recordings, films and productions.
 
The Translation Control Room has a complete wall of custom designed boxes, 48 ATM-2000 (Automatic Translation Mixers) designed by dlb Research. The ATM-2000 automatically adjusts the microphone volume of each interpreter, fades the live program up and down for the musical numbers and provides an intercom to each interpreter’s booth. From the Windows based control surface allows the operator to monitor all 96 languages, see at a glance the status of microphones and signal levels, as well as use a talkback system to speak to individual interpreters or all at once.
 

“Fifty years ago we were interpreting from dirt floors in the Tabernacle, and now we are interpreting for a single event from essentially anywhere in the world,” said Brad Lindsay, the Church’s manager of interpretation services. “This is a huge change, and technology makes this all possible.” Source >
It’s inspiring to see just what can be achieved as technology evolves.
 
 
 
 

AV Week – Tour Of The LDS Conference Center Part 1

This blog is the first of a three part series.

The LDS Conference Center located in downtown Salt Lake City is the largest LIVE audio installment in the US. As part of its AV Week celebration Listen Technologies co-hosted a tour of the 1.4 million square foot facility that seats 21,000 people.

The AV Tour of the LDS Conference Center was
my first InfoComm AV Week experience. What an impressive way to be introduced into what AV Week is all about. Every October the audiovisual community comes together to celebrate, promote and share the impacts of the AV industry across the world. I joined over 35 participants from Salt Lake City for a behind-the-scenes AV tour of this extraordinary facility.

 

The LDS Conference Center hosts the semi-annual General Conference which is broadcast to 12 million people worldwide, “Music and The Spoken Word” (a weekly LIVE musical broadcast) as well as various cultural and artistic shows.

 

According to LDS Sound Engineer Trent Walker, “We get quite the gamut of performers who come through this room. In addition to LDS events there are approximately 25 other shows per year, including the National Rotary and World Barbershop conventions, concerts such as a recent performance by The Oak Ridge Boys with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to benefit Feed the Children, and a variety of guest soloists who perform with the choir every week.

 

I have been to the Conference Center several times to attend performances, but it never fails that my breath is taken as I step into the theater. It’s a one of a kind space large enough to fit a Boeing 747 but the shape of the room makes distributing audio a challenge. Most of the equipment needs to be modified. For instance, when the 350 person Tabernacle Choir is singing at full voice (and let me tell you, this is amazing to witness), it measures at about 121 dB. When using a tube mic it saturates the diaphragm so the mics are attenuated 7 dB. The result is pure, beautiful sound. Another challenge is transitioning from the full sound of the choir to a 90 year old man whose voice is a whisper. The solution is a custom built podium mic with two shotgun mics in the capsule, one on top and one on the bottom, allowing customization between presenters.

 

With a LIVE weekly broadcast, a Christmas concert that requires 120 inputs and productions that require the utmost care, the two common keywords that I heard throughout the tour were redundancy and consistency. Everything has a backup so that if any one element fails, it goes unnoticed by the audience. The setup in the Conference Center is identical to that in the Tabernacle, a separate building across the street where performances and practices are also held. So if mic 5 is over the harp in the Conference Center, you bet it’s mic 5 over the harp in the Tabernacle. This gives consistent sound as they move from room to room, the only difference comes when they go on tour. Isn’t it funny how these minor details may not be noticed by the end user unless they are missing?

 

We learned just how the sound system was designed so that no matter where you are sitting, you have not only an unobscured view of the stage but a magical experience in sound. For my #AVTweeps, here’s the rundown. The front-of-house system is set up with 18 L-Acoustics dV-DOSC cabinets flown per side and six dV-SUB ground-stacked below for extended low-frequency reinforcement. The foldback system for the choir and orchestra runs 16 discreet mixes, and monitors deployed are combination of L-ACOUSTICS MTD112b and MTD108a enclosures. There are up to 96 channels on the PM1D. Peluso P-47 cover a wide cardio A1 pattern in the soprano/alto center and tenor/bass configuration. Additionally, there are 8 hanging mics that tie to a LARES system developed by Steve Barbar an electro acoustical enhancement reverb system since the room is pretty dead on its own.
 

Over the terrace and balconies in the main auditorium, there are over 400 separate down firing speakers that are time aligned to the custom center cluster which uses Electro-Voice Xf, Xcn and Xb. With one speaker per channel and one DSP per channel, engineers are able to manage separate EQ, separate sound levels, test inpidual units and the sound is delayed exactly.

Not a detail is missed in assuring an unforgettable experience. Whether it’s the warm full sound coming from the choir or the crisp clear spoken word, there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Thanks to Sean McFarland and his team for giving us such an in depth tour of this magnificent facility. I certainly have a greater appreciation of the manpower and expertise that is brought together at the Conference Center. Impressive only begins to tell the story. I’ll be sharing more details from the tour including language interpretation (did you know they translate into 97 languages?) and audio, video and light mixing.

InfoComm Lunch & Tour Of Smoky Hill Vineyard Church

On December 8, 2011 InfoComm made an appearance at Smoky Hill Vineyard Church in Denver Colorado, teaming up with Logic Integration and putting on a fantastic presentation on DSP, digital signage, and digital content. After the presentation Shawn Hansson with Logic Integration conducted a tour of the church using a 28 person Listen Technologies tour system which provided clear and precise speech, allowing tour participants to understand all of the gear at this house of worship.
The event began with a presentation on digital signal processing (DSP) and all of the things they are used for and all the applications they are specified in. The group was also shown a very unique instant text to vote system using DSP technology.

Kristen Chasey
with Logic Integration is their expert in digital signage and she explained what exactly digital signage is and how it is used everywhere! Kristin showed us how basic digital signage can be used such as; a fast food menu and also how complicated it can get as in monitoring airport flights with hundreds of displays.

Bill Craig
, VP of Business Development for Logic Integration presented a topic they like to call “analog sunset” obviously saying goodbye to analog and welcoming digital in everything we do. Bill taught everyone how EDID is a handshake sort of process when using a digital display with a digital source. He also showed everyone DVI, HDMI, and all of the digital cables and how they are used for different situations.

Shawn Hansson CEO of Logic Integration had the honor of using the Listen Technologies tour system for his church overview. He took the group behind the stage showing everyone the cabinets of gear the church uses for all their AV, a full functioning Starbucks restaurant was also at this facility with a number of digital signs, the hallway behind the screens was very thin to fit and hear everything Bill was saying which made the Listen tour system an excellent demonstration on how much it helps in this type of application.

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Tour participants make their way through the church
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Shawn Hansson, CEO of Logic Integration led the tour
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