Blog from the Booth: The Hottest Spot at InfoComm 2015!

It looks like booth #959 is the hottest spot for Wi-Fi at InfoComm this year. ListenWiFi was heating up the Listen Technologies booth all day, with overheard comments like, “If it’s from Russ Gentner, I know it’s a quality product.” ListenWiFi is a professional, industrial grade product designed and manufactured by Listen Technologies, so that guy definitely knows what he’s talking about.


Also on deck: a tour of the Amway Center using Listen Technologies tour group equipment. When asked if the Listen Technologies tour group equipment provided a great audio experience, many tour attendees reported that it was fantastic.

Stay tuned for more updates from booth #959 at InfoComm 2015!

Blog from the Booth: Live from InfoComm 2015!

Wednesday kicked off the first day of InfoComm 2015 and Listen Technologies is kicking it at booth #959 in innovative style. This year, the booth is featuring new ListenIR, ListenWiFi, Loopworks, and many other amazing assistive listening and conference products.



ListenWiFi is generating a ton of interest from various markets. In other words, booth #959 is the hottest spot for Wi-Fi products at InfoComm. Stop by to check them out!


ListenIR literally had pigs flying. Why? Because Listen Technologies, CEO, Russ Gentner said that if we could create IR that sounded more like RF, pigs would fly.

Stay tuned for more updates from Booth #959 and Listen Technologies, live at InfoComm 2015.

Trying Out Assistive Listening at Abravanel Hall

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a symphony concert at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. Since I work at Listen Technologies, I decided to seek out and use an assistive listening device to see what the process was like, as well as the listening experience. I found that they were available in one of the coat check locations on the main floor. There is a sign for assistive listening devices availability above the coat check window.


I checked out two units.One unit was for someone who has hearing loss to the point of not being able to hear conversations in a crowded, noisy environment. The other, I used to experience the product myself.


Check-out involved filling out a form in a 3-ring binder with my name, phone number, and the number of the unit, which was indicated by a number on a piece of tape on the device. Both were set to channel E and one had the belt clip missing. One set of headphones had cloth covers over the earpiece foam, while the other headphone had just the foam covers.


Instructions were given by the issuer as to how to turn the unit on and off and how to adjust the volume control. They also reminded me to return the units after the concert.


During the concert the device worked well. I could clearly hear the performer separate from the symphony and could adjust the volume control to achieve a good balance for my listening tastes. In this environment there was little to no background noise. The person with hearing loss said the device worked well and he enjoyed listening to the concert using it.


Whether you have hearing loss or not, I highly recommend checking out an assistive listening device next time you visit a public space like Abravanel Hall or something similar. It improved my experience, as well as the person with me. 

The AV Golden Ticket: Listen Technologies Tours the Adobe Building

Imagine, if you will, being a working member of the AV industry and having the opportunity to tour one of the most advanced AV spaces in the world. You’d feel as excited as Charlie Bucket pulling a golden ticket out of a Wonka Bar.

As one of the final events of AV Week, Listen Technologies, along with many others in the AV Industry, had the opportunity to take our tour guide equipment on the road and use it to tour the incredibly impressive Adobe building in Lehi, Utah. The space is so impressive that it feels odd to call it a mere building; it works more like a big, creative campus where employees are encouraged to eat, drink, rock climb, play, think, collaborate, and yes…even get work done from time to time.
There are probably many people who would love to wander through the incredible spaces at Adobe, especially on a guided tour using Listen equipment—it’s a great experience! But for those of you who haven’t had the opportunity yet, please sit back and enjoy my description.

First Impressions

When first entering Adobe, you’re taken through what is known as the Customer Experience Center. This is an area that highlights all of Adobe’s clients with 40, 10.2” video monitors. Each monitor digitally displays a client’s logo along a long hallway; the videos are on a continual loop throughout the day along with interesting statistics provided by Adobe. Visitors can have an interactive experience using the three 2 x 2 video walls and touch screens to find information of their liking. This was a very interesting way to start the tour as it highlighted some of the things that Adobe provides clients that many people don’t often consider. In other words, Adobe isn’t just about software updates; they also provide their clients with serious marketing research and data.

Once you are through the hallway, you reach the Network Operation Center, or as they refer to it NOC! NOC houses 24 NEC LCD displays, which are wall mounted with RP Visuals swing wide mounts. The video routing and room control is accomplished using Crestron Digital Media and control products. The Crestron touch panels allow employees to monitor specific company systems and other important statistics that are essential for daily operations at Adobe. For example, an employee can monitor anything like how many hits the Adobe site is getting per day to specific #hashtags being used on various social media sites.

Collaborative Efforts

There are many other incredible spaces at Adobe, as well. Their training rooms and collaborative meeting rooms (all named after creative geniuses, artists, or sports legends) are all equipped with state-of-the-art technology. All of these rooms have a combination of a number of projectors, monitors, PC’s, Blu-Ray player, connections for VGA, HDMI, and mini HDMI, gooseneck and wireless microphones, and a touch panel to control the system. The rooms also have Polycom audio and video conferencing systems and Ploycom EagleEye Director cameras that allow others to learn from other Adobe locations all over the world.

The more collaborative spaces are less formal and lend themselves to more creative thinking. These rooms all house a Wink paint surface, which allows a user to write and draw their meeting ideas on the wall with markers. If the user wants to save his or her notes, there is E-Beam technology build into the projector, which will capture what has been written or drawn on the wall and save it to the PC in the room.

All Fun and Games

Adobe employees also have the benefit of an onsite fitness center, a café, and many different game rooms. Televisions showing satellite programming are installed throughout these spaces for employees to catch up on news. Digital Signage monitors are placed throughout delivering employee communications created by Adobe employees. From menu items and specials to upcoming fitness classes AV is a part of their communication. Although it was closed during the tour, the lower level boasts a serious gamer room (I’m not sure what serious gamer means, as I’ve never been serious about video games, but it sounds pretty intense). And the upper level has a room with ping pong and billiards tables, as well as some old school arcade games. There’s also a basketball court and outdoor spaces for employees to relax or play sports.

There are also some incredible art pieces located throughout the building, the most notable of which was the spray painted mural by El Mac, which is located near the most communal area of the building. Andrew Smith was commissioned to install another great piece in the stairwell. It’s a 50 foot, interactive, metal sculpture that climbs up the open space of the main between the main and top levels. Between floors employees and visitors can take various colored balls found in baskets and feed them into the sculpture. The balls them zoom down to the main level. I think I’d spend more time with the art than in the serious gamer room, but to each their own, right?

Even as a new member of the AV industry, I felt like I’d won a golden ticket while touring the Adobe building. While I didn’t understand all of the impressive technical terms, I knew that what I was experiencing made for a great environment in which to work. It is definitely a space where technology works seamlessly hand-in-hand with collaboration and creativity.

Highlights in Houston with Mizzen Marketing

Listen Technologies was recently in Houston, Texas for Mizzen Marketing’s 4th Annual AV Expo. The event had many people in attendance over the two days who were very excited to view the products that Listen’s, Joel Motel, showcased. “Of the 31 vendors,” Motel states, “Listen was the only one that had two tables. We had so many products at the event that we needed two, eight-foot tables.” The products that were featured at the Mizzen event were Listen’s Wireless Conferencing, Digital Discussion, Portable RF, Stationary IR, and Hearing Loop.

Listen’s table featured the increasingly popular Jolene. She was designed using a fashion mannequin equipped with a sound level meter wired to a silicon ear, which measures the sound levels of personal sound systems. Her unique look always draws a crowd, whether she’s at an event like this one or visiting a school to help teach kids about noise-induced hearing loss.

The main Listen Technologies table also featured a Hearing Loop, which Motel was able to demonstrate to interested parties. He also conducted two presentations about the Hearing Loop during the event. The first of these presentations was an introduction to how Hearing Loop technology works—it uses a magnetic sound field that is directly transmitted to a user’s smart hearing aid (a hearing aid with a t-coil) or cochlear implants. This presentation was attended by a Houston audiologist, Dr. Paula Allison, who is a passionate advocate for Hearing Loop technology.  On the second day Motel gave a presentation on assistive listening and ADA compliance.


“One of the highlights of the event for me,” Motel concluded, “was having many of the attendees approach our tables and tell me that Listen was their go-to product for assistive listening and that they love the quality of our products.” We agree with Joel, this is definitely a highlight.

Listens Portable RF Device Helps Users Hear During Factory Tours

If you have ever been on a tour of a manufacturing facility, you’ve probably experienced difficulty hearing your tour guide. To make sure you heard what was happening on the tour, you might have had to stay too close to your guide or your guide might have had to scream at the top of his or her lungs to be heard. Neither of these things creates a great tour experience.

Focusing this much on a tour guide may have made you potentially miss out on some of the interesting things happening around you. So, what’s the point of going on a tour when you can’t hear and you miss out on all of the interesting things?
Listen Technologies’ portable RF equipment solves these issues. You don’t have to stand too close to your tour guide and your tour guide doesn’t have to risk losing his or her voice. The tour guide simply uses a microphone that is plugged into the speaker which wirelessly broadcasts his or her voice to people going on the tour. This allows visitors to both hear all the facts being said without interruption, as well as focus on what’s actually happening on the tour.
Even though the settings or surroundings might change, the consistent, high quality sound won’t. In other words, you’re not going to miss out on anything!

The video below follows Oldcastle Precast during a factory tour as they use Listen’s portable RF equipment. If you have questions about our portable RF product, let us know in the comments below.

Listen Goes On Tour At The Ely Cathedral

The Ely Cathedral is steeped in history. Originally, the site of a monastery founded by a runaway princess turned nun, the cathedral grew from a rather humble site to an awe-inspiring site that covers over 46,000 square feet, including the famous Ely octagon measuring at 170 feet in height and 742 feet in width.

Although the cathedral has had its fair share of pilgrims, it’s highly unlikely that its original purpose was to host bus-loads of tour groups snapping photos of its famous stained glass and restored stonework. Nevertheless, around 250,000 contemporary pilgrimages are made to the Ely Cathedral every year, which makes for some very busy (and possibly hoarse) tour guides.

Cathedrals, while being wonderful places to worship have rather specific challenges when it comes to the subject of acoustics. While some of them offer wonderful places to sit and listen to choral arrangements or reflect on the soul, they aren’t really built to be tour group or tour guide friendly: a small footstep can carry from one end of a nave to the other, mere whispers can echo, and the smallest giggle can be carried from the floor all the way up to heaven. So, how is a tour guide supposed to relay information, without shouting or whispering? And how is a tour group supposed to hear their guide without being shouted at or straining to hear?

Instead of spending pounds of sterling on honey and tea to sooth the sore throats of their busy guides, the Ely Cathedral thought of a better idea to solve their tour acoustics situation, they invested in Tour Group equipment from Listen Technologies. Listen’s Portable RF products allow a tour group user to simply plug into a small receiver that they carry with them throughout a tour, in this case the tour of the magnificent Ely Cathedral. A tour group member can adjust his or her own volume and will receive clear and consistent sound from the guide for the duration, so they don’t have to miss a single word of what’s said, even while other tours are happening simultaneously. The products are also a miracle for the tour guides as they allow them the opportunity to use a normal speaking voice, which is broadcast from a transmitter to each and every tour guest, so there’s no need for tea, unless it’s actually tea time.

Although it’s a place with a past, the Ely Cathedral is definitely looking at the present. Including a little technology from Listen to improve guided tours has made the cathedral a better place to visit, whether a guest is there on a personal pilgrimage or merely there to enjoy the beautiful stained glass.

Capturing and Maintaining a Tour Group’s Attention With the Help of Listen’s Portable RF System

This blog post has been repurposed from an anonymous customer write-up from a university in the Pacific Northwest on their experience with Listen Technologies Tour Group products.


We recently became aware of some great things a large state university in the Pacific Northwest is doing with our Portable RF System. More specifically, it’s the university’s off-campus community extension locations using our system. And while we can’t share the name the university at this time, we’re so thrilled with the results they’re achieving we can’t help but share.


The university’s extension facilities are located throughout the state and have a mission to “engage people, organizations and communities to advance knowledge, economic well-being and quality of life by fostering inquiry, learning and the application of research.”

As a part of this mission, several locations regularly conduct educational field tours at locations such as apple orchards and agriculture packing houses and processing facilities. Depending on the tour, they are attended by growers, crop consultants, managers of other agricultural facilities and even scientists.


The problem with doing tours in such locations, however, is the noise. For example, imagine a tour of a busy apple packing house where conveyor belts and machinery are constantly running. To add to the problem, tours of such potentially dangerous facilities often require attendees to gather in single file lines behind barricades for safety reasons.


These are just some of the challenges the university was facing. In an attempt to overcome them, university officials first tried a microphone system connected to a loud speaker. However, they soon found that such a system had two primary faults:


First, the sound projected from the speaker was unidirectional, meaning attendees had to stand in just the right place to hear. This was a significant a problem when dealing with a large group or a group that had to be spaced out single file.


Second, they discovered that despite the increased volume of the tour guide’s voice, environmental distractions were still an issue. This was particularly true in outdoor locations, such as apple orchards, where it was easier for a group to disperse and hold side conversations.


As a result, they went in search of a better solution that would allow guides to truly capture the attention of tour attendees. They found Listen’s Portable RF System.


Listen’s Portable RF System is ideal for tour groups. It has the capability to scale from one user to hundreds and can operate across multiple groups; ensuring interference from neighboring systems is kept to a minimum. 


The technology is also very easy to use. Tour guides simply clip on a small microphone and transmitter and then set the device to the desired channel. It’s even simpler for audience members, who have to simply slip on a headset that can be pre-set to the correct channel and waiting for them.


The technology is very easy to use. In most cases, especially when it comes to portable radio frequency-based systems, it’s as simple as clipping on a small microphone and transmitter and then setting the device to the desired channel. It’s even simpler for audience members, who simply have to slip on a headset that can be on waiting for them and pre-set to the correct channel.


With our system in place, the university is now able to ensure that all participants can not only hear every word the guides speak, but that guides no longer have to compete with environmental distractions for the attention of the attendees.


More information about Listen Technologies’ Portable RF Systems can be found here:

Touring Seattle, One Bite At A Time

When in New Orleans, try the gumbo. Visiting Philly? Cheesesteak, of course.  Seattle? Try the Fish! What better way to explore a city than by sampling its culinary masterpieces?

Seattle Bites Food Tour does just that. For three hours, tourists, both vacationers and locals, experience the rich history and culture of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market while sampling the crème de la crème.

Jan Marie Johnson and her husband, Mark Brietfuss wanted to create a tour that caters to the participant and creates an unforgettable experience. Since 2008, the couple has worked together to build what is “There’s more to the market than just food, fish and flowers,” Jan Marie Johnson said. “It’s not only the culinary heartbeat, but it’s really the soul of what makes Seattle a great city.”

I had the privilege of experiencing the tour first hand with my family this summer as we spent time in Seattle on our way to a family reunion. Meeting just inside the Seattle Art Museum we were greeted by the energetic Anna Oeste, our host for the day. We each received a bag with the materials we would need. Among the napkins, map, and plastic ware was a Listen Technologies receiver and ear speaker.
Anna easily walked us through how to use the equipment while weaving in snippets of what we would be experiencing. As we began walking towards the Pike Place, it quickly became apparent that not only were the receivers a nice touch, but they were a necessity. You see, the market was bustling with activity, but since Anna was using the transmitter, we didn’t miss a single word. And even when we lost sight of Anna in the busy crowd we could follow the directions she relayed.

Braden, my eight year old son, became fast friends with Anna and was by her side for most of the tour! Anna’s easy demeanor and enthusiasm made for a delightful experience. We quickly soaked up the history of the market and sampled Seattle’s finest. Here’s just a taste (pun intended) of what we tried …

  • Lummi Island smoked salmon flatbread with crème fraîche and fine herbs – a culinary masterpiece!
  • Fresh gourmet sausages hand-crafted by a German master butcher.  Sehr Gut!
  • Paris-inspired fruit and Nutella crepes by an Indonesian beauty.
  • “America’s Best Clam Chowder” – just ask New England’s Chowder Hall of Fame!
  • Authentic Mexican tacos or tamales made fresh from a US culinary graduate born and inspired in Mexico City!
  • Decadent Alaskan king salmon, fresh and house-smoked for 12 hours by “The Cod Father”.
  • Mom-inspired chicken Tikka Masala from a classically French-trained South Indian chef.
  • Fresh and exotic produce of the season from our boys on “The Corner”.
  • Seattle’s coffee at its best – expertly sourced, blended and roasted.  Simply Seattle, simply delicious!
  • Special home-made desserts using some of the world’s most unique cooking oils!
Surprisingly enough, one of my personal favorites was from Saffron Spice, a unique Indian food stand. My husband was delighted to see how much I enjoyed the Chicken Tikka Masala. You see, normally I stay away from most could-possibly-be-spicy foods while he loves trying new tastes.
Bree, discovered that she loves clam chowder (she’s a picky eater like her mother!)
Braden loved the last stop, the Olive Oil Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Room, where he learned how to mix specialty oils and vinegar creating tasty combinations.
As their website states this “tour of The Market is more than simply a sampling of big and delicious bites. Seattle Bites Food Tour will share with you the complex and fascinating tales of how and why The Market got started, the heroes that created and saved it and the beloved merchants who have made The Market their home.” Thanks Mark and Anna for a great day and a up-close look at our technology at work!

One Loop at a Time

When I first started at Listen Technologies I was told I would have certain kinds of moments. Moments that weren’t about marketing a product, per se, rather, they’d be moments that would show me that there are bigger reasons that we do what we do; moments that would reinforce why I decided to work for this company in the first place, because it helps people have better life experiences. I had several of these moments last Saturday as we helped kick off the Loop Utah Movement at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Festival. Here are a few of them.

Gaining More Understanding


I am not a person with hearing loss and I have recently entered into a world of trying to understand what it must be like for people who do have a hearing loss. I won’t lie; it’s been a challenge for me to understand. I’ve stumbled over jargon and made silly mistakes along the way. It’s been a bit tricky for me to navigate through the ADA requirements. It’s been even harder for me to fully understand the human aspects of how frustrating it must be to have to go to a public space and not be able to fully participate. This began to change on Saturday.
As I arrived at the Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the festival on Saturday the atmosphere was strange from my perspective. Things appeared to be quite lively. There were lots of people outside smiling. There were snow cones, and fries, and games. There were lots of different vendors at booths, but things were quiet as I walked across the lawn. I didn’t understand what was going on. How could it be so quiet? It looked like people were having a great time. It suddenly dawned on me that the reason for the relative quiet was because people were signing to each other. Silly me! Here I was, already making assumptions about something I knew very little about—I have so much to learn.
At first the silence made me feel shy and awkward; I don’t know any sign language, so I felt incredibly out of place, but then I decided to use the situation as a learning experience. This was one of my moments, a moment that opened me up to learning what it feels like to not be able to fully participate in something. Personally, I feel it was very important for me to have this moment of clarity. I was humbled in a very good way. If I hadn’t been open to the human aspects of feeling vulnerable right then and there, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grow and experience the things I did later that day.

An Extra Bag of M&M’s


As a writer, I tend to be far better in textual communication than in verbal communication. I tend to get a little tongue-tied when approached by strangers, especially in crowded environments, which is why I was in absolute awe of my co-workers when they talked with people who visited our Listen Technologies booth at the festival.
Watching and learning from Cory Schaeffer, Tim Schaeffer, Kristin Rector, Carrie Keele, Mike Griffitt, and the Steering Committee Chair, Dr. Anne Lobdell was invaluable to me. They were incredible, whether they were demonstrating our small Hearing Loop, getting people to join the Loop Utah Movement, or merely talking to people about hearing loss prevention. It was great to have the opportunity to watch and learn from all of them. It also gave me the courage to have a few interactions of my own, one of which was quite memorable.
As all of my Listen comrades had wandered off to ready themselves for presentations or visit other booths, I was left alone to mind our table. Obviously, I was a little anxious. A few people stopped by and I shyly talked about Loop Utah. People politely took our informational kits and I even got one of them to sign up for Loop Utah e-mails. But the most incredible moment I had during this time on my own was with a small, similarly shy, twelve-year-old girl. Her name was Sara.
Sara approached our Listen table quietly. I smiled at her and she shyly smiled back. Feeling a little awkward I asked her if she had a hearing loss. She shook her head and looked down at some of the informational things we had on our table. I then asked her if she knew someone who had someone with hearing loss. Her facial expression as she looked up at me was something I’ll never forget. It was a mixture of sadness, loss, pain, and a little hopefulness; something that said, “Yes, and I love this person, but don’t know what to do, because I’m just a kid.”
It turned out that the person she knew was her grandfather and he was very important to her. She had no idea what kind of hearing aid he had (whether it was equipped with a t-coil or not) all she knew was that he didn’t like wearing it and that he didn’t like going places with her as much anymore. When I asked if her grandfather was with her to see if I could talk with him too, she admitted she was alone. Sara had come to this festival on her own to help find some answers for her grandfather to help make his life better. This simultaneously broke and filled my heart! What an amazing kid! My awkwardness and shyness wore away quickly. I knew I had to do something to comfort her or at least try to help her.
I asked Sara about some of the things she liked to do with her grandfather. Apparently, they both love going to the movies. Both of them also love mixing M&M’s in with their popcorn (we had a supply of M&M’s at the Listen table and yes, I gave her an extra bag). Instead of launching into a big speech about Hearing Loops, I simply told Sara about some of the different things she could do to help her grandfather. I gave her a stack of Calling Cards she could hand out to movie theaters she visited. And then together we sat down and quickly wrote a letter to the movie theater she and her grandfather visited the most asking them to install a Hearing Loop, so she and her grandfather could keep going to the movies together. She promised me she’d send the letter. I promised myself never to forget how I felt as I helped her. It was indeed one of my moments.

Not Just Numbers


I am someone who finds a great deal of value in being able to go out an experience cultural events, whether that is watching a contemporary version of some Shakespearean play, seeing an opera, or listening to an art historian talk about a Chagall painting on a tour at a museum. Granted, these things might not be everyone’s proverbial cup of tea, but no matter what one enjoys doing (sports, church, lectures, poetry readings, whatever) one should have the right to enjoy it fully. Watching drama unfold on a stage, hearing the notes of a talented soprano, learning about brushstrokes from an educated scholar, so that you know more about a work of art are important things to me personally. I don’t know that they’re important to everyone, but I fully believe that we all have instances and things we enjoy that cultivate who we are as human beings. Maybe it’s a rock concert for you. Maybe it’s cheering at a basket ball game. Whatever it is, I fully believe that these things make us more human; they make us better humans. There are those among us who are currently not participating in what they love doing, simply because they do not have access to assistive listening devices or equipment.

Hearing Loops allow people with hearing loss who have smart hearing aids (hearing aids with telecoils) and cochlear implants go out and experience things they love in public spaces and venues. The benefits of Hearing Loops are easy to understand: they’re more hygienic and they offer a personalized sound experience that’s delivered from the source of the loop straight to a users hearing device. They are also compliant with the ADA.

I’m told that the current percentages of people with hearing loss in the United States fall somewhere between 17% and 20%. When I think about these numbers, I find it staggering. Not because of the ones and sevens or the percentages, but because of the human faces behind these numbers who are limited in experiencing things they may have used to loved to do, much like Sara’s grandfather.

When we quote numbers like this, we must remember who they represent. They represent our loved ones, our friends, and ourselves. When you really think about it—I mean really, really think about it—these percentages are much bigger than just 17% or 20%, because when you know someone with hearing loss, you become part of that number, too. What I mean to say is that Sara’s grandfather isn’t alone, he has Sara. Sure, they’re just two people, but imagine what would happen if everyone was as brave as Sara. If we all pool our collective resources and advocate for changes together as people who don’t necessarily have hearing loss, but as people who are concerned about it, we can make huge differences.
At some point in your life, you’re going to know someone who has a hearing loss. It could be your grandfather. It could be your mom, your dad, your favorite sibling. It could be your child. It could be you. When you think of the faces of these people you love, can you honestly say that they deserve to experience less in life? If you could make things better for them, wouldn’t you?

Although I’ve only listed a few, the moments I experienced on Saturday made me more aware of the importance of the Loop Utah Movement.

I do not personally have a hearing loss, but I am increasingly passionate about creating meaningful cultural experiences for others. I fully believe that this makes us all better as people. Looping venues in the State of Utah has become important to me. Not because I work for Listen, but because I believe in making people’s lives better. I sincerely hope that you too will consider joining this movement. Together we can make a difference, One Loop at a Time.

Listen Technologies