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.

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: https://www.listentech.com/products/portable-rf.html

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!

Listen Technologies goes on tour with Oldcastle Precast

Cement supports civilization

People tend to have preconceived notions about cement. It’s heavy, and boring, and gray, and just sort of sits there, right? But as the hospitable employees of Oldcastle Precast in Ogden, Utah will tell you, cement literally supports civilization. Oldcastle Precast is the leading manufacturer of precast concrete, polymer concrete, and plastic products in the US. They provide solutions for all kinds of structures, including: entire buildings, walls, floors, stairs, elevators shafts, bridges, underground vaults, manholes, storm boxes, pipes, drainage products, and customizable pieces, as well. When they say cement supports civilization, they really mean it!

Going on tour with Listen Tour Guide Gear

Listen along with some of our colleagues with GenComm recently had to opportunity to take some of our tour group gear up to Oldcastle to participate in part of a tour of their facility for an event that was sponsored by the Utah Manufacturers Association. The participants of this event came from all sorts of industries and many of them were familiar with what it was like to go on a tour of a facility like Oldcastle Precast. In other words, they’d previously been on tours with a lot of background noise from machinery, trucks, and a noisy highway where it was essentially impossible to hear anything about the process of manufacturing a product.
Going on a tour in a facility like Oldcastle without being able to hear anything can definitely lead one to believe that cement is just cement. If you can’t hear what your tour guide is telling you, all you can see are a bunch of molds and large pieces of things that are meant to build some kind of structure somewhere. Not having the opportunity to hear what specific pieces are being built and why, would absolutely lead a person on the tour with a feeling of boredom and disjointedness. And this might be even worse if you were there in a professional capacity.
Imagine being a manufacturer touring another manufacturer’s facility. Wouldn’t you want to hear about how things are done? Wouldn’t you want to know about the processes put in place? You can’t glean these things with your eyes alone. While watching cement being poured from large machines into large molds is fascinating, it becomes infinitely more interesting when you know what the mold is for and what the process is. It is also more interesting when you know about the specific projects. Knowing these things could improve upon the processes you use at your own work facility and the only way you’d learn about these, is if you have the opportunity to hear what is happening during the tour.
It made a remarkable difference

Having the Listen equipment made a remarkable difference on the tour of the Oldcastle Precast facility. Even during the portions of the tour in which earplugs were required, the Listen equipment provided clear sound, so that everyone could hear and learn what was happening during the noisiest parts.

When the tour was finished, many members of the Utah Manufacturers Association approached us to tell us how valuable it was to have the Listen equipment on the tour. We heard comments as varied as “That was so cool,” to “Thank you, that made me pay attention to every single word,” from different participants. The employees at Precast were also very satisfied with the equipment, because they found that they didn’t have to shout for the entire tour.

Not only did we have a great time at Oldcastle Precast, but we enjoyed hearing how our Tour Guide gear made such a difference for everyone involved. At the end of the day, that’s what we love doing: delivering great, positive listening experiences whether it’s at a sports venue, the symphony, or a cement facility.

Begin a Tour with the End in Mind

Who says “show and tell” has to just be for kids? Being able to provide a live, behind the scenes look at what makes your company work can be an effective and exciting marketing tool when done correctly.

In my last post for manufacturers, I discussed tips for a successful facility tour here: Group Tours Speaking Up.
As you prepare to conduct a tour of your facility, consider why you’re doing it and who your audience will be. When you know this, you can create a successful tour that blows away the participants’ expectations.
The purposes for conducting a tour include: 
  • Show off the company and products: Giving people a behind the scenes look at your company, manufacturing facility and products can help build stronger brand affinity and appreciation among participants. When people have a better understanding of who you are on the inside, they will be brand champions.
  • Demonstrate processes and technologies:  People are naturally curious and want to know how things are made and what makes them tick. Demonstrating your processes and technologies is a strong way help tour participants connect with your company and products through a greater understanding of how they’re developed.
  • Community Relations:  Building strong relationships with the community is essential for any manufacturing facility. This includes people who live nearby, government officials and other community leaders and tourists who are looking for something interesting to do while in town.
  • Investor relations:  Keeping investors happy can be a full-time job. Taking investors on a VIP tour can increase understanding of who you are and what they’re investing in, which can effectively increase their passion and support of your company and products. 
  • Orient new employees: When you bring on new employees, giving them a tour of the facility will help them know and appreciate the work they’re doing, and give them greater insight into the overall vision of the company.
Manufacturing tours are an effective marketing tool because people can immediately see the value and utility of your products and processes. But that’s only when tours are done right. If you keep your audience in mind and plan accordingly, you’ll find tours to be one of your most successful and rewarding promotional activities.
To learn more about our products and how they can make your guided tour more positive and memorable, head here http://bit.ly/LTManufacturing or call 1.877.760.9271.

How To Use And Sanitize An Earspeaker

I recently attended a Women Tech Council event where attendees were able to tour the beautiful new Adobe building in Lehi, UT. We supported the event with a loaner equipment sponsorship of our portable RF equipment to ensure that not a single sound was missed.

Each tour member was given a receiver and an LA-164 ear speaker. The great thing about an ear speaker as opposed to traditional headphones is you can easily sanitize between uses. Additionally, it is only over one ear, allowing you to hear the audio while also being aware of your surroundings. The first time you put an ear speaker on it can be a little tricky, but once you see the proper position it’s easy!

This video shows just how easy it is to use and sanitize:

Group Tours Speaking Up

U.S. and factories, distribution centers, plants and other industrial facilities welcome visitors daily to get an insider’s view of the products and manufacturing process. For some companies, these tours are focused on VIPs, potential clients and partners. For others, it’s interested tourists and community members. Whoever is visiting, guided tours can be an unforgettable experience.

To help tour participants get the most out of their visit and to make sure they have a positive tour experience, the tour needs to be planned, coordinated and executed in a way that everyone on the tour can see and hear the amazing things the company has to offer.
Below are 5 key elements that can help every tour visitor have a positive, memorable experience.
  1. Ensure that everyone can hear every word from the tour guide. Factories can be loud—if the participants can’t hear, they will walk away with little more than a headache. An excellent solution for mobile tour groups is a Portable RF system from Listen Technologies (Link to landing page). A wireless microphone/transmitter broadcasts the speaker’s voice to the tour audience. People on the tour have a personal receiver where they can adjust the volume control to suit their own needs. Gone are the days when a person in the back of the group is frustrated because she can’t hear the guide’s tantalizing commentary over the hum of the machines.
  2. Plan the best route. A meandering route through the factory’s innards usually isn’t enough for a knock-out tour. The route the tour takes should be long enough to show off the amazing machines and other interesting areas of the facility but not too long to get monotonous. The tour should also include, but never interfere with employees as they busily engage in their daily activities.
  3. Write a Script. Some tours are replete with quips, jokes and other such wisecracks, while other tours, particularly those given to current or potential clients and customers take on more of a serious or impressive tone. Whatever the intention of the audience, a tour should never be conducted off the hip. The tour guide should be well versed on every aspect of the facility and the workings of the equipment.
  4. Right-size” the tour for the audience. Some tours are short and others can be relatively long; however, regardless of the length of the tour, it is important to ensure the message fits the audience. Tours give the opportunity to impress guests with a “behind the scenes” look at the manufacturing process, the company culture, and how many widgets are produced each hour, day or year.  Interesting facts and tidbits make for a memorable tour.
  5. Sell the past, present and future of the company. A tour is a great opportunity to discuss the history of the company, how it got to its current state and the innovations it is continuing to employ to take it into the future. Always highlight the benefits and remember that a great tour can be one of the most powerful sales tools a company has.
What additional tips do you have for guided tours? Sound out in the comments and let us know. To learn more about our products and how they can make your guided tour more positive and memorable, head here http://bit.ly/LTManufacturing or call 1.877.760.9271.

TBM LeanSigma Improves Quality

This blog post has been re-purposed from a “Listen User Profile” of actual Listen customers detailing their experience with Listen Solutions.

TBM LeanSigma provides some of the nation’s best manufacturing firms with continuous improvement seminars and plant tours. Wanting to upgrade their current tour-guide system, they found Listen Technologies. “We needed something clear sounding, easy to use and easy to transport,” says LeanSigma Event Coordinator, Cheryl Groves. No small thing when conducting tours for groups of 50 to 200 in some very noisy plants. The fact that Listen receivers don’t require batteries, and that their cases also function as chargers, has been another strong point: no need to change batteries. Not only does this feature save the company valuable time, it also eliminates the quality problems of receivers dying out in the middle of a tour.
The Listen equipment “makes us look good,” to clients and prospects, a big plus for a company concerned with image. “There’s a level of dependability, knowing that the tour guide system won’t fail in the midst of a plant tour for 50 senior-level executives,” which helps LeanSigma immensely. “A plant tour loses its value when a participant is busy trying to fix their receiver instead of listening to the tour guide,” says Groves, who adds that they “have no worries” with the Listen equipment.
Working with Listen dealer Steve Elias at Baycom, Inc. made things incredibly easy, despite the fact that LeanSigma spent a lot of time on the decision-making process. “He was very patient.”
One of the biggest pluses, according to Groves is the equipment’s multiple channel feature. “We can run up to 12 different tour groups at the same time in the same manufacturing plant” with no loss of sound clarity and no disturbing ambient noise. Finally, she says about the equipment, “We can’t be more pleased.”

Komatsu America Tours

Komatsu America International Company, a manufacturer of earth moving equipment, uses Listen Technologies’ tour group listening systems for showing guests through their manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Komatsu tours customers, potential customers, distributors and corporate people through their plant during “Customer Field Days” in February and March each year. Seven tour guides simultaneously tour groups of 30 guests through the plant two days each week. Because of the large number of people on tour each day, Komatsu hands out a color-coded slip to each guest upon arrival. Thirty guests receive the same color slip while each color represents one tour group. The guide and an assistant with the same designated color hand out Listen headsets marked with that color. The guide and assistant can easily manage the devices and keep the guests together using this color coding system.

These tours help strengthen Komatsu’s relationship with existing customers and assist in impressing potential new customers with their manufacturing and customer service capabilities.

Because Listen receivers and portable transmitters can tune to up to 57 channels in the field with a push of a button, they can easily be turned away from interference, which can potentially come from machinery and other tours in the same facility. Seven Komatsu tours are conducted at one time without interference.

Use of rechargeable batteries within the Listen products along with drop-in charging cases make system management and distribution of product easy.

Komatsu America International manufactures earth-moving equipment such as excavators, wheel loaders, dozers, motor graders and dump trucks. Komatsu International is a unit of Komatsu Limited, a persified provider of industrial products and services.

This blog post has been re-purposed from a “Listen User Profile” of actual Listen customers detailing their experience with Listen Solutions.

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