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Putting Students’ Imaginations to Work with ListenPoint 2.0

Let’s face it. Other than parents, teachers have the greatest influence over children, so it is essential that students hear well in the classroom. That’s why we released ListenPoint 2.0, our latest Soundfield solution—we wanted to make learning limitless.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Shakespeare had never learned to read? What if Einstein hadn’t had the opportunity to learn calculus? How different would our lives be if Steve Jobs couldn’t hear his kindergarten teacher? Without Jobs, we’d all still be using those crazy brick cell phones from the 1980’s! #lame #nomobileapps #howwouldiplaycandycrushsaga

Students learn best in environments where they can focus on what their teachers are saying. Unfortunately, several factors can get in the way. Some students have trouble focusing because they have hearing loss or are too far away from the teacher. Meanwhile, the classroom itself might have poor acoustics, or the teacher could have a strained voice from talking too loudly or too long.

In today’s classrooms, students have a lot of creative and innovative thinking to do. ListenPoint 2.0 helps them put their imaginations to work. It can also have a positive effect on their grades and test scores.* #bettergradesareawesome #A+ #listenpointisgenius

ListenPoint 2.0 delivers the following key benefits:

  • With mission critical deployments, it is the most advanced, flexible, scalable Soundfield system delivered by a trusted authority in the pro-AV market.
  • It incorporates AV technology and assistive listening systems to create enhanced and enriched learning environments for all students.
  • It is easy to install, operate, maintain, and adds more functionality over time.
  • It couples competitive pricing with advanced features.

We are truly excited to be part of a noble mission—educating students to become extraordinary people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Marrs Report, 2006

Cooperating for Better Communication: Listen Technologies Helps Sponsor the Grand Prize for a Member of the League of California Cities

The League of California Cities is a an association of city officials who work together to enhance their skills, exchange information, and combine their resources, so that they can influence policy and decisions that affect cities throughout the State of California. All of its members have several things in common, of which the most important is conducting the business of government with effective communication, transparency, openness, respect, and civility.

So it’s no surprise that the League wanted to include Listen Technologies Interpretation products as their grand prize giveaway at their most recent expo and conference. Listen’s products not only allow city officials to better hear each other, but the products also allow concerned citizens and members of California communities to better hear proceedings in city meetings in their own language.

Linguistic Isolation

 

According to the Public Policy Institute of California 29% of immigrants live in households where no one older than the age 13 speaks English “very well.” Among households in California in linguistic isolation Spanish is the most common language spoken at 64%, followed by Chinese at 9%, and Vietnamese at 5%.
Including this kind of equipment from Listen Technologies definitely allows members of the League of California Cities to conduct their business with more transparency, respect, and civility, because it ensures everyone’s opportunity to hear in their own language.

Getting the Grand Prize

 

Every year, the League of California Cities gathers together for their annual expo and conference. This event features a series of discussions, keynote speakers, and breakout classes for all kinds of California city delegates and a huge show floor of exhibitors and a grand prize drawing at the end of the event. Along with Bill Feyling of Smart Cities Prevail, Listen Technologies was very proud to help sponsor the grand prize drawing at this event.
When the initial research was being done to see what prize should be given away at the expo, Rebecca Inman from the League of California Cities asked the League’s Legislative Director, Dan Carrigg, if he was aware of any products that all of the members could benefit from and find useful. Carrigg recommended to Inman that she reach out to the Institute for Local Government, because they own Listen Technologies devices and make them available to local agencies, use them at town hall meetings, and other various outreach programs. It seemed that Listen Technologies was the way to go! What city wouldn’t want a prize that could do all of that?
At this point, a questionnaire was sent out to city clerks and managers about the Listen equipment. Inman received a lot of positive feedback. She states, “Because the majority of city clerks and city managers responded with an overwhelming ‘yes’ to our related questionnaire, we solicited our exhibitors for its [the Listen equipment’s] sponsorship.”
One of the first partners the League reached out to was Bill Feyling of Smart Cities Prevail. As a Platinum Partner with the League of California Cities, Feyling thought that the equipment from Listen Technologies that Inman suggested was a great prize to offer. “The prize was very popular. We displayed it at our booth and we had a lot of people coming up to look at it,” Feyling said. “It was a practical thing for cities to have. It gives more access to people in different communities, especially with its ability to offer interpretation. We were excited to be part of the sponsorship.”
Once Inman and Feyling were on board, Cory Schaeffer, one of Listen’s Co-Founders and VP of Sales Worldwide, stepped in to help donate the rest of the equipment. “It was a great opportunity for Listen to help co-sponsor the grand prize giveaway for the League of California Cities with Smart Cities Prevail. Our Interpretation Systems are perfect for what a city needs, because they provide multiple uses. The city can use them as tour guide equipment, an assistive listening system, and of course, for language interpretation. We were very happy to be able to help provide this technology to a member of the League of California Cities.”
And that was that. With the co-sponsorship of Listen Technologies and Smart Cities Prevail, the League of California Cities had their grand prize for their expo.

And the Winner Is…

 

The winner was announced at the expo with the fanfare of a drum roll and we’re sure many applause. Who was the winner? The wonderful City of El Paso de Robles. We’d love to thank everyone involved in this great opportunity and send our congratulations to the City of El Paso de Robles. We hope you enjoy your Interpretation System from Listen Technologies and we’re certain that it will help you conduct your city business with more transparency, openness, respect, and civility.

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

The tastiest tours in Portland, Maine are at the Allagash Brewing Company thanks to Listen

Located on the outskirts of Portland, Maine, the Allagash Brewing Company started as a one-man operation in 1995. Founder and beer enthusiast, Rob Tod, had noticed that while both British and German styles of beer were prevalently represented among the craft brewing movement, there was a style that was missing and he was thirsty for it. Through his travels and adventures, Tod had grown quite fond of Belgian-style beer and he felt that it was high-time that the American drinking public had a taste.

Fast forward a few years and the Allagash Brewing Company has six styles of Belgian beer offered year round, as well as numerous other, more exclusive offerings. Last fall, the brewery decided to expand their original space. This expansion, while fantastic for business growth, left Allagash faced with a particular problem in regards to one of the benefits they offer their onsite visitors: their guided tours were simply too noisy and people who went on them would often stand around and not experience it the way it was meant to be experienced. The reason for this was that tour-goers couldn’t hear what was being said. There is a great deal of ambient noise from the brewery itself, as well as a combination of sounds from the employees’ music and the bottles in the bottling room—you can imagine how noisy the sound of bottle after bottle being filled with delicious Belgian-style beer can get! “The brewery can be a very loud place,” says Jill Sacco of Allagash. “Guests often missed much of what was being said and it was exhausting for the guides, as well.”

This conundrum led Sacco to seek out David Keely of Headlight AV for a solution. “Originally, Allagash wanted to have a system that broadcast sound throughout the brewery on speakers, but with all of the ambient noise, I knew that wasn’t the ideal way to go,” said Keely when asked about the initial stages of solving the brewery tour problem. “I knew there was a much better solution, so I suggested they consider equipment from Listen.” That solution turned out to be our tour group equipment.

Listen’s Portable RF products allow Allagash Brewery’s visitors to understand every word their guides say. During the summer months, the brewery has as many as 1500 people per week that visit their facility. Their new Listen equipment has made obvious improvements for their guests, as well as their tour guides. “The fact that all of our guests can easily hear the guide at all times is wonderful, as well as much safer. The guides love it, because they can talk in a normal voice, so it is much more relaxing for them. And the guys who work in the brewhouse love it, because they don’t have to listen to us yell at a group of people multiple times per day,” Sacco says.  Since receiving their Listen equipment, the employees at Allagash have also built a special stand to hold their tour group system to make it easier for visitors to pick up and return their receivers.
Allagash has a clear commitment to their customers, from the incredible beers they craft, to the positive experiences they create while guests visit their brewery facilities. We are very happy they chose Listen to be a part of their ongoing efforts to create better experiences for their visitors. Cheers to you, Allagash!

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.

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:

Induction Loops In Museums

Utilising induction loops for applications such as museum exhibits where attendees tend to be moving through a space in a short period of time and therefore cannot easily access loan equipment, is a common practice.  Since the majority of new hearing aids have T-coils installed, users equipped with these do not need to request extra equipment to receive the signal.  The only requirement being  to simply move a switch from ‘M’ to ‘T’ (mic’ to T-Coil) on the hearing  aid.

In a museum, where the user will be moving across a number of exhibits, assistive listening solutions using RF/FM which by its nature is a “broadcast medium” require users ask for equipment and be directed to change frequencies to pick up a specific audio feeds or areas.
Hearing loops can be designed to confine their coverage to tightly defined local areas for the benefit of both the hearing impaired and non-hearing impaired, by delivering audio for an exhibit to the viewer/attendee by having them simply move into that loop area.
The normally abled user would be provided with a loop-listener which works on the same principal as the T-Coil in the hearing aid.  For this type of application a low overspill area coverage system would be designed. This noticeably improves the user experience and eliminates the possibility of user error.
Another significant benefit with these types of induction loop systems is the ability for addition of further looped areas at a later date.  Low overspill induction loop systems provide an opportunity for further expansion without tearing out existing systems with the related cost and disruption. For example; when an exhibit is added locally within the museum, the field from the existing loop(s) is already localised to the specific area of the current exhibit(s) and therefore no issue with cross talk or addition of more RF channels has to be addressed.
In order for a system like this to work satisfactorily the electromagnetic noise floor must be clear of background noise produced by units such as transformers. Occasionally people complain that induction loops are noisy when you step outside the looped area. This is not noise produced by the loop but rather, electromagnetic background noise produced by noisy transformers or bad wiring practice within the building, such as live and neutral power being separated by a long distance and forming a loop, causing the signal to noise ratio to be much higher than is acceptable. In most situations where a buildings electrical wiring is modern and the loop is positioned away from any noisy transformers this noise outside a low overspill loop is too low to notice.
The following is an example of a museum system  that utilises a combination of localised systems and low overspill induction loops to provide a free moving ‘guided tour’ to its patrons allowing them to move seamlessly between exhibits without having to conform to a pre meditated tour or change between channels when moving between exhibits. As you can see a large number of areas are covered simultaneously.
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