Bringing together integrators, codes, technologies, and customers, NSCA has been working to educate and engage integrators in the MNEC (mass notification and emergency communications) market. We view it as one of the biggest new-market opportunities that exist across all markets for integrators today.
When integrators get involved, MNEC systems can go far beyond one-way and two-way emergency communications systems that don’t scale with room size. MNEC is possible only when true partnerships and synergy are formed between integrators, technologies, and public safety initiatives.
The Challenges of MNEC Systems
In schools, offices, hospitals, and government agencies, it’s not uncommon for emergency communications to consist of a barely intelligible message from a 4-inch loudspeaker – room size often isn’t taken into account. This results in large, noisy, reverberant spaces being served by the same limited-fidelity strobe loudspeakers as the small, dead-office environment. The intuitive “fix” is to add more fixtures. But doing this can actually reduce emergency message intelligibility. A broader pallet of tools and different types of expertise are required to deliver MNEC messages in large spaces.
The good news: The tools and expertise already exist. The reproduction of intelligible speech in large, noisy, reverberant spaces is right up the alley of the sound-reinforcement industry. In fact, there’s a good chance that the difficult acoustic space that can’t be reached by fire-strobe messages already has a sound-reinforcement system used to communicate daily to occupants. Why not route the emergency announcements to the house sound system? That’s exactly what NFPA 72 has been expanded to allow.
Bridging the Gap: Fire Alarm and Sound Reinforcement
There are two paths to bridge the divide between the fire alarm and sound reinforcement industries to increase MNEC system effectiveness:
- Equip fire-alarm companies to deploy sound-reinforcement solutions
- Bring MNEC systems into the scope of the sound-reinforcement professional
Both paths require training, and fundamental to each is the need for selecting and placing loudspeakers based on the room’s acoustics. Once an intelligible system has been designed, there is a need for MNEC system integration.
How can integrators learn the fundamentals? A new, in-person training opportunity from Synergetic Audio Concepts Inc. is a great place to start.
ECS Design and Deployment will reduce the learning curve and help fire-alarm and sound-reinforcement professionals capitalize on code changes. Located in Washington, DC, on Nov. 9-12, the event is approved for 32 RUs and is split into two parts: design and deployment.
ECS Part 1 – Design
Instructor: Pat Brown
No longer is the question simply: “How many loudspeakers?” It is now: “What kind of loudspeaker(s) will produce intelligible speech in this acoustic environment? Where should they be placed?” It’s a whole new ball game requiring a whole new skill set.
Learn about a system design process that produces intelligible speech in the presence of noise and/or reverberation. A site visit will demonstrate the site-survey process – part of the system design process – presented earlier in the classroom.
ECS Part 2 – Deployment
Instructors: Wayne Moore, Larry Rietz, Sander van Wijngaarden
In this session, you’ll learn the entire three-step deployment process:
- Understanding code
- Integration of the emergency communications system with the sound system
- Testing the finished system
Attendees will also learn how an electro-acoustic device energizes a space so that design can be optimized and outcomes can be anticipated with greater efficiency (and often at reduced labor and equipment costs).
Learn more about the November ECS Design and Deployment event here.