In this 2020 Pivot to Profit Series column, Axis Communications’ Chris Wildfoerster contends that many integrators don’t fully capitalize on network audio. Isn’t it time you tapped into a multi-billion-dollar market?
Speakers outnumber surveillance cameras in most projects. Because most of these audio installations utilize analog technology, it’s a great untapped market for conversion to network audio.
Whether replacing, converting, or migrating an antiquated analog audio system, network audio provides a powerful, end-to-end solution that adds tremendous value to your customers’ IP video camera systems. And it provides you with revenue opportunities you can’t afford to ignore!
How Network Audio Benefits Your Customers
Network audio isn’t just about speakers: It’s about creating an end-to-end solution that enhances your customers’ safety, security, and business operations.
In the face of a still-surging pandemic, businesses are working around the clock to implement new norms to help curb the spread of the virus, reopen their doors, and stay open. Integrating network audio with security cameras can help promote adherence to safety guidelines. When video cameras with analytics detect people approaching the property, for example, they can trigger a network speaker to broadcast a reminder to mask up and use hand sanitizer.
Network audio can also complement occupancy management. When video analytics determine that the venue has reached mandated maximum capacity, network speakers can broadcast a message to customers about waiting to enter.
The audio system can also broadcast information about current sales and daily specials to heighten interest while customers wait. At airports and retail stores, network audio can be tied to security cameras at the checkout area to remind shoppers to maintain social distancing while they’re in line.
Intelligent video cameras are great for recording when someone enters a restricted area or loiters too long in one place. When integrated with network audio, the cameras can trigger a speaker to broadcast a warning to trespassers that they’re being watched and police are on their way. Or they can tell a student to stop lingering in the hall and get back to class. A verbal message at the instance of an event deters unwanted behavior.
While cameras are good at seeing events unfold, sometime what you hear outside a camera’s field of view can reveal an impending threat.
Audio analytics can help point the camera in the right direction or provide an early warning of potential problems. Voice pattern detection distinguishes between an exuberant crowd and an angry mob — or between students joking around and an aggressive confrontation. Based on what it senses, the system can send a real-time alert to security or school administrators to intercede. Gunshot detection can trigger rapid response, whether it’s to implement school lockdown protocol or make an automatic call to local law enforcement. Glass-breaking detection can help catch a burglar or vandal in the act.
In addition to text and email alerts, network audio can help warn people of impending danger – weather alerts, chemical spills, active shooters, etc. – along with providing instructions on what they should do. Customers can use it to broadcast live or pre-recorded evacuation instructions, shelter-in-place procedures, or other directions to follow.
Network audio plays a key role in enhancing the retail shopping experience. End-users can easily customize the audio experience (music, live, or pre-recorded announcements) within various areas of a store or across an entire chain.
Network audio can be used for queue management, directing customers to the next available ticket taker, teller, or check-in line. Network audio can also be used in parking garages to deter illegal activity or on warehouse floors to remind employees not to block emergency exits.
For more examples of how network audio can help customers improve security, safety, and business operations, see Network Audio in Schools and Network Audio for Security.
Choosing the Right IP Audio Solution
Axis’ audio solutions portfolio begins with audio management software that helps your customers play the right content in the right places whenever they want. The software gives them the flexibility to control and customize their entire speaker ecosystem from a single, intuitive dashboard. A simple drop-and-drag interface makes it easy to preset or reconfigure speakers in real time, define audio zones, set volumes, and mix live and pre-recorded announcements with ads and background music. It also allows users to plan, schedule content, and more.
AXIS Audio Manager Edge, which comes pre-installed on all Axis audio devices, is designed for systems with up to 200 speakers and up to 20 audio zones. AXIS Audio Manager Pro Series, sold separately, is designed for larger sites with more advanced audio installations. It comes with an unlimited number of licenses so you can increase audio ecosystems to meet growing needs.
The award-winning AXIS C3003-E Network Horn Speaker offers customers a high-quality loudspeaker that projects crystal-clear audio over long distances. Because it’s a network device that supports VoIP, an operator can remotely deliver live messages or program the horn to automatically broadcast a pre-recorded audio file in response to an activity triggered by a network camera. Installation is easy: Just connect the horn directly to an IP network via a PoE switch. Mounting a horn under IP cameras and adding analytics is a cost-effective way to turn a passive security system into a proactive deterrence solution that saves your client money.
The AXIS C1004-E Network Cabinet Speaker and AXIS C2005 Network Ceiling Speaker offer a complete, high-quality, all-in-one loudspeaker that brings intelligence from the rack to the edge. These PoE-powered, SIP-enabled devices feature an amplifier, scheduling, health monitoring, recorded messages, and more. They can be used to broadcast live messages, stream music, and/or schedule pre-recorded announcements across the entire network or to targeted zones as needed. The award-winning AXIS C1410 Network Mini Speaker, designed to discretely blend into smaller spaces, offers the same functionality as its larger, all-in-one cousins with the addition of a built-in PIR sensor for motion detection.
Related: Watch Chris Wildfoerster discuss network audio in a P2P Series interview
Converting Analog Speakers to Full-Featured Network Audio Systems
Maybe your client doesn’t have the budget to replace their legacy analog audio system but wants to add scheduling, analytics, messaging, and more. Axis has the answer!
The AXIS C8210 Network Amplifier and AXIS C8033 Network Bridge provide passive analog audio system with network capabilities. These simple plug-in devices allow analog systems and IP speakers to work in unison, fully leveraging music streaming, live and pre-recorded announcements, scheduling, system health monitoring, and more.
SEE it with Axis Cameras, SAY it with Axis Speakers, and DO it with Axis Analytics
Now is a perfect time to add network audio to your portfolio. Just like the migration from analog video to IP revolutionized video surveillance, IP audio is poised to do the same for analog audio at a much faster pace. Let Axis show you how network audio’s reliability, flexibility, and scalability can boost your profits while saving your clients money and increasing their piece of mind.
Chris Wildfoerster is Axis Communications’ business development manager for audio.