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How schools can benefit from turnkey PA systems

How schools can benefit from turnkey PA systems

Mass notification or public address (PA) systems are important to schools, designed to share information quickly and over a wide area – regardless of where the recipients happen to be at the time. However, in many school projects, the PA is consisted of different components/subsystems from different suppliers. This can be troublesome for administrators who need to call different parties for repairs and maintenance. Getting a complete end-to-end solution would make much more business sense.

A recent case study involving Kent School, a boarding school based in Connecticut, illustrates this point. For years, the school used a mass notification system to quickly notify students, teachers and staff of emergencies or routine issues. Such systems are common in schools and universities in the U.S. but often comprise individual solutions from different suppliers. Because every minute counts when danger looms, the parallel use of different solutions often causes delays and even confusion.

It was at this point when the school decided to replace the old system with a new one, and it went to Siemens who then installed its Desigo mass notification system, equipped with integrated intelligent voice communication and individually addressable indoor and outdoor loudspeakers. The turnkey mass notification system was entirely installed by trained Siemens technicians.

“Before, it had been a challenge juggling the mix of different products from various manufacturers,” Siemens quoted school safety officer Brian Hunt as saying. “Working with Siemens, we were able to bundle all the campus applications under one roof and to blend the individual solutions into a harmonic whole.”

According to Siemens, alarms are issued over high-performing Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) loudspeakers as well as via text and e-mail messages, which can then be displayed on flat screens, LED displays, and desktop computers as well as sent via SMS, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Users must confirm they have read the message before they can continue to use their computer.

Siemens has also set up a general alarm function for Kent School: It prompts all students, teachers and staff to assemble at defined locations. According to the company, it has already retrofitted three buildings on campus, with two others to quickly follow.

“Unlike conventional systems, mass notification systems use many different channels to convey vital information. In addition to existing building safety, alarm and communication systems, they also take advantage of the most broadly used web-based communication technologies,” Siemens said in a press release. “With the ability to notify individuals over ubiquitous smartphones, computers and visual displays, a large number of people can be alerted extremely quickly. Especially in an age marked by increased danger, mass notification systems can make a significant contribution to safety.”

Product Adopted:
Public Address / Party Paging System

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