Date posted: September 3, 2014

New in-store solutions cover the spectrum for live and scheduled playback of audio content, including dynamic ad insertions

ZURICH/ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, September 3, 2014 — The upcoming InfoComm India show in Mumbai marks the official launch of Barix’s next-generation of in-store radio solutions in the Asia-Pacific region.  Highlighting solutions that generate revenue for end users and reduce costs for systems integrators, Barix will demonstrate IP audio strategies for consumer engagement that meet a vast array of business requirements.

Barix’s next-generation IP audio “products” comprise wholesale applications that bring multiple software and hardware components together into complete solutions, driving both new operational efficiencies and revenue-generating opportunities.  Visitors to the Barix stand at InfoComm India (Hall 1, B17 at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, September 17-19) can see how the company’s latest in-store radio solutions align with this solutions-oriented strategy.

Store & Play gives end users and integrators an in-store radio solution for retail stores and other location-based businesses that wish to schedule playout of audio and advertising content; and preserve network resources

“Barix’s years of experience developing IP audio and control solutions for in-store radio has advanced to a point where we offer two very distinct networked solutions, each offering benefits based on system scale, network resources and even general customer preference,” said Domenico Gambino, VP Sales, Barix.  “We are providing end users and integrators with an affordable, high-quality foundation to incorporate single or multichannel audio streams—along with revenue-generating advertising opportunities—into any organization’s promotional and entertainment strategies.  Barix’s knowledge and expertise in moving audio over networks ensures that our customers experience simple deployments, reliable operation and infinite scalability.”

Store & Play

Store & Play specifically offers a solution to retailers and businesses that want dynamic in-store radio programming without using too many network resources, and/or want more control locally over their playout schedules.  Store & Play allows customers to download music and advertising content off the network, and reliably play out that programming on schedule with excellent audio quality.  Exceptional download speeds and system memory preserve playback quality through demanding processing actions, while a built-in precision clock ensures that schedules remain intact in the event of network outages.

SoundScape

SoundScape allows comprehensive management of audio distribution over IP networks, offering a centralized management portal and audio players at multiple locations.  Users can manage, configure and group SoundScape audio players, schedule content and monitor device status network-wide.  The network-wide management capabilities of SoundScape further reduces costs and complexity by enabling remote firmware updates, log creation and more.  SoundScape delivers broadcast-quality programming with targeted, location-based advertising insertions that seamlessly fade in and out of music programs, as well as the ability to seamlessly switch between live and scheduled streams.

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Date posted: June 10, 2014

Custom solution reliably streams branded content to more than 30 stores in central Europe

Leading corporate music provider DMD2 of Switzerland has long trusted Barix IP audio solutions to stream branded audio content to businesses around Europe.  The company has again selected Barix for multipoint in-store radio, streaming high-quality custom music programs to 33 Bucherer retail jewelry stores in four countries.

Bucherer was founded in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1888, and is today the European retail leader for luxury watches and fine jewelry.  The Barix installation marks the first time Bucherer has used a live in-store radio service, with DMD2 crafting a specially branded music stream from a huge music library to match specifically the vibrant and elegant atmosphere of their stores.  The service gives the retail chain a high-quality audio program, producing a pleasant and consistent audio experience for customers.  The service is now live in stores across Switzerland, Germany, France and Austria.

The Barix IP-based delivery architecture also keeps employees focused on customer service instead of fumbling with CDs and the FM radio dial, removing the role of “in-store DJ” from the sales team’s job description.

“Bucherer have gained exceptional control over this part of their in-store branding with the Barix and DMD2 solution,” said Alexander Dal Farra, owner and president of DMD2.  “They are very happy with their choice.  The Barix solution also ensures that their existing audio equipment could be used for an overall cost-effective installation.  Additionally, the audio service is virtually maintenance free once it is up and running.”

The technical concept of the Barix and DMD2 solution was equally appealing to Bucherer.  The solution provides a low-latency, bandwidth-efficient live stream over the retail chain’s existing network, requiring no major updates at the store level.  The streams originate from the DMD2 offices in Bern, Switzerland, with direct connection to Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoders inside the stores.  The Exstreamers reliably play out AAC+ streams at a bitrate ideal for background music.

The Exstreamer models selected for this installation feature a front-panel display with artist/title and stream information, as well as MicroSD slot with backup music in the event of network failure.  That MicroSD slot additionally provides built-in content protection, eliminating the temptation for customers or employees to remove attached USB sticks with DMD2 in-store content.  Set up is simple and efficient,  and virtually no physical space is required due to the Exstreamer’s compact footprint.

Dal Farra adds that his success with Barix across similar in-store radio installations, including Victorinox retail stores in four countries, gave Bucherer the confidence they needed to modernize their in-store music approach.  DMD2 handles all Barix device configuration, service monitoring and music licensing for its in-store radio customers, further simplifying matters for retail customers like Bucherer.

“DMD2 has installed well over 1000 Barix Exstreamers across many businesses, each of which have varying network conditions,” said Dal Farra.  “That track record of success made it easy to convince Bucherer that it was smart to build their service on this technology.”

Date posted: November 21, 2013

Multichannel internet broadcaster specifies Barix Exstreamer 500 devices for reliable, cost-efficient and high-quality HD2 broadcasts at radio stations nationwide

IP audio and control specialist Barix is helping multichannel internet radio broadcaster Soma FM grow its presence in the over-the-air broadcast space, with Soma FM specifying reliable, affordable Barix IP Audio solutions for radio stations receiving its programs.

Soma FM is a multichannel internet radio broadcaster offering 27 channels of indie-leaning programs exploring rock, electronic and other music formats.  The listener-supported, commercial-free service streams its programs on its website and via a Roku streaming app in addition to supporting over-the-air HD Radio side channels, otherwise known as HD2 feeds.

Soma FM owner and president Rusty Hodge says that Barix helps to minimize costs for his over-the-air radio clients, which include KPBS-FM in San Diego, while providing radio stations with reliable, high-quality audio streams.

“The only other solution we considered for signal decoding and playout were desktop-class machines with professional grade audio cards, and these were three times the cost of Barix,” said Hodge.  “Barix eliminates the need to worry about problems like software upgrades and security issues.  They are compact, and don’t consume much power.  Foremost, they are extremely reliable.”

The last point is the most tangible benefit for Hodge, as he also employs Barix Instreamer audio encoders for remote broadcasts.  One recent remote project focused on encoding live broadcast feeds from the Kennedy Space Center to cover space shuttle launches.  Soma FM also recently produced live broadcasts from the DEFCON hacker conference in Las Vegas.

Additionally, Soma FM encodes police scanner feeds to enhance certain electronic music programs heard on its website.  “Think of it as using Barix as a mixer,” said Hodge.  “We connect the scanner to the Instreamer, which injects a priority stream over the music feed.  It allows us to do something that you often hear in live or recorded electronic music but is unique for radio broadcasting.”

Hodge also acts as a consultant for large commercial radio networks, and he often specifies Barix solutions for these stations based on his experience.  He especially likes the Exstreamer 500, which offers broadcast-quality inputs and outputs among other professional features.  Reliability aside, Hodge points out that Barix produces excellent audio quality, with flexible format and bitrate options to meet various network and bandwidth requirements.

“We rely on Barix solutions to feed the broadcasters, as they typically don’t want super hi-fi feeds due to network congestion issues,” said Hodge.  “They simply plug in the devices at the stations and get great sounding broadcast audio.  And to date we have never had to reboot or power cycle one of their devices.”

Date posted: June 10, 2013

Unique solution enables customers to bypass ISP policies and preserve network bandwidth for non-critical communications

IP audio and control specialist Barix introduces a unique solution helping media companies, businesses and other multi-site network users to route multicast traffic over remote network links, enabling bandwidth-efficient, multicast delivery over the public internet.

Multicast uses special destination addresses to target groups of subscribed devices, and deliver data and streams such as voice (general paging) and audio (background music).  In contrast to standard connections where each device needs its own stream, multicast data distribution requires only a single stream to send the same content to any number of receivers on the same network segment, minimizing bandwidth and network usage.  Multicast delivery is traditionally limited to private, in-house networks as Internet Service Providers block multicast traffic on normal Internet connections.

Barix has developed a unique multicast routing and tunneling firmware that turns its Barionet IP control devices into flexible, multisite multicast routers — effectively enabling delivery of multicast traffic over the public internet to remote locations.  The solution forwards multicast IP blocks to remote receiving devices, re-packed as unicast streams.  The receiving devices then re-issue the packets as multicast on the destination network.

“This solution addresses challenging situations for systems integrators and network operators that want to use multicast transport between subnets but have previously been blocked from doing so,” said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO and Founder of Barix AG.  “We are effectively bridging multiple multicast groups between multiple sites for general data and our specialty, Audio over IP, preserving network bandwidth and increasing the efficiency of remote communication.”

Using Multicast, system integrators can configure Barix IP Audio systems with more flexibility and less labor as streams are concurrently distributed to many nodes using IP multicast delivery.  This minimizes streaming bandwidth requirements and simplifies configuration; it is not necessary to know the IP address of each individual receiver on the network.  Instead, subscription protocols are employed so that relevant receivers – such as a Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoder – receive relevant streams, even if they use dynamic, unknown IP addresses.

The Barix multicast routing and tunneling solution can be deployed across a large number of scenarios as functionality is independent of actual protocols.  This enables the firmware to be used alongside automation, IP audio, video, VoIP, SIP or RTP streams, for example.  Furthermore, the entire operation can be monitored over SNMP to enable a complete bird’s eye view of system efficiency.

Date posted: June 6, 2013

Leading corporate music provider DMD2 of Switzerland is bringing fresh energy to newly remodeled Victorinox retail stores on two continents using IP-based in-store media solutions from Barix.  The Barix devices reliably play out a unique and exciting DMD2-programmed music mix that meets the retail giant’s new branding requirements.

DMD2, which also handles Barix device configuration, service monitoring and music licensing, chose Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoders for playout due to their high audio quality and reliability.  DMD2 delivers the program as a single stream across seven stores in Europe and five in Hong Kong.

The Barix IP in-store audio solution, as programmed by DMD2, eliminates the “everybody’s a DJ” approach previously practiced across Victorinox retail stores.

Habegger AG, a Swiss event and corporate architecture supplier, engaged with DMD2 to develop an in-store music concept that matched the new Victorinox store designs.  The channel development phase gave birth to the “Victorinox music mix,” constantly updated with new releases as part of an eclectic music mix from the 70s to the early 2000s.

This was a new concept to the Victorinox stores as many used CD players, FM tuners or iPods to play music.  DMD2 considered Barix an ideal partner to transition the stores to IP audio delivery, as many of the tools to support the new stream were well suited for Barix hardware.  The music originates from datacenters in Bern, Switzerland and is delivered to Barix Exstreamer devices in each store as 64kb/s mp3 streams, with expectations to add AAC+ streams moving forward.

“We’ll eventually switch to AAC+ 48kbps encoding to increase stream stability for retail stores in the more remote areas,” said Alexander dal Farra, owner and president of DMD2.  “The flexibility of Barix devices is a big benefit in this regard, as the Exstreamer offers both MP3 and AAC+ decoding functionality.  This makes migration to AAC+ an easy task.”

DMD2 engaged with a Swiss corporate events company to develop an in-store music concept that matched the new Victorinox store designs.

With stores in such cities as Zurich, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong and Geneva, Victorinox now has a corporate audio solution that gives exceptional control to the brand management department.

“It’s no longer an ‘everybody is a DJ’ approach within the different store locations,” said dal Farra.  “This streamlined process has also brought a fair amount of convenience to the store staff as there is no more music editorial work, licensing or normalizing of tracks.”

Dal Farra added that the new solution also provides Victorinox headquarters with the option to introduce real-time advertisements using ad injection software — a potential revenue generator that would quickly monetize the new in-store audio network.

Date posted: April 2, 2013

New enhancements to radio broadcast, partyline intercom solutions enhance quality and streamline configuration

Barix comes to the 2013 NAB Show with new enhancements to its professional two-way IP audio solutions for broadcast radio and intercom, improving quality in sound and communications.  Barix also continues to simplify system setup for customers, eliminating traditional IP configuration processes to have customers streaming audio within minutes.

The company will show its Partyline Intercom solution at the 2013 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth C144), highlighting open-channel communications across multiple parties without audio interference — especially ideal in fast-paced video production environments.  New enhancements eliminate the need to configure IP addresses and servers, stripping away the complexity often associated with multipoint IP audio system setup.

Barix will demonstrate how camera operators and other production personnel can use the compact Annuncicom PS1 on the move, utilizing a push-to-talk button with selectable audio channels to facilitate communications amongst directors and production personnel.

Radio Broadcast Solutions

Barix enhances its Exstreamer 500 bi-directional audio device at the 2013 NAB Show to improve audio quality and streaming flexibility.   The device now supports both constant and variable bitrate, with the former added to simplify streaming to Shoutcast and Icecast servers – pertinent for extending how broadcasters incorporate Barix IP audio solutions for live streaming and syndicated program distribution.  A new chip improves quality of the analog-to-digital conversion path to enhance professional broadcast sound.

The Exstreamer 500 is a multiprotocol encoder and decoder with balanced audio and professional I/O options for signal relay and control.  In broadcast, it is ideal for STL and remote contribution applications.  Broadcasters can simplify configuration using the Exstreamer 500 with the Barix Reflector Service, creating a complete streaming audio solution that replicates a received stream to an unlimited number of destinations through the public internet.  The Reflector Service is based on a simple server-client architecture that removes IP address, server and other configuration hassles.

Date posted: November 6, 2012

ADTEC Communications builds innovative solution to enable more efficient recording and delivery of stock announcements to traders

The Australian Securities Exchange has simplified and enhanced the way it broadcasts stock information to subscribed traders, replacing an aging analog infrastructure with a new digital announcement system using Barix IP audio products.  The upgrade allows ASX Group, the overarching brand responsible for a diverse range of Australian business market service activities, to record and deliver stock announcements to more traders with better efficiency.

ASX Group has gradually transitioned its audio delivery infrastructure from expensive leased line and copper circuit connections to an IP streaming solution.  The initial phase added centralized streaming servers to deliver stock announcements to customer locations, where Barix Exstreamer 100 IP audio devices received and decoded announcements for traders.

The latest phase focuses on the central announcement system, replacing large, multi-seat analog announcement consoles with modern single-seat consoles to reduce system size and complexity.  ADTEC Communications, the console manufacturer and systems integrator, incorporated Barix Annuncicom 1000 IP audio devices for control and streaming functionality.

Supplied by Australian distributor Lan 1, the Barix offering simplifies the entire record and transmission process for stock announcements.  Foremost, it reduces the number of distinct audio destination channels from each ADTEC Communications console from twelve to two (one channel for internal and one for external destinations).   The Annuncicom 1000 also includes inputs and outputs to integrate with existing analog recorders and digital streaming servers — offering a clear path to a digital recording environment.

Australian Securities Exchange network administrators can control all Annuncicom 1000 record and transmission paths from the new consoles via an integrated, easy-to-use web panel.  This simplifies administration of the overall system, reducing labor and operational complexities associated with the previous system.

“Barix helped us develop a unique, custom audio solution that integrates existing technologies with cutting-edge digital solutions that ASX Group can use with efficiency today and expand moving forward,” said Jon Bolton, director, ADTEC Communications.  Bolton added that he is working with Barix to develop a multicast solution for ASX Group to expand network distribution capabilities moving forward — essentially allowing subscribers to “opt in” for specific announcements.

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Date posted: September 4, 2012

Demonstration to emphasize significance of audio integration into IP video systems for life safety and security

Barix AG, a pioneer in IP-based audio, intercom, control, and monitoring, will exhibit at ASIS International (September 10-13, Philadelphia Convention Center) for the first time – bringing its range of IP audio and control solutions to the professional security end user.

Barix will exhibit within the Milestone Systems booth (#3126), underlining the increasing significance of audio in surveillance operations, and the importance of improving audio quality and flexibility of distribution for live paging and public address.

“Security professionals have realized that video is no longer enough,” said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO and founder of Barix AG.  “Human beings have ears and a mouth to go with the eyes, and there is a clear advantage when all three of these senses are used in surveillance and other security-related applications.  The ability to cleanly integrate high-quality audio and video over a common IP network delivers cost savings and greatly simplifies installation for the user.”

Many video-centric security industry vendors have already integrated Barix audio over IP into their solutions, including industry leaders such as Milestone Systems.  Milestone integrates Barix Exstreamer one-way and Annuncicom two-way IP audio devices into Milestone XProtect IP video management software to support paging and public address (one-way); and audio surveillance and intercom (two-way).  Milestone also supports Barix Barionet IP control devices within its XProtect software to bridge physical device and software layers, effectively triggering camera movements and activating video recording based on motion, lights, doorbells and other events.

The low-cost Barix Annuncicom 60 two-way audio device for surveillance, public address and intercom among other applications.

Barix will show its latest IP audio and control devices on the Milestone booth, including the Annuncicom 60 introduced this June and being shown to security audiences for the first time.  The Annuncicom 60 is a low-cost IP audio device that serves as a gateway between VoIP, IP paging and intercom systems, and traditional components including call boxes, loudspeakers and microphones.  The device offers plenty of flexibility, with operators able to issue verbal warnings or instructions to people under surveillance; or to communicate with callers at an SOS help point, for example.

Barix will also demonstrate how its latest Exstreamer audio output devices with Power over Ethernet (PoE) and built-in amplification can help end users consolidate and minimize technology components at end points — simplifying infrastructure and reducing deployment costs while offering very high audio quality for voice clarity.

Marcel van der Meijs, vice president of sales and marketing for Barix, will offer a presentation on Barix integration to XProtect at 11am, Wednesday, September 12 at the Milestone booth.  Attendees will learn how IP audio can help security personnel more effectively draw attention to criminals, monitor activity and communicate, reliably trigger video recordings and alarms, and even deliver background music over the same network — with priority interruptions for page messages, warnings and security announcements.

“There is no limit to the benefits that audio can bring to video-centric security systems,” said van der Meijs.  “The ability to talk back to a location in a city surveillance project, for example, can easily prevent a crime from taking place.  And the ability to trigger lights and video in dark areas based on audio events can offer security personnel a clear picture into what is happening.  Meanwhile, gunshots, screams and other emergency situations captured by these devices can automatically trigger alarms for immediate attention from monitoring centers.  These are all important benefits that can make a real difference.”

 

Date posted: July 24, 2012

M.M.S. Srl (Milano Music Service) selects Barix as Audio over IP streaming solution for VII World Meeting of Families

Audio over IP pioneer Barix AG provided a high-quality streaming solution for the VII World Meeting of Families at the Bresso Airport near Milan, Italy, wirelessly delivering religious services in real-time to more than 300 loudspeakers positioned throughout the grounds.

The crowd at Bresso Airport – Barix streamed high-quality live audio of the Pope and other religious leaders to more than 300 loudspeaker points.

The Catholic Church organizes the World Meeting of Families every three years.  This year’s five-day event was held May 30 through June 3, including two main services led by Pope Benedict XVI.  An estimated one million people were on hand at Bresso Airport to witness the services, which were also broadcast on television worldwide.

M.M.S. Srl, a premier Italian audio/visual company, provided the audio distribution installation and selected Barix IP audio products for their reliability and cost-efficiency.  Four Barix Exstreamer 500 devices encoded the audio for streaming over an Ubiquiti Nanostation 5 AirMax 5.4 Ghz network, feeding four transmission towers.

The Exstreamer 500 devices provided the very low latency required to deliver pristine-quality audio streams in real-time.

Milano Music Service does their soundcheck in advance of the event

M.M.S. Srl also connected 22 Barix Exstreamer 100 devices to Ubiquiti Nanostation receivers for reliable audio decoding at the loudspeaker points.  The loudspeakers were distributed amongst 24 towers to cover numerous audio paths, with the most distant end points located approximately three-quarters of a mile from the stage.

“It was imperative that the audio was carried wirelessly, and the other products we tested did not come close to the consistency of the Barix products,” said Domenico Carnuccio, sound engineer, M.M.S. Srl.  “They allowed us to deploy a strong audio network in a short amount of time and at a reasonable price.”

 

Date posted: April 30, 2012

Industry-first solution reduces costs and manual processes for interfacing on-hold messaging with enterprise IP phone systems

MOH Technology AG, a solutions developer specializing in audio distribution and monitoring applications, announces a groundbreaking on-hold messaging solution that minimizes costs and simplifies insertion into Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems — with a new customer deployment to prove it.

Thanks For Holding, offering high-quality message-on-hold and related audio services to brands and businesses worldwide, was the first company to successfully deploy the innovative MOH Technology solution.   Thanks For Holding injects on-hold messaging directly into Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) systems operated by Kendall Auto Group of Alaska at dealerships in Fairbanks and Wasilla – with a third site in Anchorage nearing deployment.

On-hold messaging is marketing material, with most companies using external agencies such as Thanks For Holding to provide professional content.  The advent of VoIP changes the straightforward nature of plugging on-hold players into analog PBX phone systems:  The systems are now installed and operated by IT departments, and the idea of installing third party files on the phone server is typically not well-received.

The Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoder is the only hardware component required for establishing MOH Technology on-hold messaging solutions on Cisco Unified CallManager and Asterisk VoIP phone systems

The MOH Technology innovation injects real-time IP audio streams directly to VoIP phone systems such as Asterisk and CallManager, using a low-cost IP audio device that is separate from the VoIP server — avoiding the need to update files on the server.

“The biggest challenge in our industry is the migration from analog telephones to the digital world,” said Michael Newman, president, Thanks For Holding.  “Cisco CallManager is the biggest and most robust digital phone system in the world today, and interfacing on-hold messaging to these systems has proven to be a challenge.  The MOH Technology solution provides the telecom industry’s first easy and effective way to distribute content to businesses that have migrated to CallManager systems.”

Thanks For Holding manages on-hold messaging programs for the Kendall Auto Group of Alaska from its offices, updating the mix of background music, advertisements and promotions using the MOH Technology system.  Meanwhile, IP-addressable Barix devices at the receiving locations listen for updates and download new on-hold programs for playback over CallManager phones.

Newman adds that the main benefit beyond minimizing costs is the simplification of the entire process.  The MOH Technology automated solution makes e-mailing audio files to the customer — and hoping the audio is downloaded and applied in time for new promotions and events — a concern of the past.

“The benefit for Kendall Auto Group and our other customers is that we can manage and monitor their on-hold messages,” said Newman.  “Changes to programs are made remotely and automatically, requiring no action on their end.  Meanwhile, customers calling in will hear a mix of instrumental music and information meant to educate, entertain and ultimately inspire them to become buyers.”

David Gostick of MOH Technology adds that the solution puts users ahead of the curve as the Telecom industry increasingly moves towards touch-free, IP delivery.  He notes that on-hold content providers will have to adapt to this innovation.

“The majority of traditional phone systems are nearing the end of their useful lives, and as businesses change out older systems, they are replacing them with IP-based ones.” said Gostick.  “We are leading the way with a solution that can directly stream IP audio for on-hold messaging into CallManager, Asterisk and other VoIP systems.  This is all about building a better IP delivery system for the digital telephony age.”

MOH Technology will show its latest solution at the OHMA Conference, taking place May 9-11 at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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