Case Studies

- An OEM Success Story -

The U.S. Dept. of Education commissioned our client, Oval Window Audio of Nederland, Colorado (OWA), to develop a new sound reinforcement system for use in schools for the hearing impaired.

Adverse acoustical environments often found in classrooms have led to a proliferation of small sound reinforcement systems generally referred to as sound field systems (SFS). Previous studies support the fact that background noise conditions in classrooms fluctuate widely as a result of poor acoustics and numerous intermittent noise sources (HVAC systems, A/V equipment and many other internal and external noise sources) which interfere with the intelligibility of what the teacher is saying. Even with sound reinforcement, many students can only hear parts of the lesson, due to interference or masking by the background noise. Currently available SFS's are static systems which require manual volume control to respond to these variable background noise conditions. However, continuous manual adjustment, in the classroom, is simply not practical. What is needed is a SFS that can control itself, automatically, in response to fluctuating levels of ambient noise - much like a thermostat responds automatically to fluctuations in temperature by turning the heat on or off .

The US Dept of Education's objective was to address the shortcomings with current SFS's with the development of new, intelligent equipment that would make it easier for students and particularly hearing impaired students, to hear lessons in the classroom.

OWA has developed a unique solution to this problem called SmartSpeaker Intelligence™ Ambient Noise Compensation (SI) which utilises Audiostat™ technology from SmartSpeaker Corp. (SSC). Audiostat provides an adaptive capability, with continuous monitoring of the audio signal in the context of the background noise. With Audiostat inside, this new intelligent SFS actually hears what the students hear and as background noise increases or decreases, it adjusts the level of the audio signal up or down, automatically, seamlessly and in real time, ensuring that the signal to noise ratio provides optimum signal intelligibility.

Along with the unique Audiostat technology, SSC's engineers also provided extensive technical support to OWA in the development of this exciting new product.

SmartSpeaker Intelligence is the world's first and only intelligent, adaptive SFS. It controls itself, using Audiostat - the audio thermostat™, ensuring that the audio signal is always intelligible and never too loud, automatically, seamlessly and in real time.

All students and in particular hearing-impaired students, will benefit enormously from this breakthrough in classroom sound field systems. SmartSpeaker Intelligence began shipping in Nov. 99.

SmartSpeaker Intelligence is a prime example of the functionality of Audiostat technology and the value of SSC's OEM capabilities. We can customise a solution for your audio challenges too. Call us.

Toronto Transit

U.S. Department
of Education