Why retailers should use network audio

The retail market has started to appreciate the value that network audio systems can bring to a company, without impacting on their bottom line. These systems are an all-in-one solution for a number of uses, making pre-recorded, live announcements or playing background music. In this post we take a look at some of the benefits of installing a network audio system.

Integrating network audio without overheads  

Compared to analogue systems, network audio systems have a much lower total cost of ownership and more flexibility. Retailers no longer need to sustain and manage separate systems for announcements and background music, something that can be very expensive and time consuming.

With no costly or large central component controlling each individual unit there are less points at which connection can fail, which decreases the likelihood of specially trained technicians being sent out to conduct pricey repairs. Through network audio, each individual unit is a complete system. It has features such as on-board intelligence, equalizer, amplifier, digital signal processor, microphone, power supply, and loudspeaker, so that one system can be used for many of the retailers’ needs.

It has an inbuilt MP3 player and streaming support meaning retailers can play any content locally or online. The inbuilt scheduling functionality for the content ensures optimal communication mix. And it has the benefit of starting and stopping automatically so the store managers can rest knowing the planned announcements will be played at the right time.

Network audio only requires one cable for connectivity, power and communication, meaning the systems are simple to install and connect. The audio is already preconfigured for optimal sound thanks to the built-in signal processing, eliminating the need to contact audio experts during installation.

Easy to manage

As it is all connected to standard networks it is easy to remotely monitor the health of the system further, reducing the need to send out technicians for onsite monitoring. If a system is down, IP capabilities allow for updates to take place from the centrally managed hub, reducing the need to update and replace units individually. Should there be a problem with the software or hardware, the redundancy secure system prevents one disconnected device from affecting the rest of the system.

Stores can take advantage of integrated applications such as streaming support services and audio player applications integrated in the speakers. Through this, retailers have access to music streaming services. Alternatively, store managers can use local playlists stored on memory cards that are on the network audio system.

In addition, stores can choose the audience for announcements with smart zoning. Retailers can choose to use as many or as few speakers as they want, for both announcements and background music so they don’t end up playing the same music in the adult section as the children’s section or shouting out a message to an entire crowd if it was only directed at one person. Zoning configurations are easily adjustable as there is no need for new cabling or new devices, all retailers need to do is change the formation to match their preferred layout.

Scalability and flexibility

These simple installation and management processes mean the systems can, without difficulty, adapt and change depending on store demands. If retailers change the size of their store, open additional outlets or relocate, it is easy to add or remove devices to meet the store’s existing demands, future proofing the technology.

Additionally, network audio systems come with an open API for easy integration with other systems and future applications. For example, network audio systems have an integrated audio player to store various audio clips. This can complement a network video system by having pre-recorded clips play out when a camera detects someone going into a no access area. Or, the system could be embedded with audio detection software which would send alerts after detecting high level sounds, such as gun shots or loud aggressive shouting.

The endless possibilities of network audio

Network audio systems are not limited to applications in retail but can be expanded to appear in any suitable environments such as schools, healthcare and commercial buildings. Its flexibility and scalability mean that cost savings are made through being able to add best of breed technologies, rather than proprietary solutions to a network, while further increasing customer satisfaction through an optimized customer experience.

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