The Ultimate Command Center Ensuring audio system connectivity, functionality and flexibility. By Marjorie Daniel Shure Inc.
hen you think about government entities, the first thing that comes to mind is likely to be an impressive assembly or parliament hall that holds formal meetings, and which is equipped with sophisticated technology that can enable large groups of people to communicate in multiple languages. But what really marks the government sector is the huge variety within it— from the number and types of rooms, to how they are utilized, to the people who use technology within the spaces. Accommodating this variety of uses, while also maintaining a consistent and familiar user experience, can prove challenging when it comes to specifying and installing AV solutions. There are, therefore, a number of aspects to consider when making the decision to invest in AV. Government agencies are unique in several ways, not least of which are the long buying times and the often highly structured nature of the sector. That means there tends to be a lot of people involved in decision-making. In recent years, there has also been a trend toward increased transparency, with communities coming to expect to be informed of any decisions, as well as how they were made. With that in mind, it’s important to offer solutions that are able to meet these changing needs and that allow for new features that can make life ever easier for the user. At the same time, they also 30 Sound & Communications February 2019
must be suitable for people who, often, are not technically minded and who might not have AV/IT support on hand. Security, of course, is a major concern—with respect to both the audio within a room and how content will be streamed and stored. Finally, budgets will always have a major impact in the government sector; as a result, AV solutions that represent a long-term investment, offering robustness, reliability and a long lifespan, will be a sensible choice. Across the sector, wired solutions are most often chosen for chambers that require extensive voting, agendas, speech time and other management capabilities. However, many preliminar y meetings, working-group sessions and consultations take place before the gavel is ever lifted. These meetings range from formal to casual and might take place in historic hearing rooms or contemporar y multi-purpose spaces, or even at off-site locations. It is here that a wireless conference system can deliver the flexibility, reliability and connectivity that these situations require, all while preser ving the aesthetics of the building and minimizing any impact on its structure. Because rooms will be used by different numbers of people and for different purposes, flexible seating and scalable conferencing systems are sometimes a must. In situations such as those, consistency is key; government organizations benefit from a single system for any meeting or any room in the vicinity. These systems also have to be quick and easy to set up, because ever yone—from local political leaders, to event managers, to administrators—has to feel comfortable operating them. Wireless again ticks all the boxes here, and, as an added benefit, it is cable-free. That encourages natural interactions between participants, who are no longer held back by connections and who, instead, can move about and communicate without restraint. Of course, wireless systems also have to be robust. A common concern with wireless is that it won’t be as reliable as a wired setup. Because government agencies frequently have to deal with mission-critical events, it is essential that the solution chosen be able to cope with such demands. If your agency is hosting important speakers, for example, or if it’s inviting the community to share ideas and opinions, any system must work effectively ever y time. Because many government entities are situated in major cities, wireless systems must contend with crowded spectrum conditions. When specifying a system, it is important to look at not only its ability to select clear channels, but also its potential capacity to scan the spectrum to make sure there’s no potential interference—and, crucially, to adapt quickly if there is. When it comes to robustness, another aspect to consider is batter y life. Some meetings in the government sector can go on for long periods; thus, systems with long-