Recently, our IP speaker partner, AtlasIED, has become a distributor of our InformaCast mass notification software. As a distributor, AtlasIED offers integrators and resellers the convenience of purchasing a complete life safety solution from a single source. To better understand the benefits AtlasIED’s IPX Series IP Endpoint, Manny Kitagawa, Business Development Manager of IP Endpoint Technologies at AtlasIED, answered five questions about these innovative tools. (NOTE: A version of this interview originally appeared on AtlasIED’s blog.
A Solution for Any Environment
AtlasIED’s IPX family of IP endpoints are available in a variety of configurations to offer coverage in any environment. With features like high output speakers, high-resolution LCD displays, microphones, and LED flashers, IPX leverages VoIP solutions to extend the ecosystem with enhanced audio for environments where network-wide audible and visual communication is required and is compatible with third-party applications such as InformaCast.
We recently sat down with Manny Kitagawa, Business Development Manager of IP Endpoint Technologies, to take a deeper dive into IPX and how this family of IP endpoints can be used in school environments.
IPX are a family of IP endpoints with immense capabilities, can you explain some of the technology behind it?
AtlasIED IPX family of IP endpoints are engineered to use standard ethernet protocols and interoperate with the customer’s existing voice configured network architecture. This design allows them to easily integrate with the existing standardized hardware and applications already used in their unified communication ecosystem. The IPX features and functions are developed to leverage the technology of the most popular notification applications used in today’s unified communications ecosystem. Unlike basic SIP devices, IPX endpoints use these software developer API’s (application programming interface) to simplify connectivity and leverage all their alerting capabilities for visual signaling, visual text, and audio broadcast for both on and off-premise notifications.
Give us a quick background on IPX use in educational environments.
IPX endpoints have been used in the education environment for almost 20 years and although they can certainly meet all the school’s day-to-day communication requirements like intercom and bells they can do so much more. To name a few, they can provide schools with a master clock system and can also collaborate with 3rd party systems without the need for additional hardware or middleware. For example, the IPX device can mute the local classroom multimedia system to eliminate unclear announcements caused by two audio sources playing in the same space. Another good example of how IPX devices are used in an education environment is to automate the activation of other systems that have a role in their critical alert procedures like their access control to secure points of entry during a lockdown event.
IPX endpoints have some unique capabilities that have been implemented for specific uses in schools – can you tell us about some examples?
Today’s communication requirements in education exceed intercom and bells. IPX endpoints allow schools to effectively broadcast clear visual and/or audio announcements during any event. For example, in an emergency, IPX devices with visual displays have been used for silent messaging by scrolling text-only instructions to students and staff.
Another great use case is how schools use the IPX flashers and/or displays to sync user-defined color styles and text set for their normal, warning, and emergency notifications. We have seen schools use colors to visually notify individuals with hearing disabilities of when classes are scheduled to begin by displaying a green color when a class ends by displaying a blue color or yellow color for a tardy notification.
Although the IPX endpoints are most often used for daily communications, they really shine in emergency situations. Can you explain more about this?
IPX endpoints provide a high level of intelligibility making them perfect for emergency announcements because the quality of speech when broadcasting instructions is essential. Another great example of how IPX shines in emergency situations is how it is used for schools while practicing emergency preparedness drills. AtlasIED IPX endpoints that are equipped with LCD displays can have their display background colors synced to one color for drills and a different color for emergency notifications. This way, when testing the emergency preparedness drills, the display background color can change to green and display text reinforcing the alert is just a drill vs. a red background that represents a truly critical situation. This level of notification dramatically reduces confusion for students or individuals who did not hear or are otherwise unaware that the practice emergency preparedness drills are being conducted and can eliminate fear or chaos caused by panic-induced behavior such as running or screaming.
Is there anything else about IPX capabilities that you’d like to add?
Schools often ask about the survivability capabilities and redundancy architecture needed for the IPX devices. Since they are used for critical alerts, schools want to know what happens during a power outage or if the notification server goes down? AtlasIED IPX endpoints are designed to support our software developers’ high availability multi-server deployments. This simply means if the primary server is lost, the IPX devices can communicate with the next available server. Because they interoperate with the customer’s existing voice-configured network architecture, they become part of the network device battery backup service.
For more information about IPX devices and other educational technologies available from AtlasIED, visit: www.techforsaferschools.com.