Paging and Intercom

Utilize live audio paging, ad hoc audio, two-way handsfree intercom and push-to-talk functionalities with compatible IP phones and IP speakers.

Benefits

  • Deliver intrusive audio alerts in real-time
  • Broadcast and reply to groups
  • Respond without needing to touch a device

Additional Resources

 

 

Topics

The Power of Intrusive Audio Paging

When an emergency occurs, you have a duty to notify your people to help keep them out of harm’s way. A mass notification system can help you do this quickly, but if you aren’t leveraging the right channels, your people may not even notice your alert. You also run the risk of them not responding to the alert with the urgency that the situation demands. Part of this may be due to relying solely on mobile devices or desktop popups for alerts. While we like to think that people always have their mobile phones on them, that isn’t always the case. And even if phones are nearby, they may be on silent, which means they won’t immediately see an SMS text message that is informing them about an emergency situation. You wouldn’t think a silent text alert is sufficient to notify people about a fire, so why would you use that as your only means of communication for other crisis events like an active shooter or severe weather?

That’s why it’s important to leverage mobile alerts in conjunction with live, intrusive audio that can be delivered via paging. This interrupts ongoing events and forces people to listen to announcements being made about situations that could impact their safety. If you’re leveraging a mobile-only mass notification solution, this isn’t an option. IP phones, IP speakers, and traditional overhead paging can all be used for attention-grabbing announcements.

See 4 Ways to Use Intrusive Audio Alerts From InformaCast for Mass Notification blog post for more.

 


Why Paging is a Critical Safety Feature

Regardless of industry, organizations are looking for ways to utilize the technology they already have in place to deliver mass notifications. One common piece of technology in most organizations is an overhead paging system. By integrating with a mass notification system, organizations can send live or pre-recorded audio through overhead paging speakers at the same time it’s delivered to desk phones, mobile phones, and other devices. The use cases for this application can vary from emergency alerts to daily school bell scheduling.

 

Most overhead paging systems from the past 40 years come with an external input, which means the can work seamlessly with InformaCast for mass notification. InformaCast delivers audio to overhead paging systems via two methods. The first is for paging systems already physically connected to a phone system. This means the system is set up so you can pick up a handset, dial an extension and stream live audio to the speakers. The second is via the use of a zone controller; a simple device that has an Ethernet port for input and line audio for output. 

See Why Overhead Paging Integration Is Critical for Emergency Notification blog post for more.

 


Integrate Overhead Paging Systems

Every organization is different, which means how they need flexible options to deploy a mass notification system with a paging system. Singlewire offers three different integration design options to help organizations find the best setup for their system. The three options include:

  1. Connecting to IP Speakers: InformaCast compatible IP speakers are readily available from a number of vendors. IP speakers offer an efficient and flexible method for overhead paging integration. IP speakers also put a minimal load on an organization’s network.
  2. Using a Zone Controller: If your organization has analog speakers, there are still options for connecting InformaCast with overhead paging. Using an InformaCast-compatible zone controller, organizations can connect analog speakers with their network. The zone controller registers with InformaCast and has an audio line out that can then connect to existing paging amplifiers and analog speakers. Organizations using this method still get the benefit of using the same multicast audio stream as IP phones, IP speakers, and IDN.
  3. The InformaCast Legacy Paging Interface: Another option for using analog systems with InformaCast is dialing from a PBX or phone system. If that is the case, the integration work is already done, and there is likely a voice gateway with an FXS or FXO analog trunk integrated to a paging adapter and a paging amplifier. InformaCast can accommodate this kind of configuration as well with its Legacy Paging Interface plugin. The plugin places a SIP call to a phone system and calls the same extension phones dial to broadcast an overhead page.

See Integrate Overhead Paging Systems blog post for more.

 


PushToTalk

PushToTalk is a walkie-talkie/intercom feature available with InformaCast Advanced to facilitate easy and immediate communication between multiple parties or on a one-to-one basis. PushToTalk can be used to increase communication efficiency, reduce dependence on cellular walkie-talkies, and expand your organization's ability to add functionality to desktop IP phones. When someone pushes a button on a desk phone, it can be broadcast to a select group or single individual who can listen in. When the initial broadcast is completed, anyone who received the message can then send a broadcast to that same group or individual.

 

 

PushToTalk can also be used for full-duplex intercom. In this mode, both parties can talk and listen at the same time. Part of what makes this feature unique is when a PushToTalk intercom session is initiated, the person on the receiving end doesn't have to be near their phone. They can reply without needing to press any buttons or pick up a receiver. This can be particularly helpful in classrooms when a teacher is requesting assistance.

 


Paging Gateway

Certain environments make it difficult to use the multicast audio streaming InformaCast requires across the WAN (wide area network), due to either routing or bandwidth limitations. It is also frequently used to deploy InformaCast at remote sites. With the Singlewire Paging Gateway, you can send audio across the WAN without needing to route multicast across the WAN.

When an audio message is triggered from InformaCast it will be sent via unicast to the Paging Gateway over the WAN. The Paging Gateway at the remote site turns the unicast audio into multicast audio, and the phones and IP speakers receive and play the multicast audio. The paging gateway is available as hardware or a virtual appliance.

Learn about our Paging Gateway solution

 


More Than Paging

If you’ve heard of Singlewire (and are visiting this page), it might be because someone recommended our InformaCast as a paging solution. While our InformaCast software certainly is a powerful paging tool, over the past 15 years it has evolved into a powerful mass notification solution that can deliver messages to a wide variety of devices in an array of formats. InformaCast can be used for live or recorded audio messages and text messages sent to desk phones, IP speakers, desktop computers, mobile devices, digital signage and more. It can also be used to connect to the Internet of Things to trigger door locks, schedule school bells, and monitor fire alarms. Regardless of your industry, InformaCast can be customized to provide your organization with a robust mass notification system that keeps your people safe and informed. 

See Singlewire and InformaCast Offer More Than Paging blog post for more.