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Shopping center upgrades to secure and sustainable public address system

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Shopping center upgrades to secure and sustainable public address system
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Sound enhances the customer experience, safety

On 25 acres of commercial space, Telford Shopping Centre in the UK offers a selection of retail stores, restaurants, as well as hotels and a cinema. Sound is a key part of the customer experience, from ambient music to customer announcements and safety messages. The shopping mall operator was looking to upgrade the existing public address system with a future-proof and IP-networked solution. Enter the new public address and voice alarm system from Bosch.

Next generation voice alarm system for retail environments

From the start, PRAESENSA managed to keep installation costs low for the new shopping center public address system without sacrificing performance. System integrators were able to refurbish the existing loudspeakers installed at Telford Centre across 16 zones via minor modifications on the end lines. This required only replacing the obsolete control equipment – including a cumbersome call station with analog buttons – and amplifiers for an upgrade to the latest generation of IP-based audio system.

The upgrade is most notable in the call station that puts personnel in full control per touch screen with an intuitive graphic user interface. Managed via OMNEO media networking technology, the software-based system combines recordings from various media sources, including ambient music in MP3 format, commercials from a message library, plus end-of-day mall closing messages running on automated schedules. In case of an emergency, the public address system integrates with the fire alarm system to play pre-recorded alerts and evacuation messages targeted to specific zones. At any time, shopping center security personnel can send live voice messages and manually trigger the evacuation protocol.

Small in size, big on energy saving

As the latest in a long line of public address systems, PRAESENSA unlocks a new level of cost savings and sustainability at Telford Centre.

Space saving

First is the form factor: While the legacy system occupied two rack spaces in the server room, the new solution cuts the size in half. This is achieved by integrated standby amplifiers that reduce the cost (especially for cooling) and space of the rack housing while also providing an effective redundancy measure.

Small energy footprint

Second, the system achieves a low energy footprint via smart power partitioning across amplifier channels. It adapts intelligently to loudspeaker loads, dividing the available output power across all channels to a maximum of 600 Watts. As a result, overall power usage over the system’s lifetime is lowered, especially in the idle state where most systems spend most of their time. Because it requires less battery standby, the system suffices on only two batteries that need changing every four years according to British standards.

Secure and fail-proof from the start

Out of the box, PRAESENSA meets the latest standards as a fully secure IP solution. All control equipment is connected via Secure IP, including encryption and authentication for complete protection against eavesdropping and hacking. The system also fulfills the needs of shopping center operators for around-the-clock availability: All critical system elements are supported by built-in redundancy to avoid outages, plus fault notification within 100 seconds meeting EN54-16 standards.