Petaluma, Calif. San Francisco Bay Area based FrontRowTM announces a new Smart Microphone and software for schools using its networked classroom and campus communication products. The second-generation Smart Microphone (ITM-02), available starting April 19, 2017, is both more powerful and more intelligent than its precursor and than any other similar product in the industry: with one touch of a button, it lets teachers send an emergency alert from the microphone and supports a chain of automated silent, visual, and verbal communications between the teacher and the team responding to the call for help.

The new school microphone is compatible with all FrontRow wireless infrared systems, but offers its fullest capabilities to customers using the ezRoom product line with the ICR-01 Smart Receiver and FrontRow’s paging and bells platform: Conductor.

“In a crisis, it’s not enough to be aware of a problem; we need to give schools ways to quickly respond to that problem,” says FrontRow’s Director of Product Management Sean Penn. “What we’re launching is really a recipe for successfully overcoming a panic situation.”

FrontRow’s system can be customized to fit individual schools’ emergency preparedness plans, for example:

A teacher can alert staff to a problem by holding down the easy-to-find button on the mic (FrontRow can also provide fixed-location buttons for the same purpose – for example, under a desk, on the wall, or in software).

Instantly, an alert would flash on school emergency response team’s computers and other visual and auditory alerts – strobes and attention tones – could activate in the front office as well. Optionally, signal beacons in neighboring teachers’ rooms would flash to give a silent “heads-up” that a fellow teacher is asking for help.

The response team would talk to or listen in on the room to determine the trouble. If the emergency warranted a full-scale campus alert, the team could trigger any of these from the Conductor console:

  • A lockdown
  • Medical alert
  • Other emergency scenario

These can combine a cascading series of automated actions including pre-recorded audio announcements, activation of digital displays to show evacuation routes, locking doors, and more.

“We want school leaders to know that technology can support their goals, whether it’s in student achievement, daily operations, or safety,” says Penn. “We’ve created a platform that helps them do all three without compromise.”

With G3 wireless technology, the new mic is immune to the interference, pairing, and privacy issues that can plague mics using a cordless-phone band or radio frequencies, recovering a voice or an alert signal in scenarios that would defeat other systems.

The ITM-02 microphone with updated software will begin shipping with ezRoom packages equipped with the ICR-01 Smart Receiver starting April 3, 2017.

About FrontRow

FrontRow’s technology helps schools communicate effortlessly with students, groups, and devices. Schools choose FrontRow for its easy-to-use products, better academic outcomes, and a safer, more efficient campus. FrontRow solutions include:

  • Classroom sound for media and teacher voice reinforcement
  • Automated lecture capture and distribution
  • AV control and management
  • Campus communication and control, including IP paging, intercom, bell scheduling, and automated emergency response

FrontRow is based in northern California, and is part of the William Demant Group. Founded in 1904 and listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange (CSE3247), William Demant comprises a group of international companies that develop, manufacture, and sell innovative and highly advanced technological solutions in the educational and hearing healthcare fields. Through 45 Group companies located in over 20 countries, consolidated sales exceed US$1.4 billion.

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