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Smart Solutions: Integrating IP into Existing Systems


Project success comes down to clear communication, but how do you upgrade your intercom system to IP without having to replace every device in your organization? Clear-Com®'s John Ruest shows you how

Let's face it, you want the convenience of an IP-based intercom, but that doesn't mean you need to replace every device in your system. An intercom matrix is where the majority of your various communication platforms are housed together. Some IP-only solutions may require significant upgrades and/or third-party conversions, which increase the chance of failure or degradation of audio quality. But there is a solution. By utilizing a matrix-based communication system, you can combine the latest IP technology with much of your existing non-IP system without a lot of hassle or inconvenience.

IP can bring important functionality and flexibility to your intercom system and the ability to marry it with your existing analog and digital audio systems is the key to continuous operation.

John Ruest, Systems Consultant EMEA for Clear-Com, mentions a recent scenario with a large-scale matrix-based intercom client: "The station had a large number of MADI devices but needed the capabilities that the latest IP technology could bring to its intercom solution. We developed an impressive solution by simply adding an E-IPA IP audio card to its system, providing a seamless interface between existing Clear-Com devices while still retaining existing digital audio devices, all without additional latency or audio degradation. We designed our matrix solution to be able to accommodate the latest audio technologies without compromising backward compatibility. Our customer was thrilled by our ability to provide a cutting-edge IP solution that didn't require a complete overhaul of every existing device in its system. It was a win-win all around."

As an alternative to a matrix solution, the Clear-Com LQ Series IP interfaces bring advanced IP capabilities to smaller intercom systems that need to extend their communications footprint.

"LQ's ability to connect 2-wire, 4-wire, and GPIO over IP systems make it a very powerful interface" noted Steve Watanabe, Product Marketing Manager for Clear-Com. "We've been able to breathe new life into live performance venues by using the LQ Series interfaces to combine an IP-based system like HelixNet  with existing analog systems such as Encore partyline."



Implementing the latest technology into your intercom system doesn't require throwing away everything you already have. With a thoughtfully designed system, cutting-edge IP technology can be implemented into systems of nearly any size, at nearly any price point, without impacting the user experience. Ultimately, intercom is a central communication system that can interface and mix IP audio to MADI to Dante to telephony to 2-wire beltpacks and beyond, all the while providing the same consistent user experience regardless of the media.


John Ruest, Systems Consultant EMEA, is based in Clear-Com's Cambridge, UK office. He works throughout the EMEA region providing pre-sales engineering support to a variety of clients including installations, live events, security, marine and motorsports clients.