Shriners Hospitals Upgrade Wireless Mic System -

Shriners Hospitals Upgrade Wireless Mic System

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Audio-Technica, a provider of transducer technology, has announced that Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California, is the latest facility to upgrade its boardroom with A-T's SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless microphone system.

The system was specified and installed by Sacramento's Associated Sound, who recommended the system based on federal changes to the usable wireless frequency spectrum and the need to satisfy Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations that protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Ideal for fixed installation, rental staging and corporate/boardroom applications, SpectraPulse offers secure wireless operation free from RF competition, frequency coordination and "white space" issues.

"We needed to make sure that all of the requirements of the hospital were covered, not only now, but in the future," said Wally Clark, president of Associated Sound, a full-service pro audio and video sales and rental company that has served the area for 43 years. Having added wireless microphones to the boardroom 10 years ago, Clark knew that the FCC's frequency spectrum reallocation to make way for digital television was a concern.

The technology also avoids radio frequency interference issues. "Sacramento is an extremely crowded RF environment, as we have a lot of TV stations in the area. This hospital is right across the street from UC Davis Medical Center. Even in the building itself there's one whole floor of research where I know there are electronic devices being used," stated Clark.
Another important consideration had to do with the HIPAA regulations which protect patient privacy and confidentiality. SpectraPulse offers a high level of security - AES 128-bit encryption is also an option - through the implementation of A-T's proprietary UWB technology, which transmits across a 500 MHz bandwidth within the 6 GHz frequency spectrum. "We wanted to try and satisfy HIPAA regulations," Clark explained, "because doctors are talking on a regular basis about their patients in this boardroom and we wanted to ensure total confidentiality."

The boardroom, measuring approximately 40 feet wide by 100 feet long, with glass along two sides, hosts monthly hospital board meetings. During the interim it is used for meetings by staff, doctors, visiting VIPs and outside groups, according to Clark, a Shriner and former board member.

The installed SpectraPulse system consists of a pair of Audio-Technica aci707 audio control interfaces, one rcu104 receiver coordinator unit, three drm141 digital receiver modules, and 14 mtu201 deskstand transmitters. Each mtu201 is fitted with an ES915C12 gooseneck microphone. "The boardroom table always has papers, notepads, folders and water glasses on it, so the gooseneck microphones work better than boundary mics in this situation," observed Clark, noting that the table will seat 28. "Every mic is shared by at least two people, sometimes three, and there are no problems with that."

Indeed, the setup is very intuitive. "It's not uncommon to have a meeting where the people aren't used to using this type of equipment. The color-coding and the lights on the bases of the mtu201 deskstand transmitters make it very easy to use. They just push a button and know when the light is on that it's working. And they don't have to get close to the mic."

The SpectraPulse system has been praised by key members of the hospital's board. "With the number of important meetings that take place in our hospital boardroom, we cannot compromise on sound quality," says Robert Tamblyn, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Shriners Hospitals for Children - Northern California. "The new sound system has enhanced the meeting environment and facilitated discussion at our monthly Board of Governors meetings. Thanks to the new system, we no longer have board members asking their colleagues to repeat the statement or speak up. As a result, those attending the meetings can focus full attention on the business at hand," he adds.

Another factor Clark considered when recommending the SpectraPulse system was budget. "In this economy - and even this hospital has budget constraints - we're not contemplating changing stuff every time something new comes out. They want this to last a good 10 years or so and they want to be able to get service on the product. We've always had a good relationship with Audio-Technica, so when the opportunity came up, it was a good match for the job."

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