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ClearOne Fosters Collaboration for FMTC Tech Center

Farmers Mutual Telephone Company (FMTC), an Iowa-based fiber optic internet, video, and phone services provider, recently redesigned its main conference room with the help of AVI Systems and ClearOne.
(Image credit: ClearOne)

When Farmers Mutual Telephone Company (FMTC), an Iowa-based fiber optic internet, video, and phone services provider, wanted to redesign and reconfigure its main conference room as part of a whole building renovation, its management knew they wanted complete audio solution that didn’t jeopardize their desired aesthetics. To deliver this, they turned to integration firm AVI Systems and ClearOne.

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“We wanted our whole facility, and particularly our main conference room, to present a forward-thinking image, which is particularly important for us when hosting outside partners for meetings or presentations,” said Matt Kutzli, IP/IT Technician at FMTC. “We knew that we had to opt for a solution that guarantees seamless audio coverage and operation, without the clutter of visible wires or other components.”

As part of the building’s renovation, the room’s original tin tiled ceiling was overlaid by a modern drop ceiling configuration. However, the FMTC team still made an effort to maintain the room’s original look, by outfitting the suspended ceiling with formed composite tiles, mirroring the original style. 

“Having ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone array ceiling tiles blend in so seamlessly allowed us to easily maintain some of the original aesthetic,” Kutzli said. “It made perfect sense to utilize a solution that provides whole-room audio coverage, without compromising the impression we wanted. Plus, the absence of long speaker wire runs simplifies the installation and maintenance throughout the life of the system.”

The ceiling is broken up into nine coffered sections, each containing a grid of ceiling tiles. All of the ClearOne technology is contained in the front six sections, with the middle sections containing the microphone ceiling tiles, and the outer left and right sections each featuring a ceiling tile speaker fed by the BMA-CT.

In total, the conference room features two ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array ceiling tiles, four ceiling tile speakers, a Converge Pro 2 Digital Signal Processor (DSP), and a ClearOne Dialog20 that can be used in the room, or portably for off-site meetings that require a wireless microphone solution.

Since integrating these solutions, FMTC executives, staff, and partners are now able to more easily communicate and collaborate—maximizing the room’s potential and slashing required training time. There’s also wide agreement among employees and outside clients that having a “hidden” microphone system makes the room more visually appealing. “The quality and simplicity of ClearOne’s products are a stark departure from FMTC’s previous conference room system that was limited by less capable and lower-quality tabletop speakerphones,” Kutzli said.