Leveraging legacy public address equipment with Wahsega Labs IP/analog encoding equipment

Home / Blog / IP Audio Encoder/Decoder and Legacy PA Systems
Wahsega IP Encoder/Decoder

IP/analog encoding equipment eases legacy public address system transition

Over the years, businesses across the United States have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in analog public address equipment to allow wide-area communications like paging, alerts and notifications. And, as with all technology, newer solutions eventually appeared offering more features, greater flexibility and scalability. However, it isn't always practical to switch out entire sections of a company's infrastructure due to cost. This is exactly the position many of users of these older analog systems find themselves in. Replacing legacy systems with updated IP based systems with IP aware speakers or alerters can be a pricey proposition.

Wahsega Labs saw the opportunity and created an IP Audio Encoder/Decoder to bridge IP and analog audio systems. Let's say a company, school or other facility needs to update their communications system in phases due to budget constraints. They migrate to a modern SIP VoIP communications system centered around a complete server system. For cost reasons, the company decides to delay purchasing new IP alerters and speakers and leverage existing analog speakers and other audio devices. By using Wahsega's IP Audio Encoder/Decoder, it is possible to register the E/D on the SIP server and run a connector cable from the E/D to the analog amp which is connected to a row of analog speakers. It is now possible to dial a number on a phone or program one into an intercom and the resulting audio is converted to play over the legacy analog speaker.

Of course, this can work the other way as well simply by changing a software setting in the Wahsega Encoder/Decoder. It is possible to convert analog audio to a multicast or unicast IP stream that will play over IP speakers and other endpoints. Perhaps a company is making the jump to IP and has the money for the initial investment of endpoints but not a complete rewiring. A company can utilize older audio broadcasting equipment to output to brand new IP alerters, horns and speakers.

The versatility of this system is remarkable. Older analog phones, fax machines and certain types of PBXs can all be accessed from an IP network. Imagine playing music, scheduled messages or alerts and paging over legacy audio equipment from an IP network. Once you have the encoder installed, you have many ways to use your public address system. Many businesses use standardized alerts for everything from shift changes to weather alert instructions. For ambient music for in office reception areas, you can stream any number of online streaming audio services to suit the desired environment. With proper amplification, speakers can broadcast anything over loud industrial settings.

Facilities managers have always been aware of budget constraints and getting the most mileage out of their purchases. Given the relatively high cost of changing out older analog speakers and amplifier systems that many companies use for public address, Wahsega's audio encoder/decoder can allow a business to stretch their investment, if need be, to allow time to phase in a comprehensive solution.