… and Sirius XM ails too
icon4 02 12th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on … and Sirius XM ails too

Yesterday the news was about Muzak .. today it is the next gen satellite based delivery:


I guess more and more users of corporate music, instore audio, retail radio applications using these services will see that they are quite well “on hook” with proprietary hardware/distribution solutions.

Using Barix IP Audio devices for delivery is cost effective, uses existing connectivity (about all locations now have IP connectivity), and, since the introduction of AACplus v2 decoding capability in the popular Exstreamer product line, can use very low bandwidth for good audio quality distribution over the internet or intranet ! No need for dishes on the roof and cabling, “receivers” can be put anywhere where there is network connectivity …

And the best part of it: If an ISP, a content provider or even Barix goes belly up (filing chapter 11 is typically the first step to do so or change service models etc), the owner of the system, the user of the IP Audio distribution system, has the choice to pick other parnters. Barix IP Audio devices are standards based and use open interfaces – anyone can control and use them !

Visit us at Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas and check out an IP based audio streaming solution in real ! Or check out our special information page about IP Audio applications, especially for retail radio.

Muzak files Chapter 11 …
icon4 02 11th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on Muzak files Chapter 11 …

Look at that … Muzak under bancruptcy protection … how much money they borrowed !


Using IP Audio distribution devices from Barix does not need hundreds of millions of investments, and those who use an IP based audio distribution solution for their instore, on-hold or elevator music needs can easily switch content providers …

Is this a first sign of the market disruptive IP audio distribution solutions giving problems to established players ? Barix Exstreamer IP Audio devices are used in many thousand locations where satellite dishes and proprietary content feed technologies were used before …

Those interested in the concepts of IP based IP Audio distribution to stores, hotels or franchises, check out the special instore audio info pages or go check out the website of a leader in IP Audio distribution products, Barix !


Instore Radio – shopping radio – elevator music ?

Certainly not !

Well programmed content is not percieved annoying, but rather giving the right feeling and grove in a store, mall or in shopping heaven.

This can be achieved with video much better – yes or no ?

Well … talk to the consumer. Look at human nature. When you go shopping (at least groceries), you typically have a plan, you know what you want. You may even be under time pressure.

How do you react if you get distracted .. by your friend who wants to convince you to drink a coffee with you, or – by some video in a store forcing itself into your mind ?

Let’s face it. We – at least males … according to the cavemen 🙂 – can only focus on one thing. One MAIN thing …

Have you ever tried to listen to radio and work at the same time ? Yes ? Chances are high it worked for you, you even can gain focus and energy – and occasional ads, news etc don’t harm too much. But guess what – even not feeling defocused, you can remember what was spoken about.

Now – try the same thing with video — have you ever tried to watch TV while working ? If so – i almost bet it does not work out for you, unless the work is very mechanic and does not need your head (ironing for example).

A video wall in the fashion store, making lots of light and noise and pulling in the crowd from the street to purchase that jeans they see moving on the screen – that may actually work well. But in most stores, customers are already inside with a plan – a shopping list, and the idea to get things done quickly.

Audio – Shopping Radio – can help to get things done more quickly by having a positive influence on the mind, and well placed ads in the programming can trigger the right thoughts with the shoppers. Without them being distracted, annoyed or feeling hijacked.

Some scientist may figure out why that is the case. For me it is logical. While being on the hunt or in front of our cave – in earlier times – we were able to focus on prey or a task and still chat, talk, listen to the kids in the vicinity etc. That capability has not been lost … instore audio uses it !

Barix IP Audio devices stream shopping radio into thousands of stores every day, worldwide. They have been installed for a reason – low power, reliable, providing excellent audio quality and all that at a low price – no satellite dish on the roof, no media to be shipped. Instore radio over the internet or the company VPN is affordable, proven – and available from Barix.


Visit the Barix Booth at the Digital Signage Expo, Feb. 24-26, 2009, Las Vegas Convention Center

Wireless connectivity and Audio Streaming
icon4 01 29th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on Wireless connectivity and Audio Streaming

Have you ever wished you could listen to Internet Radio in your car, send a live audio feed from anywhere to your studio, or have a mobile paging/intercom station for your Barix based campus emergency paging system ?

Well, this is now all possible and actually quite easy to achieve. The little gadget you need is called a “wireless access router or “3G Wireless router” or similar. Such devices are made by various manufacturers, and they typically allow you to connect Ethernet or Wireless, IP based devices to the internet via a mobile broadband connection.

Achievable data rates of course vary, depending on the technology, provider used, contract etc. Barix Audio devices support, depending on the model, various Audio Codecs, and with a modern 3G or 3.5G network connection, which you now get in many cities and areas of Europe, you can perfectly stream CD quality, stereo audio to a studio.
The typical CDMA or EVDO based networks, common in the US, are quite a bit slower (similar to EDGE in Europe, which you get almost everywhere now), but even these are quite suitable for audio streaming.

You can find a bit more information and one device suggestion on our wiki.

IP Audio Wiki now live !
icon4 01 28th, 2009| icon3Comments Off on IP Audio Wiki now live !

Hmm. how do you excuse being silent for months on a blog ?

Various reasons, i won’t bore you with them. But you can see the design has changed, and i will blog regulary now about interesting developments in the IP Audio area, as seen from a Barix view.

There is a new tool. The Barix wiki, you can find it here (http://wiki.barix.com). A lot of information about IP Audio applications, how to configure devices, background knowledge etc is already up there, and more is added every day. Give it a try – use the search function !
And please, let me know if you want us to cover any specific theme, either here on the IP Audio blog or on the wiki.


Audio over IP and Voice over IP converge !
icon4 09 2nd, 2008| icon3Comments Off on Audio over IP and Voice over IP converge !

As you probably have seen, Barix is supporting SIP since about 15 months now. A complete SIP stack and application, which is provided in source form, is in the Barix ABCL kit.

While requirements for an Audio over IP and a Voice over IP (VoIP) system are typically quite different, the Barix solution can serve both!

The SIP application can be used for emergency call posts on Annuncicoms (full duplex communication, initiated by a button press from a user), but also for output only applications, such as Paging speakers or interfaces to existing PA systems. In that case, the application supports multicast and also Auto Answer.

For use in Parking Systems or door access control, the built-in relay of an Annuncicom can be controlled via SIP Info.

So – where comes Audio over IP in place ?

Supporting MP3, AACplus, Ogg Vorbis and WMA (select hardware), the devices provide excellent capabilities for IP Audio distribution.

We are working on integrating both the Audio and Intercom/Voice/Paging functionality into one single application, when available, this will allow you to
do IP Audio distribution in high quality (for example, in Hotels, Cruise ships etc), yet, at the same time, have the device register as a VoIP “phone extension” on an IP based phone system.

For the Audio over IP functionality, the high quality music encoding can be used, and the devices automatically switch over to VoIP codecs when such functionality is required.

An alternative is to use one Barix device as a SIP gateway, allowing easy paging zone selection via “DTMF” (actually, SIP Info): The advantage here is that only one extension is used, which could save license cost on the PBX, and also enable synchronous paging on multiple devices via Multicast, which is not supported by many VoIP PBX’es so far.

A third option, available now, is the use of Bell Commander from Acrovista , a partner. It provides the same functionality on a PC, with an extensive Bell Scheduling and PC based Paging solution.

If you have an application where you need to deliver an RTP stream to multiple devices and your network infrastructure or source does not support Multicast, the Barix RTP replicator software may be the right thing for you.
Intended for Barix Audio over IP solutions, but useable with about any device or application or data, this software runs on either a Barionet or an Annuncicom, receives audio on a socket, and distributes the RTP packets to a list of up to 100 destination address/port numbers. You can also send to broadcast or multicast addresses.

Run on the Barionet, the application can easily forward a 100kbps IP Audio stream at 30-50 blocks per second to more than 100 destinations, with a delay of less than 20ms ! Using Barix hardware for this purpose has a lot of benefits: PC-Free technology, well below 4W power consumption, no moving parts, no themral issues, operational within 5 seconds of power up.

Customers of Barix use that solution since years to generate thousands of RTP streams to distribute IP Audio streams in real time.

.. and if you need to broadcast RTP in a “remote” network, the solution can be used as well … just configure only one target, the broadcast address, install the device in the remote location, and stream RTP to its receiving port. The RTP stream will be rebroadcasted in the destination network (multicast supported too, of course).

Questions ? Contact us !

Central solution for a large IP intercom system?
icon4 08 22nd, 2008| icon3Comments Off on Central solution for a large IP intercom system?

Barix devices can be perfectly used for IP intercom and emergency call post purposes. Our free ICGraph application (download from the website) can serve well for a PC based central solution, and we also offer a hardware console now (made by our OEM, MS Neumann Elektronik, who builds fully certified evacuation and industrial/oil and gas intercom systems using our IPAM IP Audio module).

However, what do you do if you need to handle potentially hundreds or thousands of call stations ?

Well – our SIP firmware comes to the rescue ! It can be used on all our IP Audio devices and makes them compliant to the standard SIP functionality – but with a twist: the source code is open, so you can add special behavior to the devices (and we can also do for you !)

As the central management software/solution, you can use any SIP based PBX, such as (free) Asterisk. You can typically configure hunt groups, queues, nighttime calling plans etc in a PBX easily, and use standard IP phones as consoles. Why re-invent the wheel if this is all available?

Of course, you can monitor the whole system independently from the PBX, add emergency capabilities (“all call” without the use of the PBX), background music etc.

We are happy to help planning such a solution – applications are numerous, being it an IP based nurse call system, highway emergency call boxes, a PA and intercom system for public transport … or an IP Audio entertainment and communications system for a cruise ship.


Use a PC for Music on Hold, Instore Audio or Streaming ?
icon4 06 30th, 2008| icon3Comments Off on Use a PC for Music on Hold, Instore Audio or Streaming ?

Read this post to understand how an Exstreamer-100 can save you its purchase price per year in energy savings.

A Barix customer had PCs available at no cost to him. He thought about using them for audio distribution for instore audio purposes through his stores nationwide distribution. Fortunately, he evaluated the cost of operations. Besides updating, mechanical failures and other service calls, the operation cost in terms of energy and cooling jumped into his mind.

24*365=8760 hours per year (this year even 24 more !). With a power requirement of approx. 200W, translating into 1752 kWh/year, the cost for the operation of the PC, just the power!, is roughly 175$ (at an energy price of 0.10$/kWh – and this is likely to raise and not drop !).

In contrast, the Exstreamer-100, Barix’ best selling Audio over IP device, needs only about 2W – or 1% – of the above amount. So for $1.75/year you can operate it.

In addition to the energy cost, you need to add the cost of energy for cooling (your Rack), depending on where you are located this can add significantly to the bill.

Well – you can guess, for the customer this was a striking advantage, the Exstreamer roughly pays back for itself with the energy savings every year ! And so they bought 1200 pieces, for savings of roughly $210k, EVERY YEAR.

Consider installing Barix to conserve natural resources – go green !

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