Broadcasting clear and effective information to staff and students in schools can be an issue, especially in large schools that occupy expansive sites and are spread over multiple buildings.
When announcing time for class change, some schools use fire alarm bells, but while these may grab attention, they fail to differentiate between routine class change and mid-morning, lunch or wet breaks. They rely on staff and students using initiative and guessing what action to take. It’s even more critical when a real emergency situation arises. Is it a fire that requires immediate evacuation or even an intruder on site that necessitates total lockdown? Without clear information, there is a real risk of the wrong action being taken which could seriously compromise the safety of staff and students.
To address these issues Bodet, one of Europe’s leading time management specialists has developed Harmonys. The system includes up to 18 pre-recorded bells or melody sounds as well as a microphone, which can be used to make live announcements or to record specific ones that are stored on the main control unit.
Harmonys uses standard Internet Protocol (IP) and Power over Internet (PoE), which means that all components, sounders and any future system extensions can be connected via any PC terminal. As most schools already have an existing computer network, the Harmonys system is quick and easy to install without the need for additional cabling.
Recorded announcements are stored on a central control unit, which is easily programmed using Bodet’s intuitive Sigma software. The system can be programmed to synchronise with the school timetable which then ensures that all announcements are automatically broadcast at set times such as class changes, breaks or end of day. If a live announcement is needed, a manual button overrides the scheduled announcements which then resume immediately afterwards. The microphone can also be configured so that a jingle is played to alert the audience that a live announcement is about to be broadcast.
All sounders have their own IP address, which means that each sounder can be programmed to broadcast individual melody or bell sounds. This also allows pre-recorded or live messages or alerts to be broadcast either to all the sounders simultaneously or zoned so that announcements are restricted to specified areas within the school. This is ideal for larger schools that have different age groups running to separate timetables.
In addition to routine announcements, should an emergency arise, staff that have access to the control box can activate an alarm for evacuation or lockdown simply by pressing a button. As well as 90dB wall or ceiling mounted sounders for internal use, the system can also be supplied with more powerful 110dB waterproof sounders for external use.
The system is compatible with all types of audio sources including SD cards and memory sticks as well as WebRadio and Webmusic so when the school is being used for social events, background music can be streamed to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Installing a modern versatile communication system like Harmonys demonstrates that the school really does have the best interests of the students at heart. It promotes efficiency and maximises learning time, as well as ensuring a safer environment for all staff and students.
Richard Manby is managing director of Bodet.
w: www.bodet.co.uk/education. Tel: 01442 418800