New Smart Microphone Emergency-Readiness Features From FrontRow

With one touch of a button, Smart Microphone lets teachers send emergency alerts and supports automated communications between the teacher and the response team.

San Francisco Bay Area-based FrontRow™ has introduced a new Smart Microphone and software for schools using its networked classroom and campus communication products. The second-generation Smart Microphone (ITM-02) is more powerful and more intelligent than its precursor and than similar products in the industry: with one touch of a button, it lets teachers send emergency alerts and supports a chain of automated silent, visual, and verbal communications between the teacher and the team responding to the help call.

school emergencyThe new school microphone is compatible with all FrontRow wireless infrared systems, but offers its fullest capabilities to customers using the ezRoom product line with the ICR-01 Smart Receiver and FrontRow’s paging and bells platform: Conductor.

“In a crisis, it’s not enough to be aware of a problem; we need to give schools ways to quickly respond to that problem,” says FrontRow’s Director of Product Management Sean Penn. “What we’re launching is really a recipe for successfully overcoming a panic situation.”

FrontRow’s system can be customized to fit individual schools’ emergency preparedness plans, for example:

A teacher can alert staff to a problem by holding down the easy-to-find button on the mic (FrontRow can also provide fixed-location buttons for the same purpose – for example, under a desk, on the wall, or in software).

Instantly, an alert would flash on school emergency response team’s computers and other visual and auditory alerts – strobes and attention tones – could activate in the front office as well. Optionally, signal beacons in neighboring teachers’ rooms would flash to give a silent “heads-up” that a fellow teacher is asking for help.

The response team would talk to or listen in on the room to determine the trouble. If the emergency warranted a full-scale campus alert, the team could trigger any of these from the Conductor console:

  • A lockdown
  • Medical alert
  • Other emergency scenario

These can combine a cascading series of automated actions including pre-recorded audio announcements, activation of digital displays to show evacuation routes, locking doors, and more.

“We want school leaders to know that technology can support their goals, whether it’s in student achievement, daily operations, or safety,” says Penn. “We’ve created a platform that helps them do all three without compromise.”

With G3 wireless technology, the new mic is immune to the interference, pairing, and privacy issues, easily recovering a voice or an alert signal in scenarios that would defeat other systems.