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Audience response system manufacturer announces new handheld base station

Fleetwood Group, Inc., the leading North American designer and manufacturer of radio frequency (RF) keypads purpose-built for audience response and electronic voting applications, is introducing a new interactive product in June 2007.

The Reply® Model CRS960X is a handheld wireless (radio frequency, or RF) base station that communicates with Reply® Model CRS5200 wireless audience response keypads. The CRS960X is designed to poll keypads and display results – without using a PC. External video displays are not necessary since this handheld base station has a large LCD to display session questions, individual responses, results graphs, and other system parameters to the operator. However, a video port is included on the handheld base station to permit connection to a television, projector, or other display device when one is available (and if such use is desired). Additionally, by using a standard USB memory stick, data from a polling session can be downloaded to a PC for further analysis, charting, and reporting using typical spreadsheet programs or select Reply® software applications. Together the CRS960X handheld base station and CRS 5200 keypads comprise a highly portable two-way wireless interactive system that can serve a variety of simple group response applications. Regardless if there is technical equipment in the room – and regardless if there is even a room – presenters, teachers, researchers, and anyone else who conducts group surveys can use this simple system to know whether or not their audience is attentive and retaining information.

Fleetwood‘s intellectual property portfolio, industry knowledge, and wireless design and manufacturing skills have combined to create this compact and low cost solution for group voting, opinion polling, assessment, and other basic audience response activities. “This simplified system lets you go anywhere to survey opinions, test knowledge, and perform other basic polling functions. Now you can conduct employee surveys on the shop floor, query kids on a field trip, poll a parent or community group, and a whole lot more – all without the need for electricity, or a PC, or a projector at the site.” said Pat Moody, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Electronics Division of Fleetwood. The traditional audience response method requires: 1) a PC; 2) a base station attached to the PC for collecting responses from multiple keypads; 3) specialty software running on the PC to manage the collection and sorting of the audience‘s keypad data; and 4) a video device to display questions, response graphs, and other information to participants. Moody continued: “PCs running audience response software are the accepted method for group polling in traditional classrooms, seminars and conferences, focus groups, and other interactive meeting environments. I don‘t foresee that changing since there are too many advantages with a PC-controlled approach. However, audience response professionals know there are some places that just aren‘t conducive to using a PC. There are also some group situations for which the present audience response method and its common audio-visual equipment are overkill. Our new system addresses these two open spaces in the market.”

“Prospects occasionally tell us that audience response methods are sometimes too complicated, too inconvenient, or too expensive for a certain location or group size. Until now, there hasn‘t been a good solution to overcome all of those concerns. One reason is because the audience response industry has settled on a practice that requires a PC, software, and often a technical operator. Then one day it just hit us. Here‘s a chance to create starter customers from a category of prospects who are not only passing on an audience response solution but are also choosing not to add any interactive tools whatsoever to their gathering.” explained Heather Waller, Fleetwood‘s Reply® Sales Manager. “We‘ll now encourage our dealers to pursue those special prospects initially with CRS960X and subsequently with our PC-based family of products when a higher level of interaction is needed.”

Like the companies owning its products, Fleetwood uses Reply® systems to conduct its internal shareholder meetings, training sessions, and employee surveys. “This new product is cool. Rather than replacing the PC method for audience response, it will supplement that method by expanding the opportunity for interactive keypad use throughout an organization. We also think it will create a whole new group of users who before now have not been exposed to Reply technology.” added Doug Ruch, President and CEO of Fleetwood. “We‘re planning to use the handheld base station with work teams in our factory so that we can get feedback wherever and whenever we need. However, for bigger meetings, we‘ll keep using a PC and software to project responses in multiple ways in real-time.”

The CRS960X wireless handheld base station and CRS 5200 wireless audience response keypads are manufactured by Fleetwood‘s Electronics Division in Holland, MI. Staffed with radio frequency experts and equipped for surface mount technique (SMT) manufacturing, this small business makes a big impact worldwide – especially in niche markets that demand electronic voting systems, focus group tools, group decision support systems, and student assessment devices. Fleetwood’s Electronics Division designs, manufactures, markets, and manages the value-added distribution of several product lines of interactive meeting and learning tools. Its flagship product – the Reply ® Wireless Audience Response/Voting System (more info: www.replysystems.com) – consists of cordless electronic keypads and audience polling software. Reply® systems are commonly used in conferences and seminars, classrooms, focus group facilities, TV studios, and special event venues to quickly survey and report the opinions and/or knowledge of participants.

Fleetwood Group, Inc. is a 100% Employee-Owned company, one of approximately 2,000 wholly-owned and 11,000 partially-owned organizations in the USA (reference: ESOP Foundation, www.esopassociation.org). In May 2006, Fleetwood was named the top employee stock owned company in the USA by The ESOP Foundation. Founded in 1955, Fleetwood continues a rich heritage of striving to be a Christ-centered organization. For more information about Fleetwood and its products, please visit www.fleetwoodgroup.com. Or call 616-396-1142 (or 800-257-6390 toll-free in USA). Give us a call! Let‘s Interact!®

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Stay up to date on the latest technology news. Select press representatives post company news several times a day. Check back often to get the latest news on product releases, mergers and acquisitions, and product applications. To be included in this virtual press conference, please contact The Wire.

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