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Barix Audio over IP Devices to Support Public Address at NJ TRANSIT Stations Statewide

Metropark rail station

The Metropark rail station is one of the earliest sites to go live with NJ TRANSIT’s new IP-based public address and digital display network

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, May 18, 2010 — Barix AG, a pioneer in IP-based audio, intercom, control, and monitoring, announces that NJ TRANSIT, the public transportation corporation for the state of New Jersey, has standardized on Barix Audio over IP equipment for IP-based distribution of public address (PA) announcements at rail and bus stations across the state.

NJ TRANSIT is in the process of building out an IP-based PA and digital display network that will disseminate audio and visual passenger information from one to many points. NJ TRANSIT and consultant Baran Design Associates specified Barix Exstreamers to receive and decode PA messages at every NJ TRANSIT location. The devices are currently operational across the River Line light rail system and Northeast Corridor rail lines, as well as a number of bus stations.

Audio messages with relevant passenger information are continuously updated and streamed to pre-assigned, IP-addressable Exstreamers to ensure that stations are receiving the right message. The messages originate as WAV files out of a centralized text-to-speech engine before being encoded to mp3 for distribution to rail and bus stations. The Exstreamers convert the streams back to audio at the stations and send them to various digital processing systems and amplifiers for immediate playout over the speaker systems.

“We are improving the quality of our PA systems as part of our efforts to improve customer communications,? said David Rountree, Manager of Public Address Communications for
NJ TRANSIT. “It is important that our customers hear announcements in the rail station environment, and this new system is very clear and concise. Barix plays a key role in both maintaining the audio quality and giving our customers up-to-the-minute, accurate information.?

NJ TRANSIT is also using Barix Instreamer audio encoders to monitor audio quality and levels at every station. An Instreamer will be connected to every digital processor in the network, capturing live audio picked up by ambient noise sensing microphones on each rail and bus platform. The Instreamer encodes the audio and streams it to offices where personnel can confirm signal intelligibility, send test signals and adjust audio levels in response.

Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoders

Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoders convert mp3 files back to audio to broadcast information to passengers on specific platforms

Rountree added that he is planning to add Barix Exstreamer 200 IP decoders at remote bus stations that cannot connect to the network infrastructure. The Exstreamer 200 features an integrated amplifier, ideal for installations where space is at a premium while reducing equipment costs. NJ TRANSIT is currently testing the Exstreamer 200 at selected sites, co-located with two speakers and a small digital sign. Passenger information is delivered over a wireless connection, providing audio and visual information to bus stations where only print schedules were previously available.

Mark Ramsay, president of Baran Design Associates, has been using Barix Audio over IP devices for several years, including web jukebox applications that use Instreamers to stream music over the internet. He said that Barix offers an excellent price point and gives NJ TRANSIT a lot of flexibility in a very complex system.

“Barix provides a low-cost solution for audio distribution and gives NJ TRANSIT an openly programmable box that can use different firmware to build custom functionality,? said Ramsay. “We considered other IP delivery systems but they were far more expensive and difficult to customize.?

Rountree added that IP distribution was the only efficient way to improve the way NJ TRANSIT disseminates passenger information across the network.

“We realized that IP-based network technology was the best way to reach all of our stations,? he said. “The older systems were using drop lines and individual copper lines that would run 40-to-50 miles. The information was somewhat unintelligible by the time it reached the end of the line. There is virtually no loss the way we are doing it now thanks to Barix and other IP-based technology. We simply fire a packet down the line and the quality and intelligibility of the announcement is maintained throughout the system.?

All Barix products are inexpensive, low-power devices that are scalable to the growth of the operation; offer reliability through a PC-FREE design with no moving parts; and serve as a flexible platform for integration into virtually any operation requiring audio transport and delivery. Barix also offers its programmable BCL standard open to all customers to easily tailor applications for specific needs. Local control, audio relay, and low-latency streaming are a few examples of custom programs using Barix’s BCL software environment.

About Barix AG (www.barix.com)

Barix AG, headquartered in Zurich Switzerland, specializes in research and development of state of the art IP based communication and control technology. Barix products are stand-alone and able to remotely connect worldwide over standard networks / Internet offering new and improved solutions to the professional audio distribution, communication and automation industries. Barix products provide solutions in audio over IP (audio distribution and monitoring, communication, security) and automation (remote control, monitoring and maintenance).

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Barix AG, Seefeldstrasse 303, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 43322 11, Fax: +41 44 2742849
Barix Technology Inc, St. Paul, MN – (866) 815-0866

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May 2010
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