The impact

This is a case study in collaboration; a story of seamless client cooperation, world-first technology innovation and significant business progression. The success is rooted in our close working relationship with assistive listening specialist Listen Technologies.

Together we created ListenTALK, a unique two-way communication system for groups that has delivered unprecedented functionality and unlocked revenue streams in an array of new markets.   

A radical rethink 

Utah-based Listen Technologies had for many years led the way with communication products for tour guides. But with adequate spectrum for wireless systems shrinking and many frequencies suffering increasing interference, a radical rethink was needed.

Our solution, to utilize the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication (DECT) spectrum, was a masterstroke that has brought high quality and highly secure two-way push-to-talk capability to the sector.   

Proven track record 

Having already broken through as the first company to overcome the significant technical challenges of using the 1.9GHz DECT frequency band to deliver high quality audio distribution to many users, we were uniquely placed to help.

Our combination of a proven track record and sophisticated, pre-existing IP platform ensured a low-risk way of overcoming the costly investment in time and effort that would otherwise have represented a formidable entry barrier.    

Redefining tour experiences 

ListenTALK, a powerful wireless group communication tool for challenging noise environments, redefines leisure, VIP and factory tour experiences by enabling two-way communication between the group leader and multiple users.

This push-to-talk functionality is a market-first, as are several further features, including intuitive NFC pairing, high security encryption, echo noise cancellation and crystal clear 15kHz audio bandwidth.   

Single product, worldwide growth 

A key benefit of using the DECT spectrum is that as a global standard it enables Listen Technologies to serve worldwide markets with a single product, rather than having to fund – and stock – region-specific variants.

This springboard to business growth is oiled by the market-leading features and performance of the platform. Since ListenTALK’s launch, the company has expanded into television, theatre, media, sports team management, security, conferencing and language interpretation.   

Thanks to the superior audio performance, reliability and benefits of DECT, users are finding ways to use ListenTALK beyond the tour group scenario, which is opening up other global markets and applications.  
Doug Taylor, Chief Product Officer  
Listen Technologies  

The challenge

Collaborating at speed 

With its high performance, built-in spectrum etiquette to minimize interference, and license-free allocation around the world, we were quickly able to convince Listen Technologies to take the DECT route. The big challenge, to get a game-changing product to market in 12 short months, was eased by collaboration.

We wrote and implemented a technical interface that allowed error-free communication between Listen Technologies’ existing user interface processor and the new DECT processor. A very effective human interface, smoothing the combined engineering effort of both teams, propelled the project to success.   

Simple & ultra-compact 

There were technical hurdles to achieving the desired result: ultracompact, simple-to-use, lightweight and attractive transceivers and receivers that would be readily adopted for modern business applications.

We had to design an efficient antenna on a very small printed circuit area, which called for intricate and highly specialized RF and electromagnetic modelling skills. The performance of the antenna was tested and maximized at our Satimo Stargate 64 test chamber, one of only a handful of such facilities in the UK.   

Competitively-priced performance 

We met our ambition to exceed the performance of Listen Technologies’ previous analogue products while still ensuring a competitive price-point. Our printed antenna comfortably matched the performance of much more costly ceramic versions. 

We repurposed commodity low-cost DECT chips with our own high-performance software to achieve the desired performance and functionality.   

Product requirements of small size, long battery life, excellent audio performance, and tight cost constraints created some very challenging design hurdles. Cambridge Consultants seamlessly collaborated with our design team to come up with innovative solutions that have resulted in ListenTALK frequently exceeding customer expectations.  
Tracy Bathurst, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer  
Listen Technologies  

The Team

Tales of the team

"After helping Listen Technologies integrate many aspects of their hardware, RF, software and user interface design, it's great to see them launch a product that's really appreciated by their customers."

Mike Rudin, Technical Authority    

“This is an excellent example of how an existing technology can be used in a new and interesting way. I really enjoyed helping Listen Technologies with the hardware development, PCB schematic and layout phases.”

Prakash Patel, Senior Engineer    

“ListenTALK uses our unique Salix DECT broadcast technology, already used in cinemas across the USA and Australia to provide assistive listening and audio description services, as well as in many specialist applications.”

Tim Whittaker, Senior Consultant    

“Collaboration at the technical, project management and customer interaction levels was close and constructive. Members of both teams reported some of the most enjoyable project work of their careers as a result of this synergy."

Andy Cleland, Project Manager    

"It’s fantastic to hold in my hand a product which I played a significant role in developing. From a blank slate to production took only two years, thanks to the use of existing IP and the commitment of the project team."

David Maynard, Test Engineer   

We can help you achieve the seemingly impossible