World-first advanced group communication for ListenTALK

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

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