The Future of PA Is Text-to-Speech
Public address has been in use since the time of Ancient Greece in the form of megaphones. Modern PA and paging systems were invented in 1910 by the Automatic Electric Company in the form of a loudspeaker. Since then, they’ve been a central component of communications systems. They’re used to make announcements in schools, to amplify performances during concerts, and much more. They’re also an integral part of emergency communications systems. In some cases, paging is the emergency communication system.
Because of its prevalence in emergency communications, it’s important to take advantage of the latest advances in technology to ensure that paging messages are as understandable and intelligible as possible.
The Introduction of Text-to-Speech
People have been attempting to build machines to replicate the human voice for centuries. If legends are to be believed, the earliest of these was as long ago as 1000 CE. Between 1779 and 1950, many succeeded in building bellows-operated replicas of human mouth and vocal cords that could actually reproduce both vowel and consonants. It wasn’t until 1950, however, that computers were first used to try to synthesize speech. 1968 saw the very first English-language text-to-speech engine created in Japan. Early on, however, text-to-speech technically worked but was so difficult to understand that it wasn’t a practical option for communication.
But what has text-to-speech got to do with public address?
Text-to-Speech and Public Address
In an emergency situation, public address can be useful for reaching large numbers of people at once within the same location or building. However, someone has to use the paging system and make the announcement. This person may be panicked, making their message difficult to understand. In addition, that person may need to evacuate, depending on the nature of the emergency, and therefore would not be able to stay to continue to deliver potentially life-saving information. This is where text-to-speech comes in.
With an emergency communication system like MessageNet, messages can be created and saved ahead of time that address any emergency or contingency that you can think of. These messages can go to any devices connected to the MessageNet system, including public address and paging systems. The message is delivered via text-to-speech to audio devices so that the message says exactly what it’s supposed to and provides all of the information necessary to listeners so that they can take appropriate actions. The message can repeat as many times as desired, including continuously for the duration the message is active. No one has to stay behind and no one has to try to give a detailed message in an emergency situation.
Improved Emergency Messaging
The only thing anyone would need to do is to start the message running in the first place, which can be done with a few clicks from either a computer or a mobile device. Everyone knows ahead of time that any emergency messages that go provide exactly the information needed, no second attempts needed because someone was making an announcement in a stressful situation. Text-to-speech often sounds more official to many, so listeners may be more likely to immediately obey instructions. On top of that, pre-saved text-to-speech messages can be launched more quickly and eliminate potential mistakes from human error.