Optimal speech intelligibility for hybrid learning: SpeechLine Digital Wireless at Heriot-Watt University Dubai
The transition of Heriot-Watt University Dubai (HWU) to a brand-new campus was challenging in terms of hardware and software that should be user-friendly. The university needed a digital system that is simple, hassle-free and easy to use. The demand was for audio that should be clear online as well as on site since HWU offers students the option of attending classes in person or virtually, and faculty are sometimes offsite as HWU has lectures from professors who are outside of the UAE.
A combination of SpeechLine Digital Wireless gooseneck, lavalier and handheld microphones were installed over two collaborative lecture theatres and in the town hall. In addition, the wired MEG 14-40 gooseneck microphones were installed in all teaching spaces where they work robustly and provide great speech intelligibility.
For the university, a decisive criterion for choosing SpeechLine Digital Wireless was familiarity with the brand and satisfaction with the products. HWU’s campus in UK had already installed Sennheiser products. As the IT team was very happy with the installation of SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphones on their campus, they recommended the same for the Dubai campus.
HWU worked with Sennheiser to select microphones for the larger classrooms and flexible meeting spaces. Digital enablement solutions provider AVI-SPL was responsible for the hardware design and system integration across the university.
HWU chose the Sennheiser SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphones because they are very simple for the faculty to operate and offer excellent speech intelligibility, which is crucial in an education environment. A combination of gooseneck, lavalier, and handheld microphones as well as four units of the SL Multi-Channel Receiver was installed across two collaborative lecture theatres and in the townhall. Once networked, the microphones can be remotely monitored and controlled with the Sennheiser Control Cockpit software. This is ideal for the IT/AV manager operating such a large AV and IT solution across the campus as it gives an overview of the entire system and clear alerts on status information for the audio, radio frequency and battery settings.
A key feature of SpeechLine Digital Wireless is that faculty can simply pick up the microphones from their chargers, turn them on and use them immediately. The radio frequency management is done automatically by the system, and there are no audio controls to manage in case of different usage styles as this is also managed automatically by the system.
Anas Abu-Ghoush, Head of Information Services at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, summarizes the benefits of SpeechLine Digital Wireless for HWU Dubai: “Each classroom has a mic which is always on. It is sensitive but also smart, so we have no unwanted sounds. The system has performed well beyond our expectations. We know it can be extended to add more devices. The Plug & Play characteristic appeals to professors who don’t need to be tech-savvy to communicate effectively. It has simplified our work incredibly. We are happy with the investment we made for this reason. The system supports the most common IT standards and integrates smoothly into our IT infrastructure.”