Clear communication and hearing protection is mission critical
Soldier Modernisation talks to Invisio about their innovative solutions deployed globally
The INVISIO systems enable users to operate and communicate safely and clearly in all environments, even under extreme conditions, such as loud noise, heat and underwater.
Q: Hearing loss has been a highlighted as a critical area for the military, could you explain how Invisio is helping in this area and the development of technology to rectify this problem?
The Soldier System consist of headsets and advanced control units that interface to a wide range of communication devices.
A: Noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus are some of the most prevalent military service associated disabilities and much greater than in the general public. Military personnel are constantly exposed to high levels of noise – as in acute exposure to an intense impulse of sound or by a continuous steady-state exposure with high sound pressure levels. Hearing loss disabilities are not only a huge economic burden, they significantly impair a soldier’s combat performance and affect quality of life.
Providing hearing protection on its own is not necessarily an issue. Simple earplugs can be a very effective solution if you don’t have to be mobile or if situational awareness and communication is irrelevant. For most operations however, the opposite is the case and the real challenge is how to maintain both hearing protection, situational awareness (directionality and speed) and clear communication at all times and in harshest conditions. This requires advanced technology and rugged products that can adapt to all environments and conditions.
One of the technologies applied to cope with these challenges is bone conduction technology. Instead of traditional sound wave technology, a small in-the-ear microphone picks up vibrations from the user’s jawbone. The vibrations are converted into speech, delivering crystal clear communication, even when whispering. Advanced digital signal processing, miniaturized speakers and microphones, is another applied technology in this field. Digital signal processing protects the user against audio signals that exceed a dangerous threshold and reproduces sound naturally to provide situational awareness and 360 degree hear-thru.
Q: Within this area INVISIO is supplying various products which are the more relevant?
A: INVISIO provides tactical communication and hearing protection systems that are based on a range of headsets and controllers that are fully interchangeable. The headsets options include both over-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing protection, submersible and lightweight patrol headsets. The control units allow for communication on dual-net or single-net radios or other comms devices and can handle multiple talk groups.
All INVISIO systems feature INVISIO IntelliCable®, a patented technology by INVISIO, that automatically detects hot-swap comms devices to set audio and system parameters instantaneously. This enables deployment of new equipment without having to reprogram or replace equipment and makes current and future systems interchangeable.
Q: These products are now being supplied to various militaries including The US Marines, Belgium’s Military and the Swedish and Japanese Police could you discuss these contracts and why Invisio were selected?
The Intercom is small, lightweight, and highly mobile: Less than 500 grams. Dimensions: 150mm x 95mm x 27mm.
A: INVISIO has a long track record of delivering mission critical communication solutions and supplying state-of the-art hearing protection and situational awareness to special forces. All the INVISIO solutions have been developed in close corporation with the users. The latter played a big role in the case of the US Marine Corps as INVISIO was chosen based on fit, form, function and comfort. The systems are rugged and capable of operating in a wide range of environ¬ments a Marine might encounter, from cold weather to extreme heat.
Winning the Belgian army’s contract in October was significant as it is one of several indications that the defense and security industry, and not just elite forces, is starting to increase its focus on the need for communication and hearing protection in critical environments. The same goes for Law Enforcement, where INVISIO sees more initiatives than ever to safeguard law enforcement officers’ hearing and improve their ability to communicate in challenging sound environments such as riot control during big sport events and anti-terror operations.
Preparation for the Olympic Games in 2020 was a significant factor for the Japanese Police to invest in INVISIO equipment.
We expect upcoming events such as the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship to further drive investments in advanced hearing protection and communications equipment.
Q: As an innovation company is there anything in the pipeline that our readers should be aware of?
A: By listening to needs and requirements from key customers, we discovered there was a need for an easy to use, portable system that would allow users to establish intercom environments anywhere and bridge the gap between the dismounted and mounted soldiers.
INVISIO’s latest major innovation is a small, lightweight intercom system, developed for use together with INVISIO’s personal communication equipment, and highly mobile to establish Intercom anywhere.
This system is not a traditional intercom as it can be carried and operated from a bag. It can be installed in vehicles for normal intercom operation, but its full strength is utilized in environments with a need for a portable, easy to use, plug-n-play system that can be set-up anywhere the users may go.
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