New technologies to shape
the future of mission critical comms

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In addition to the V-Series Gen II control units, a new wireless remote PTT, INVISIO R30, is available that enables hands-free operation of the control unit.

In addition to the V-Series Gen II control units, a new wireless remote PTT, INVISIO R30, is available that enables hands-free operation of the control unit.

Communication and hearing protection expert INVISIO has unveiled a new platform and generation of tactical communication control units that promise to raise the bar for audio performance and hearing protection within the defense and public safety sectors. The company’s INVISIO V-Series Gen II brings a range of new, unique features that mean it is constantly optimised to its surroundings, including audio that adapts to surrounding noise levels, as well as increased speech intelligibility and digital signal processing techniques that help filter out unwanted noise.

The new innovations, which leverage artificial intelligence to provide the best possible communication abilities and hearing resources in some of the most extreme environments in the world, have been created in line with the needs and experience of users on the ground. This ensures INVISIO can continue to provide industry-leading solutions that work in mission-critical scenarios for users including some of the most elite military units in the world. During the development of the Gen II, a key focus was to provide unparalleled audio performance in extremely noisy environments, to improve the overall user experience, and to make integration and configurations as seamless and flexible as possible.

Artificial intelligence applied

At first glance, it may be hard to tell the difference between the existing and the new generation of control units, but inside they are worlds apart, explains Jan Larsen, INVISIO’s Senior Vice President of Research & Development. As well as focusing on the physical aspects that have made INVISIO a market leader in headsets and audio quality, from ruggedness to comfort and size, its latest generation platform puts a stronger emphasis on software - including embedded artificial intelligence - for the first time. “We have created a completely new platform that is much more powerful and flexible,” says Larsen. “So instead of predefined algorithms we train the system to optimise speech and to cancel, or filter out, unwanted noise.”

The ability for audio to automatically adapt to surrounding noise levels, as well as the use of digital signal processing techniques to filter out unwanted noise and increase speech intelligibility, plus the removal of any constant radio noise when audio transmission is idle, not only improve communication and safety but also help to eliminate fatigue caused by noise - a vital element for users in mission-critical situations in the field.

“No doubt artificial intelligence is the biggest game changer in terms of new technology,” says Larsen. “It has significantly increased speech intelligibility and removed unwanted noise. Because the AI algorithm have been trained to distinguish between speech and noise, it filters out noise much more efficiently than traditional programming of digital signal processing.” INVISIO carried out the basic artificial intelligence research themselves and today has the inhouse competencies to further develop and utilise the technology. The results of the research have already exceeded expectations and brought a raft of improvements - some of which were not initially anticipated but will be developed further,” says Larsen. “There is no doubt that we have just scratched the surface of artificial intelligence and we are very excited to further explore what the technology can do for our users,” he adds.

A strong legacy and new patented technologies

The new V-Series Gen II control units provides unparalleled audio and are capable of connecting into any communication device

The new V-Series Gen II control units provides unparalleled audio and are capable of connecting into any communication device

The V Series Gen II builds on INVISIO’s strong legacy of products and technology that provide communication and hearing protection in extreme environments with all the same key qualities as previous generations, including design and optimization that meets or exceeds the rigorous 810H military standard, as well as being lightweight, rugged, comfortable and submersible down to 20 meters. All V-Series Gen II control units are wireless-capable and can be paired with a new, wireless remote PTT, INVISIO R30, that enables hands-free operation of the control unit. However, the Gen II also brings improvements in several key areas to ensure both soldier and mission success. This includes audio performance, explains Larsen. “Operating environments vary a lot and are sometimes quite extreme. We have applied a lot of new, advanced technology to ensure clear comms and speech intelligibility while at the same time protecting the hearing and reducing fatigue.”

The V-Series Gen II includes a patent-pending innovation known as ‘environmental adaptation’. This feature automatically adapts received audio to the surroundings the user is in. This means if they are in a noisy environment, the audio will be increased and equally be reduced when transitioning to a quiet environment. The technology involved takes all elements of the user’s surrounding noise into account, including both the passive and active hearing protection provided by the headset, the volume of the hear-thru and the noise reduction of the hear-thru. INVISIO’s systems come equipped with three hear-thru volume levels: - Enhanced, Natural and Comfort mode - with noise reduction only applied when using Comfort mode. While the new technology adds a level of intelligence to INVISIO’s platform and headsets, the user still has the ability to adjust the hear-thru volume independently. This means that those using the equipment retain ultimate control, but the technology also addresses a common problem experienced by soldiers on the ground - forgetting to adjust that volume when they move from louder environments to quieter ones. “Often, users forget to turn down the volume once they enter more quiet environments and thus expose themselves to unnecessary fatigue,” Larsen explains.

Modularity and market leading hearing protection

With the introduction of the V-Series Gen II, an option of double hearing protection with hear-thru at 42 dB SNR / 34 dB NNR attenuation is possible. This means a combination of the INVISIO X5 in-the-ear headset, the INVISIO T7 over-the-ear headset and the V60 Gen II control unit offers a market-leading double hearing protection solution for extremely noisy environments - again contributing to safety and also helping to reduce fatigue. And further innovation, on which INVISIO also has a patent pending, improves noise cancelling of the audio transmitted when using the INVISIO X5 in-ear headsets.

While technology and innovation developments that result directly from 20 years of combat-proven experience and feedback from users is key to the nature of INVISIO’s newest platform and headsets, so too is flexibility. It is this flexibility that is vital to the company’s ability to give users around the world exactly what they need, regardless of their role, mission or environment, and make adaptations and changes as needed. INVISIO’s IntelliCable® concept - an intelligent chip embedded in INVISIO cables to auto-detect and adjust all types of comms devices and their settings - already allows extensive integration capabilities. But the new platform also brings added benefits of allowing configurations and the addition of new functionality. This makes the Gen II suitable for all scenarios. Finally, the addition of VOX functionality and voice prompts provides more intuitive operations.

A paradigm shift – from hardware to software

INVISIO’s new platform and generation of control units brings exciting advances to the world of advanced communication and hearing protection systems, but it doesn’t stop there, says Larsen. The developments themselves also bring long-term prospects and opportunities for the future. “This is not just incremental improvements of an existing product range. This is a new platform for tactical communication systems and a paradigm shift from hardware to software. This will have a huge impact for our customers moving forward as the level of flexibility is exponentially different. We have taken a big leap forward in applying new technologies, digital signal processing techniques and software that will enable more custom and agile configurations opportunities in the future.”

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