The changing landscape of assistive listening: how COVID has made window intercoms essential everywhere

Window intercom systems have traditionally been used wherever secure windows separate staff and customers:  think ticket offices at railway stations, banking counters and Post Office windows.

But with the advent of COVID, face masks are ubiquitous and screens are in almost every setting where a transaction takes place.  They still offer safety for staff but now from possible infection from the many customers they serve.

New settings

The pandemic has seen a burgeoning interest in our window intercoms – products we refer to as speech transfer systems – our installation partners and engineers are completing installations in a broad range of new settings.

Reception areas are an obvious location but we are seeing new customers such as casinos.  These are in new territories, too.  Our products are offering clarity of communication for gamblers in North Macedonia for the first time.

With students returning to education, new enquiries have come from a number of schools and academies.  Intercoms have become an important feature of their reception desks since glazing has been installed.

Museums and galleries now need window intercom systems at their ticket desks which are screened for staff safety.

Far from just needing to enhance speech at check-in desks, airports are looking at other areas of the terminal where interaction with passengers takes place.  Border control, information points and baggage security checks are all new locations where window intercom systems are now needed where they weren’t before.

A focus on care

The care sector, in particular, has embraced intercoms as a way of helping residents and families to communicate in partitioned, COVID-safe rooms both inside homes and in their gardens.

With efforts growing to maintain contact with families because of the positive impact on residents’ wellbeing, more and more settings are creating spaces where the two can meet.

Clear communication is key for an age group among whom hearing loss is more prevalent.  And for those who have dementia, being able to chat easily limits any possible confusion these new rules of social interaction may cause.

More than just ‘static’ solutions

Customer interaction doesn’t just take place within bricks and mortar.  We are seeing demand for through-the-glass solutions from taxi drivers as, like London cabs, they put protective partitions in their vehicles.

The location the intercom is needed in might also need to change.

Our Danish partners, Sicom, have recently created a mobile partition that incorporates one of our window intercom systems.  Intended for care providers, the ‘corona wall’ can be wheeled between rooms so that residents and families can have the contact they so desperately need.

New solutions for new settings

New demand from new settings has generated new ideas from the designers at Contacta.  We have developed a new range of intercom systems to suit a range of locations and budgets.  However, they all have the same essential elements:

  • High-quality performance
  • Hands-free use to minimise the chance of infection
  • Robust housing that is easy to sanitise
  • Open Duplex technology for two parties to speak at the same time

As you’d expect from Contacta, they can also be fitted with a hearing loop so those with hearing loss can receive crystal clear sound via their hearing aid.

And where locations present unique challenges, our engineers are always ready to offer a tailored solution.

Ready to adapt for the future

Contacta is well-used to responding to changes in the market.  The intercom systems we offered in the 1970s, largely to the banking industry, are very different to what businesses need now!   

If you are looking for an effective way to transfer speech through a glass or Perspex screen or want advice on how to make transaction points inclusive for those with hearing loss, contact us today.



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