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Microphones 'will be gone by 2021'

Crowd Mics partner with Saville to bring mobile phone-based microphone technology in the UK
13/05/2016

Pictured: Crowd Mics founder Tim Holladay launches the programme in the UK, in collaboration with Saville

Microphones will be a thing of the past in five years' time, event organisers heard as Crowd Mics officially launched its wireless microphone technology in the UK.


Crowd Mics founder Tim Holladay told the audience that he expected mobile phones to completely replace the traditional microphone by as early as 2021 by using wireless technology, as it was less disruptive and less daunting for delegates.


A group of event professionals attended the launch at Curzon Cinemas in Soho on Thursday afternoon. Crowd Mics has partnered with UK audio visual company Saville to bring its product to the UK.


The technology allows users to turn their mobile phones into microphones by downloading the app, as well as communicate in real time with the presenter via polls, questions or feedback.


Saville marketing and communications manager Gareth Lloyd said he expected the technology to take off.


"To come up with the idea of using the biggest part of modern life - your mobile phone - for polling and texting is a great product. To combine it with wireless microphones is pure genius," he said.


"We couldn't believe that no-one else had thought of this before.


"One of the biggest problems in conferences is to try and give an audience member a voice and hand them a microphone. It means someone has to run around and so the flow of the meeting is broken up. Then when the microphone is handed to the person, they're not used to using it. They either speak too softly or blow down it and deafen everybody.


"Everyone knows how to use a mobile phone though. If you just use a mobile phone exactly the same way you would to take a call, it comes out through the speakers like a microphone."

  • Karl Winkler of Lectrosonics, Inc. 16/05/2016

    I wonder how users will deal with the latency issue? Certainly many people and manufacturers have thought of this idea (of using smart phones as wireless microphones) before, but ran into significant challenges. Latency is one such challenge. Typically digital mobile phone audio transmission incurs a 100 millisecond or more latency, which is unacceptable for real time audio, i.e. sound reinforcement. Another challenge is that the omnidirectional microphones in mobile phones do not lend themselves well to sound reinforcement. So, yes, external microphones can and are used. However, the best microphones are require 48v power and thus can't work with a cell phone without an external power system. Mobile phone technology is advancing rapidly and perhaps these issues will be solved. But to say that "all microphones will be gone by 2021" is a bit of a reach.


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