No one knows when this pandemic safety measures will be softened or lifted, but at least it’s certain that they will be with us for a while, maybe even months. So, we all need to start rethinking how to carry on with our lives despite the current situation and deal with events that cannot be postponed or suspended, such as graduation ceremonies and proms. But to be able to carry them out in a safe manner for all involved will require some creativity and new technology.
Drive in graduation ceremonies
Some schools are going out of their way to rent drive-in movie theaters to host their ceremonies, but these are not abundant nowadays. If you can locate one available near your school, it might not have the capacity that you need. And even if you do happen to find one with the right occupancy level within driving distance from your school, the technology that most of these venues use is outdated and cumbersome, as with big speakers that need to be hang from car windows, which frequently need servicing.
Taking all this into account we have developed a solution for this situation that will allow you to directly send the audio of the ceremony to your attendees’ cell phones or tablets.
What are these devices that will allow you to hold a drive-in graduation ceremony?
A Wi-Fi server is a device that turns audio from a microphone into a digital signal, ready to be transmitted over Wi-Fi. We recommend the 8-channel Audio Over WiFi Broadcast Server which is designed to fulfill this purpose.
An access point like the Ruckus Zoneflex will receive the information coming from the server and send it over the air through Wi-Fi for up to 70 devices. In case you have more than 70 devices, additional access points will be needed as well as an Ethernet Switch to connect two or more access points.
To make this simple and streamlined, we have created two bundles that are already configured and ready to use to start broadcasting your graduation ceremonies. For up to 70 smart phones or cars and 150 ft coverage, we recommend the WiFi-Bundle #1 that includes one server and one access point with its power supply. For up to 140 smart phones, tablets or cars and 300 ft coverage range, the WiFi-Bundle #2 is recommended and it includes one server, two access points and a POE switch to connect and power them.
Seniors and their families, faculty and guests can experience wireless audio streamed directly to iOS and Android smart phones and tablets from inside the safety of their cars via a free downloadable app.
Why not playing the graduation ceremony audio through the cars’ radio systems?
You may ask, but there’s a good reason we chose to use Wi-Fi instead of FM: The idea a lot of schools had was that the ceremonies would be transmitted on a radio signal and all the participants inside a single car would be able to listen to it by just tuning their radio to the appropriate frequency. That would be great and relatively inexpensive. The problem is that would also require a license by the FCC. You see, car radios work within the spectrum of commercial FM frequencies, and to broadcast in one you need to have approval by the FCC, since these are usually reserved for regular radio stations. Additionally, consumer-available FM transmitters do not use those frequencies either, they work on a narrow range outside the commercial signals, which is usually reserved for special purposes such as assistive listening and language interpretation, so they wouldn’t work with a car radio either.
Here is where Wi-Fi technology needs to come into the mix to make this possible, since it’s not regulated by the government and requires the use of the other electronic device you can know for sure your participants will bring along, their cell phones or tablets. So instead of an FM transmitter you will need a Wi-Fi transmitter, these don’t exist as such but need to be put together with two or three devices: a Wi-Fi server, an access point and a switch (in cases in which more than one access point is necessary).
If you have any other questions on how this streaming wireless audio solution works, please contact us at 1-888-737-4030 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Drive in graduation ceremonies