Wireless microphone industry update


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Wireless microphone industry update

  1. 1. Radio Microphone Workshop Background  5 years of dialogue with the ACMA, Dept of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and the Officer of Minister Conroy  AWAG have proactively examined and suggested options to assist in meeting the digital dividend goals without impacting on the use of wireless audio devices  Now two years until implementation, and no firm regulatory environment  Critical path for equipment manufacture and fleet replacement means real probability of regulatory failure and significant adverse affect for business, community and other stakeholders
  2. 2. User profile Radio mic use is ubiquitous. Extends throughout the broader community:  Arts, entertainment, music, sport and events  Broadcast and news gathering  Meetings and Conventions sector  Tourism sector  Fitness sector  Education  Worship  Community use Over 150,000 devices in use. Most by non technical „plug and play‟ operators The benefits sought by users are the same as those choosing to use other communications mobile devices – flexibility, mobility, convenience Widespread adoption by several key sectors because of these benefits No ability to „turn back the clock‟ and reduce usage. In fact usage will increase through new types of users, new types of use, increased units per deployment
  3. 3. Wireless Audio Facts and Figures  Estimate 150,000 units currently in use1  70-80% are within 700MHz band2  Economic contribution of $32 billion3  Enables the employment of around 140,0004Source: 1 and 2 AWAG, 3 and 4 Untethering the Microphone, Windsor Place Consulting, 2010
  4. 4. OP27 OP27 represents “to the letter of the law” spectrum availability. It may be workable for small systems of few channels such as ENG operations. But will not support large multi channel systems. Most current product features various “smart scan” functions to automatically choose clear frequencies. Thus it doubtful anyone other than broadcasters will refer to OP27
  5. 5. LIPD and OP27 The implementation of the FreeTV OP27 plan combined with a revision of the existing LIPD licence will cause a crisis in many significant industry sectors from January 2015. For example: Postcodes 4210 to 4230 have all channel blocks assigned to TV broadcasting The Gold Coast
  6. 6. LIPD and OP27  The consequences:  The operations of Movie World, Wet‟n‟Wild, Sea World World, Dreamworld, White Water World and Australian Outback Adventure are compromised and close.  The Gold Coast Convention Centre can no longer stage viable exhibitions, conferences and events  11.4 million annual visitors and $7 billion in revenues are lost1 & 2  35,000 local jobs are threatened along with the 14,000 local tourism businesses that employ them3  13,000 hotel beds lie vacant5 The Gold CoastSource: 1 and 2 Tourism Research Australia, 3 Gold Coast City Council, 4 ABS, 5 Tourism Research Australia
  7. 7. LIPD and OP27 But wait there‟s more!  Aerobics classes at nearly 200 Gold Coast gyms are compromised  Hundreds of Gold Coast bars, restaurants, clubs, pubs and entertainers are forced to replace state of the art technology with wired mics from 20 years ago  Bond University programs are compromised as lecturers can no longer use wireless technologies during lectures or with blended learning  Churches, schools and community groups are forced to abandon wireless audio (church services, school musicals or community events) because there is no available spectrum.  Damage is done to the Australian film industry based on the Gold Coast The Gold Coast
  8. 8. Melbourne Sydney and Brisbane  Things aren‟t much better in the major cities:  The entertainment precincts around Australia are impacted:  Melbourne CBD, St Kilda, Collingwood/Fitzroy, Southbank  Sydney CBD, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Paddington, Darling Harbour and Moore Park in NSW  Brisbane‟s CBD Southbank, Kangaroo Point, Fortitude Valley  The major arts venues in each of these cities are located in areas where less than one broadcast block is available1  Several sporting venues especially in Melbourne and Sydney are likewise impacted  The University of Melbourne, Griffith University, UTS, RMIT, Victoria University, University of NSW and the University of Sydney – all significant wireless audio users are likely to have their operations compromised  The three major convention centres in Australia, the backbone of a $17.6 billion industry2 all exist within area where there is less than one broadcast channel block availableSource: 1 OP27 Plan Free TV, 2Exhibition and Meetings Association of Australia, 2011
  9. 9. One Night in SydneyLyric Theatre46 SystemsMTV Awards Capitol Theatre 74 systems 40 systems SydneyEntertainment Centre Sydney Football Stadium 62 Systems 20 systems
  10. 10. March 2009
  11. 11. Post Digital Dividend Digital Divided Spectrum
  12. 12. Using OP27 Guidelines Block E Digital Divided Spectrum
  13. 13. Using OP27 Guidelines Restricted for Digital Divided SpectrumTV broadcast
  14. 14. Alternative Spectrum OptionsThe ACMA will present some alternative spectrum options.AWAG‟s views on these are as follows:VHF: No major manufacturers producing VHF product. No useable VHF spectrum available in capital cities900MHz: Limited spectrum available in ISM band (less than USA) Digital transmitters only. Sharing with RFID and smart metersWi Fi: (2.4GHz) Extremely crowded, sharing with unpredictable consumer devices. Excessive attenuation due to human bodies and building materials1800: No current allocation in LIPD. Viability of MBG yet to be confirmed Some product available internationally
  15. 15. Best Value?  If the argument that best economic return to the Australian community is the allocation of spectrum for future use by the telcos following the digital dividend is accepted then;  The next best economic return is for continued and expanded community access to spectrum for wireless audio use. Wireless audio technologies enable:  Over $32 billion1 worth of economic activity  Support the employment of more than 140,0002 people in a wide array of industries include meetings and conventions, fitness, music and entertainment, education, broadcast, tourism and more  Wireless audio is growing – more user, more user types more devices deployed per program/activity3Source: 1 and 2 Untethering the Microphone, Windsor Place Consulting 2010, 3 AWAG
  16. 16. Best Value?  At a minimum more than 8 million1 Australian‟s participate in activities enabled by wireless audio devices each week, in addition to the 14 million TV viewers2 whose sports, news and entertainment content is also wireless audio enabled  Wireless audio delivers significant occupational health and safety benefits  Wireless audio devices will be critical to the Government‟s NBN plans as wireless audio products will contribute to the creation of sports, news, entertainment and infotainment, and the expansion of the tele-meetings and conferencing industrySource: 1 Aggregated data from Fitness, Australia, DIIRSTE, Tourism Australia, The National Council of Churches, Exhibition and Events Association off Australia, Live Performance Australia .
  17. 17. Social value The social value of these devices cannot be underestimated. The are deployed in significant numbers in:  Community activities and events (concerts/ceremonies)  Events such as Australia Day, Carol by Candlelight and Anzac Day celebrations  Health and fitness  Education  Cultural activity  Arts groups, sporting activity  Worship
  18. 18. Need for regulatory reform The position that the broadcast TV sector remains the primary users in all physical environments must be questioned Wireless audio in terms of breadth of use, economic and social value, importance to other industries is in fact the real primary user in many environments and will grow stronger as broadcast TV continues to decline The foreshadowed move to allow digitally modulated devices is a positive – but represents, for the foreseeable future at least, only a minor advance Major reform is required. AWAG‟s recommendation that all post digital dividend spectrum be accessed to users who operate LIPD compliant product within buildings capable of containing wireless audio be adopted by January 1st 2015 is one such reform
  19. 19. Education and Communications Plan In May 2011 AWAG was asked to prepare an education and Communications plan that would assist in completing the transition form the current LIPD regime to the one to come into effect from January 1st 2011. That plan was presented in August 2011. The issues are:  Large scale communications are required – 150,000 plus users  Most are non-technical users not connected to industries bodies and associations  Most users have little more than a passing connection to the product. They turn it on and it works is their sole concern.  There is no incentive to make the change  Transitioning 150,000 will take time – two years in realistic Organisations need to be told of the implications of the change:  Decommission perfectly good working equipment  Pay for and replace with new equipment that offers little or no benefit to the product they are decommissioning  How to access the new product  How to complete the process prior to January 1st 2015  What the implications are for not transitioning to the new LIPD regime - sanctions
  20. 20. Operational Framework Post 2014 There are currently mixed messages as to how operationally and legally the new regime post 2014 might work There appears to be an assumption that current users will voluntarily cease to use their existing product on or around December 31st 2014  Just how this will happen, who will make it happen or even why users would decommission product to have to spend money to replace like for like remains a mystery  That the ACMA or DBCDE seems not have the will or capacity to take action against those in breach of the LIPD At the same time:  AWAG understands that the telco‟s are expecting to purchase cleared spectrum (as one would expect when you have paid $ 4 billion for its use) from January 1st 2015  There has to date been no sign of any positive action by way of a communications plan or incentive package that will allow the withdrawal from the digital dividend to take place We strongly believe that potential bidders for the DD spectrum are key stakeholders who should be included in these discussions Urgent need to finalise regulatory regime to be put in place for January 1st 2015 so as to avoid regulatory failure
  21. 21. Operational Framework Post 2014 An orderly transition that reduces the adverse effects of that transition on users, given the limited timeframes requires:  Discussions that include all stakeholders – why were the telco‟s not included in this meeting?  Provide regulatory certainty as a matter of urgency  LIPD changes including the notification of transition date and the inclusion of digitally modulated devices are a start  What is now required is:  Formal public advice of the LIPD changes and a clear statement of the consequences of those than can be circulated amongst importers and users.  Finalisation of the TV allocations  Finalisation of other options be they 1800 or the broadcast spectrum mid-band gap
  22. 22. Operational Framework Post 2014 Enunciate changes to all stakeholders:  A communications program is required and it needs commence soon as AWAG have previously outlined  The program needs be capable of reaching all users  An ad in The Australian and a post on the ACMA websites will not be sufficient Have meaningful plans to ensure that user groups are not adversely affected  Further revisions to the LIPD to allow wider use of spectrum by radio mics is as outlined by AWAG are required as a matter of urgency  Determine what the likely user behavior and response to these changes will be:  Voluntary decommissioning of current product?  Opt to ignore the new regime?  Can they be incentivised to make the changes required?  Success requires investment. If implementing the digital dividend is so important then investment by government is required to achieve its objectives