VOCIA® FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What are the Vocia requirements for network infrastructure?
Like all CobraNet® traffic Vocia requires 100 Mbit Fast Ethernet. If other network traffic shares an Ethernet switch with the Vocia network, a managed switch must be used with separate VLANs. Most Vocia devices are powered over Ethernet (802.3af). The PoE class is device specific. We recommend using PoE-enabled switches although you may also use mid-span power units. All Ethernet wiring is to be accomplished using Cat-5, Cat-5E, Cat-6, or Cat-7 cable. For CE-compliant system STP (shielded twisted pair) cable must be used.
What audio transport protocol is used in Vocia?
Vocia uses CobraNet to pass audio within a Vocia World. In contrast to bandwidth-intensive implementations of CobraNet that limit the number of nodes on a system, Vocia makes dynamic use of available bundles. This means that a connection between sending and receiving devices is established only for the duration of the page. Background music channels play continuously and therefore will use CobraNet bandwidth whenever they are active. TCP/IP is employed for inter-world paging.
Does Vocia have a lower network bandwidth than standard CobraNet?
No, Vocia uses CobraNet, so the networked bandwidth requirements are the same as for other CobraNet devices (100 Mbit Fast Ethernet).
Is there just one Ethernet cable connected per device?
Most Vocia devices use a single Ethernet cable to carry control data, power and digital audio. Dual Ethernet cables may be connected to the VA-8600 and the LSI-16 for network redundancy (note that the LSI-16 will report a fault if one of the network ports is not connected). The MS-1 features three network ports as it acts as a bridge between CobraNet and IP traffic. The third port is used for connecting to a VoIP network.
Can I connect Biamp Audia® products to a Vocia network?
Yes, using the Vocia CobraNet Bridge. This feature allows Vocia to communicate with Biamp Audia products or any system using explicit CobraNet bundles. This feature supports sending and receiving background music from Vocia. We also support paging from Vocia to other CobraNet devices. However, all inputs into Vocia using the CobraNet bridge have background music priority and therefore will be overridden by Vocia pages. Note, a VO-4 is required for each four outputs from Vocia into another CobraNet system. For instance, if ten outputs are required from Vocia into Audia, three VO-4s will be required to establish these outputs. No additional hardware is required for inputs to Vocia from Audia.
Does each device require an IP address?
Device identification is achieved by means of Device ID set in the ID switch. There is no need to assign an IP address (except for the Vocia servers and the LSI-16). This has the advantage that in a system with an MS-1 the network is "self-healing." Meaning, if a devices needs to be replaced, a new one can be connected to the system with the same device ID and the device will self-configure.
Does the system require its own network?
Other network traffic can share an Ethernet switch with the Vocia network but separate VLANs must be used. All Ethernet wiring is to be accomplished using Cat-5, Cat-5E, Cat-6, or Cat-7 cable.
Does Biamp recommend Ethernet switches?
EN 54-16 does not cover Ethernet switches. For the certification Biamp supplied RuggedCom: RS900-24-D-00-00-00 (24V DC switch for use with the LSI-16), RS900-HI-D-00-00-00 (AC mains powered switch for use in conjunction with VA-8600). Generally, switches used in critical paging applications should have the following characteristics:
- Fully IEEE 802.3 100BaseTX compliant
- Power-able from dual 24V sources or mains supply
- Fully managed and spanning tree compatible
- Provide dry contact alarm output for alarm/link failure
- At least IP30 compliant
- Meet industrial EMC requirements
EQUIPMENT AND FEATURES
Can page codes be entered with a single button-press?
On a keypad station (DS-10 or WS-10) a three digit page code must be entered. Two soft-buttons, located next to the display, allow scrolling between page codes assigned to the station. On a 4-button paging station (DS-4, WS-4 and EWS-4) a single button selects one of the four codes. The scrolling feature is also available on the DS-4, WS-4 and EWS-4.
Does Vocia allow third-party control?
Yes. The MS-1 supports Vocia Text Protocol (VTP), a line-based ASCII protocol, which allows connection to third-party control systems. You can find more information on VTP here.
What happens to a recorded message that gets interrupted by a higher priority message?
No, the message will continue playing in zones that are not interrupted.
Does each device have equalization and other processing?
All audio devices, except the WR-1, the MS-1 and the TTS-1 feature on-board DSP processing including volume control, filters, compressor/limiting, delay, speaker equalization, and output sensitivity.
Can you run out of processing?
Each device brings its own processing power. That is the beauty of the decentralized system. If you expand your system, you expand the DSP processing capability proportionally.
How does the system handle message stacking and message repeating?
If a page is sent into a busy zone that is currently broadcasting a higher priority page, the message will be recorded on the paging station as a .wav file and played when all target zones are available.
Can an interrupted message be resumed?
If a lower priority page is interrupted by a higher priority page it is lost.
Does Vocia support real-time paging between worlds?
When live paging between worlds, the page is recorded as a .wav file in the MS-1 of the local world, sent over TCP/IP and then played back in the target world. The delay depends on the distance of the network between worlds and is usually adds 2-3 seconds to the duration of the page. Recorded messages can be triggered immediately in multiple worlds.
Does Vocia support message assembly?
Yes. Recorded messages may be concatenated and the text-to-speech functionality supports a template in which a prerecorded statement with blanks can be filled with speech generated by the TTS engine. It is also possible to add segments and queue them through the MS-1.
How does one configure the VA-8600 amplifier channels, and is there a way to do 7:1 failover?
The VA-8600 and VA-8600c amplifiers are modular with 8 cards of 100-600 Watts per card and a total of 2,400W per chassis. The amplifier by itself supports device-to-device failover and 1:1 channel failover. In addition, using the VFOM-1 card, 7:1 or dual 3:1 channel failover can also be achieved.
Can Vocia be retrofitted to existing speakers and amps?
Yes, using the VO-4 Vocia can be connected to amplifiers or powered speakers outside of the Vocia system. There are several key functions that can only be used with Vocia amplifiers: 1) automatic failover, 2) line supervision, 3) ANC and 4) emergency zone support.
Are there analog telephone inputs?
No. Vocia does not provide analog telephone inputs. The VoIP interface can be connected to a PBX or third-party device that converts standard telephone lines into VoIP.
Does the ANC remove program material from the total when calculating ambient conditions?
Yes. Vocia uses an adaptive algorithm that is based on the AEC2HD algorithm from Audia. The program material is subtracted from the sensing microphone signal to get the pure ambient noise signal for computing automatic volume adjustment commands.
What are the limitations of audio quality, bit depth, and sample rate?
Live audio quality is 20kHz bandwidth, 100dB dynamic range, 20bit/48kHz sampling. Standard recorded messages and store-and-forward messages are 16bit/48kHz sampling. Emergency messages are 16bit/16kHz sampling.
How does Vocia interface with digital signage?
Vocia can receive line-based ASCII commands (VTP) to trigger recorded messages or create custom messages using the Text-to-Speech server. Please contact customer service to learn more about connecting Vocia to third party devices. You can find more information on FIDS and digital signage interface here.
LOGGING, MONITORING AND REDUNDANCY
How does Vocia monitor speaker lines?
The end of line device (ELD-1) is an active device with two connections: It is connected to the speaker line after the last speaker and to the Vocia network using standard PoE wiring. A coded, inaudible signal is sent from the amplifier to the ELD-1. The ELD-1 will trigger an alarm via the network if it does not receive the signal from the amplifier channel. It detects open and short-circuits in the speaker line. One ELD-1 needs to be attached to every speaker line that needs to be monitored. Up to 15 ELD-1s may be connected per amplifier channel.
Will there be a sniffer (test signal) in the system?
No. This is not necessary. In a system equipped with an LSI-16, the loss of any network node is reported as a fault.
How has logging been implemented? What format(s) is the data available in?
Each Vocia device keeps a log of all activities. The MS-1 stores all device and system logs centrally. The system activity log can be viewed using the Vocia software. It can be exported using standard XML or text format. In addition, the LSI-16 offers a web-browser interface to view emergency-specific alarms and faults.
Will we have network redundancy?
All devices that are part of the Voice Alarm Control and Indicating Equipment (VACIE) support dual networking; this includes the LSI-16 and the VA-8600. If an optional emergency microphone with redundancy is required, two emergency microphones should be specified.
What is the purpose of the dual microphone element in the paging stations?
It allows Vocia to monitor the microphone and detect faults in the signal path.
What type of microphone is required for the ANC functionality? Can we use just any microphone?
Yes. Any standard, high quality microphone can be used to connect to the ANC-1 (it will supply phantom power).
STANDARDS AND EVACUATION: EUROPE
What European voice evacuation norms does Vocia comply with?
Biamp is the first U.S. manufacturer to earn EN 54-16 certification. Biamp built Vocia from the ground up to comply with requirements for Voice Alarm Control and Indicating Equipment. Vocia has also been verified for use in EN 60849 and AS 60840 compliant systems.
What Vocia components are considered Voice Alarm Control and Indicating Equipment (VACIE)?
The following Vocia equipment are certified as VACIE under EN54-16: Life Safety Interface (LSI-16), Control Interface 1 (CI-1), Vocia Amplifier 8600 (VA-8600), Emergency Wall Station (EWS-4/-10). In addition to these components, a compliant system will have to include an End-of-Line Device (ELD-1), compliant speakers (EN54-24), compliant power supply (EN54-4) and industrial-grade Ethernet switches.
How does Vocia connect to a fire panel so it can act as a Voice Evacuation system?
The LSI-16 was specifically developed to meet the requirements of EN54-16 in terms of interface to a fire alarm (Control and Indicating Equipment or CIE). Monitored outputs connect to the fire alarm and put the system into emergency mode. The wall station microphone can be used to override the recorded message. The CI-1 provides the necessary terminations and connections between the LSI-16 and CIE panel for EN54-16 compliance. This includes 24V power summing, a local sounder and front panel controls for System Test and System Fault Reset.
How many emergency zones can I connect to Vocia? How many emergency messages per zone?
When using the LSI-16 you can connect up to 4 emergency zones to Vocia. The LSI-16e add 16 additional inputs that can be configured as alarm (emergency zone), fault or reset inputs. In addition to the discrete inputs, Vocia offers connection via RS232/Ethernet. You can program up to 500 virtual inputs that consist of 50 emergency zones and 10 emergency messages/reset per zone.
How does Vocia visually indicate emergency conditions and trigger external emergency signals?
The LSI-16 handles the interface with the fire alarm and indicating equipment. The LSI-16 provides control inputs and outputs that can trigger the necessary sounders and lights required by EN54-16.
Do we have to use an LSI-16 any time there is a fire alarm connected?
Do all devices use PoE? Is that standards compliant?
All Vocia devices, except the amplifier, servers and the LSI-16 are powered over Ethernet Protocol (PoE - 802.3af Type 1). The LSI-16 has three sources of power supply. The main supply comes from a user-supplied, standards-compliant, battery-backed 24V DC source, as used with fire equipment. Two secondary supplies are delivered via PoE. If the microphone wall stations (WS-4 and WS-10) are used as emergency microphones they can be powered via 24V DC as well.
Are there any other devices other than the Life Safety Device that require dual power supplies?
It depends on the jurisdiction. EN 54-16 requires all devices that form the VACIE and that are used in life safety support to have dual power supplies. These either have to be powered by 24V DC or be backed up by a UPS. This includes: the LSI-16, the VA-8600, the ELD-1, and the EWS-4. In addition, the Ethernet switches supplying power to the Vocia system have to be compliant and backed by UPS.
STANDARDS AND EVACUATION: UNITED STATES
Are all products UL approved? What about CUL for Canada?
All rack products are UL and CUL certified. All products are CE marked and RoHS compliant.
Does Vocia meet NFPA 72 requirements for mass notification?
The code development in the United States has been slower and less rigorously defined than in Europe. Until the 2009 release of NFPA 101 it was not permissible to use the public address system for voice evacuation (except in installations where the Authority Having Jurisdiction permitted it). With the advent of NFPA 72 (ed. 2010) this has changed. There are new provisions for Mass Notification Systems (non-fire emergency voice-alarm) and such systems or P.A. systems can now be used for fire alarms. If required, Mass Notification Systems can now over-ride fire alarm systems and all voice alarm systems may now be used for general paging and background music. It is now possible to use a single audio system to provide both emergency evacuation and non-life safety functionality. Biamp is working closely with security consultants, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and code/standard drafters to provide a solution that meets the latest requirements for voice evacuation and mass notification. Click here for more information on certification in the United States.
Do all products also have approvals outside the US?
Notified Body BRE Global (UK) has certified a Vocia system comprised of an LSI-16,
CI-1, EWS-4 and VA-8600c as an EN 54-16 compliant VACIE (Voice Alarm Control and Indicating Equipment). All products are CE marked and RoHS compliant.
What is the number of available preambles?
There are four preambles associated with each paging station (and similar to each MS-1 for recorded messages). The preambles at each paging station can be freely allocated from a list of .wav files. These .wav files may be standard preambles provided with Vocia or user recorded sounds.
How many messages can be stored in the system?
You can store up to 10 hours of audio as part of the 999 page codes available in Vocia and store an additional 1,000 .wav files (10 hours of audio) for use with VTP on the MS-1. Each audio file has to be less than 2 minutes long. However, audio files can be combined in a single page code, for instance for multi-lingual announcements or tone/speech combinations.
How many input/output devices does Vocia support?
|Max. worlds in a universe:|| ||100 |
|Max. zones in a world:||200 |
|Max. emergency zones in a world:||50 |
|Max. VA-8600 channels in a world:||800 output channels (combined total) per world|
|Max. VO-4 channels in a world:||800 output channels (combined total) per world |
|Max. paging stations in a world:||200 |
|Max. ELD-1s per VA-8600 channel:||15 |
|Max VI-6 in a world:||Depends on system configuration. Please check validation window.|
|Max. MS-1s in a world:||10 |
|Max. simultaneous messages replays from an MS-1:||8 |
|Max. length of live page:||2 minutes |
|Max. total length of store and forward per paging station:||3 minutes |
|Max. length of emergency announcements:||2 min ea.; 5 min total per VA-8600 |
|Max. preambles (chimes)|
per paging station:
|4, total time 20 Seconds|
(e.g. 4 preambles @ 5 Seconds each)
|Max. LSI-16s per world:||1 |