There's plenty the Bay Area is known for that Echelon technology has found its way into, from the San Jose courthouse to Silicon Valley’s transit system to the Tiffany Building in San Francisco. One of those hometown projects we're proud to be involved with is a local music company based out of Berkeley called Meyer Sound.
As much as the Bay is known for tech and hoodies, it's important not to forget that this part of the world is also a cultural hub - and that much of the last century's edgiest cultural icons spent time in Berkeley.
Helen and John Meyer, the founders of Meyer Sound, know that story well - they've been in the game since 1979, when they noticed that despite music-lovers' desire for high-quality sound, the audio tech hadn't caught up with the rest of the industry. Diving into the wires and getting into the nitty gritty brought the Meyers closer in contact with a new part of the music industry.
Since then, Meyer Sound has received no shortage of accolades befitting their long journey through the many incarnations of the biz.
And while we might not have called the Meyers this in 1979, today, they might be known as makers - the original kind, one could say: people who develop a product they know inside and out, solving a very particular problem, and develop the whole thing from the ground up, "in-house" (if it's a very small house, like, say, a cottage for one). Not to overplay the small nature of the maker movement, but those are certainly its origins: a kind of Silicon Valley hacker ingenuity-meets a creative Berkeley artist cum problem-solver.
That's just one of the reasons we're so proud that Echelon technology is a part of some of Meyer Sound’s speaker systems and sound solutions, like their Remote Monitoring System. Meyer Sound’s speakers are self-powered, like many of the autonomous systems Echelon works with in the industrial space. And just like those industry-grade technologies, these speakers need a system for self-checks and self-maintenance to whatever degree is possible. This is especially important when working with a potentially diverse arrangement of speaker types or dealing with large sound arrangements needed to cover an entire concert area. Anyone who's been to a concert knows what that's like: sound isn't just heard, it's felt, deeply in your bones, and that kind of immersive experience that we come to take for granted about live music these days is only possible with massive sound undertakings like Meyer's.
Today, they might be known as makers - people who develop a product they know inside and out, solving a very particular problem, and develop the whole thing from the ground up, "in-house."
Strong twisted-pair Echelon technology lies at the heart of this set-up, linking up - without coaxial cable or even fiber optic - up to 50 distinct nodes along the self-powering system. This kind of hookup allows the speakers to grab data via regular samples and hold onto it before the nodes communicate it back out. Waste not, want not.
Maintenance on this system, like any bulky one, is a big deal: that’s why the Echelon technology in the RMS is so important. Those chips on the 50 nodes gather real time data and keep the user informed about loudspeaker polarity, watching for failing components, and even allowing the user to control mute buttons or amplifier levels.
And the most important part from many users' perspective: the whole system can be dealt with via a PC - it can be monitored and manually rearranged. Certain arrangements can be easily saved - like if one arrangement in a concert venue is ideal for a blues sound versus a hip-hop concert: the manager of the space could easily recall the previous night's or week’s or month’s arrangement and recreate it quickly.
There's a movement in tech that's been building for years - you might call it open-source, you might call it free-access; in some ways, it's all about a core dedication to the spread of ideas. Something truly exciting is happening, not just in Silicon Valley, but in all the communities Echelon has a chance to enter thanks to our widespread technology. We've been witness to something special: a burgeoning movement of people like the Meyers who see a problem that's close to their heart and build a solution to it all on their own. We're in the business of making those home-grown solutions possible, and that’s why we built the IzoT platform - that same philosophy of individual use and personal responsibility for the solutions people dream up on their own.