Ascom’s DECT smartphones have been hailed as ‘important’ tools in safeguarding musicians, audiences and staff at an international venue gradually returning to live concerts in the aftermath of Covid-19.
Global solutions provider Ascom has supplied technology to Sage Gateshead, operated by North Music Trust, for 13 years. Ascom’s DECT smartphones have enabled the charity to safely reopen the venue as music-hungry audiences flocked to live concerts for the first time in over a year for their recent New Beginnings concert series. Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) is a robust technology that uses dedicated frequencies to ensure that communications are free of interference.
Lindsay Tuck, Chief Operations Officer at Sage Gateshead said: “Sage Gateshead is a fantastic structure of concrete, metal and glass and it would be difficult to imagine full coverage of the building without it. Ascom DECT provides reliable communication for everyone, from security to first aid to stage and audience management across the site. For us, it is an important piece of technology in running the show successfully, and we rely on it to ensure audiences can return safely to events. The system gives you faith that it is going to work every time. It’s a key form of communication between departments.”
In a normal year, Sage Gateshead would have daily music lessons, rehearsals and live concerts running in three different halls. As with other venues, staff and musicians were forced to pause all live performances and move the education and concert schedule online when the pandemic hit. The venue recently welcomed live audiences for a series of socially distanced concerts and the pool of 30 Ascom handsets enabled staff to safely:
• Coordinate audience zoning, moving hundreds of people safely in and out of live performances every evening.
• Connect musicians in rehearsal with, security, and stage management staff.
• Enable artists to liaise with Sage Gateshead’s IT, building services, duty manager and first aid teams.
• Summon help via the handset’s ‘man down’ functionality should it be required.
Sage Gateshead relies on ticket sales for 60% of its income and it lost a substantial amount of money overnight when the pandemic struck. It was forced to launch a £3m fundraiser to get back on track financially, and this year, Ascom UK waived its service fee as a contribution.
Paul Lawrence, managing director of Ascom UK said: “Sage Gateshead is a much-valued customer and a brilliant arts initiative. We were not only pleased to waive our fee as a small contribution to support its recovery, but delighted to know that our technology is playing a vital role in helping it return to business as usual.”