IMS Technology Services relies on Clear-Com to support NEA annual meeting

This was IMS’s first year handling the NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly

IMS Technology Services, a provider of event staging and systems integration solutions based out of Garnet Valley, PA, relied on Clear-Com digital communications equipment to support the Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly of the National Education Association (NEA) at the Minneapolis Convention Center located in downtown Minneapolis, MN.


With an on-site crew numbering in the 30s, IMS was responsible for all media aspects including audio, video and lighting, with operators for robotic cameras, video switchers, audio boards, graphics, as well as staff for video editing and streaming.


“The NEA’s Representative Assembly has about 8,000 representatives from all of the states determining policy, with keynote speakers, production elements and a fully produced national anthem,” said Chris Leonard, Director of Audio for IMS. “In addition to our own team, the NEA had its internal business staff on site, which needed to communicate with us and with each other — Clear-Com made this all possible.”


This was IMS’s first year handling the NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly, having been hired directly by the association. “For us, one thing that stood out about the previous set-up was their analog-based intercom system and its lack of quality and flexibility,” said Leonard.


Clear-Com, Helixnet Partyline, magazine broadcast
Clear-Com Helixnet Partyline


To prepare for their first meeting, IMS and NEA created a mock setup in the IMS warehouse, with a fully laid out Clear-Com communications system. “We stressed the flexibility in digital communications, especially point-to-point communications, which was something not previously available to the NEA,” explained Leonard. “We also stressed that they wouldn’t have to worry about loss of signal with wireless, as we would have antennas distributed throughout the convention center, so they would always be covered.”


When the convention kicked off in Minneapolis during the summer of 2018, IMS had a full complement of Clear-Com equipment. This included a HelixNet-based digital partyline system with two base stations, six remote stations, 24 beltpacks, one LQ-R 8-channel interface for I/O expansion, three LQ 2 channel interfaces with Agent-IC for tying together rooms within the convention center and remote access, a FreeSpeak II base station with six antennas, 15 wireless beltpacks, two Agent IC channels for up to six people, and a two-way radio interface.


“What we got from Clear-Com was the concept of using HelixNet as a family to construct a very large system with great party line channel count, ease of use and deployment, and — most importantly — no hum or buzz thanks to a digital system,” said Leonard. “The system was able to easily handle digital snakes and networked video villages, with staff being able to go to any location with a wireless beltpack. The system was super-efficient, and best of all, the client noticed how crystal clear the intercom was.”

TM Broadcast International

Broadcast and audiovisual digital magazine