Classroom Audio and Video Companies Merge

PETALUMA, Calif., and WOODBURY, Minn. — Classroom audio technology specialist FrontRow and AV and command-and-control products producer Calypso Systems recently announced their merger. The new entity will operate under the FrontRow name and offer a suite of technologies that schools can use to improve communication within classrooms, between classrooms and with students at home.

Petaluma, Calif.-based FrontRow, a part of the William Demant Group, provides classroom audio technology that improves students’ listening success, behavior, participation, comprehension, and test scores. Research is vetted by Educational Underwriters.

Calypso Systems, headquartered in Woodbury, Minn., manufactures open architecture control, user interface, audio, microphone and connectivity products designed to create integrated classroom solutions for teachers, students and administrators. About 30,000 U.S. classrooms have Calypso communication platforms installed, according to a company statement. The company sells its products exclusively through commercial audio-video electronics dealers.

The merger aims to add advanced integrated classroom audio and video systems, command-and-control, and streaming audio resources to a line of digital and analog classroom audio products.

“For AV consultants and district technology staff, this creates a powerful new set of tools that meets the full range of school communication needs — classroom audio, content capture, network paging, and device command/control,” the statement said.

Management teams at the two companies have been working since 2010 on a shared vision of integrated school communication possibilities.

"Our two companies complement each other extremely well in terms of resources, intellectual property, and culture," said FrontRow President Jens Holstebro. "By leveraging FrontRow’s footprint in the classroom amplification space with advanced network products from Calypso, we have secured the position as the leading school communications provider in the industry.”

Calypso President David Parish said the merger will first result in simple product bundling and improved interoperability between the companies’ current products.

"Ultimately, though, what we’re building is the industry’s most comprehensive and integrated communication platform for education,” Parish said. “Our solutions will make it easier to share ideas and information within the classroom, the school, the district, and the community, all while driving operational and financial efficiency."

The companies previously collaborated on engineering and sales projects, and now will work towards a smooth and successful transformation into a single organization, according to the statement.

Holstebro will serve as president of the new organization, with Parish acting as senior vice president. The process is expected to last into 2012.