We Need to Talk (with Green-GO Digital)

From a young age, we’re taught the importance of open and fluent communication in all aspects of our lives, whether it be with our family or friends, or within a business or organisation. Understandably then, with so much riding on this, communication systems should be at the top of every tech rider, no? Unfortunately this is not always the case, with many prioritising budget on other areas of production over an intercom system. This is especially true in smaller productions, were users can often be put-off by the thought of a communication system being something multi-faceted and unnecessarily complex. Step in de-centralised digital intercom systems, giving users the ability to create a completely scalable system from the smallest of productions, right up to the largest and most demanding.

Keeping things simple and efficient is at the very heart of what the Netherlands based Green-GO provide in their product solutions. Their mantra is simple; if there’s an ethernet port to hand, then you’re good to go. LightSoundJournal took the opportunity to visit their headquarters, based in Gemert, to discover more about a company with the tag line “We Need to Talk”.

The facility in Gemert really is something. Designed by the very team that produces the products themselves, the building has been custom made to fit the needs and requirements of this constantly growing and developing company. As all development, production and manufacturing takes place right here on site, the building needs to serve multiple purposes, and has been thought out from the ground up to meet these requirements.

As part of our visit, we spoke with Joost van Eenbergen, Owner of ELC Lighting and Green-GO Digital, and Silvio Cibien, Sales Manager.

LightSoundJournal: So tell us a little about the history of Green-GO? When did you start the business?

Green-GO: Green-GO is actually a brand from the well-known producer of DMX related tools, ELC Lighting. The company was born in 1998, and the now famous focusHAND remote control was our first offering to the market. This then developed into the production of other systems involved in the management and distribution of DMX, for example splitters and mergers. Before too long, there became a need for tools for managing new DMX over ethernet protocols, and this was the catalyst for the idea and philosophy of an ethernet based digital intercom system. in 2010, we created the first of these systems based on a very simple principle; If you have access to RJ-45 ports, then you have it all!

LightSoundJournal: So what were the very first Green-GO systems that you designed?

Green-GO: Our first system was a simple as it could be, and consisted of just one element, a beltpack! Well, 2 beltpacks naturally, with ethernet ports powered by PoE. This philosophy of simplicity can be seen right through to our current beltpack, including our wireless beltpacks.

Product Focus – Green-GO Wireless Beltpack

The Green-GO Wireless Beltpack is based on the DECT technology. With the Green-Go Wireless System, 1 antenna can serve 4 beltpacks, and each beltpack can be connected to 4 antennas. That’s all that’s required – there is no separate interface needed to connect your new wireless Green GO into the existing wired system.  Simply plug in the wireless antenna, clone the configuration to the beltpacks, and you’re on your way! All interconnection routing data, system setup and preferences are held in local memory and updated via the network and is updated/replaced if a beltpack or a desk is changed or added to the network.

  • DECT 1.9 GHz license-free wireless intercom
  • Full duplex, high audio quality, low latency
  • 2, 3 and 4 channel operation, selectable
  • Select from 32 channel options held in memory
  • RF coverage, 50m – 300m depending on environment
  • Increase RF range by adding remote antennas
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery, removable, quick release
  • Optional 6-way battery charger, mains powered, 1U
  • Register 4 beltpacks to single antenna
  • Register 4 antennas to single beltpack
  • Tough, lightweight ABS weather resistant case
  • Comprehensive feature set

LightSoundJournal: How did your vision for the Digital Intercom System that we see today come about?

For years and years, the concept of a simple daisy-chained based analogue system had been the norm. The problem with these systems was that they always required a central “module”, so even to create a small system of just two users would often be very expensive. It seemed that no one took notice of the evolution possible from these daisy-chain based analog intercoms, but we saw this and acted upon it. We felt there was certainly a niche to fulfil here, and we knew just how to move it forward.

LightSoundJournal: In terms of your products, tell me about any special considerations that make your systems unique/the best? (Hardware, Components, Software, R&D etc)

Green-GO: We really do consider our system to be completely unique. This is because, if you look at the competition, affordable alternatives on the market often offer a one channel analog system, with no private talks and everybody online is online, combined with bad and/or unstable sound quality. On another hand, you have the top of the market options, which do provide the flexibility and quality of call, but in an expensive digital system which often still relies on a big matrix system like the old phone exchange systems. We see ourselves as an affordable yet quality product, that positions itself in the market at a spot that no one else is paying adequate attention to.

LightSoundJournal: Your products are made entirely in the EU. How do you still remain competitive with other companies that use cheaper labour, for example in China and the East?

Green-GO: Something that gives our production a real level of strength is the flexibility to produce small quantities of products when necessary. With a catalog of around 100 different items, we are able to change our production plans to meet the needs of our customers as projects or requirements dictate. This is a strength and ability that would never be available by using subcontractors. Not only is everything done in the EU, but all assembly, including population of our PCBs, is done in house in our Headquarters in Gemert, The Netherlands. With the right team of experts, with access to the necessary resources and the appropriate tools and machinery, it is certainly possible to compete against Eastern production methods. Not only does this mean that our users receive quality, EU-built products, but that we are also able to keep our knowledge and expertise in-house, enabling us to provide the best level of customer service and support, both pre and post sale.

LightSoundJournal: What are the most exciting events/productions/facilities that your products are being used at?

Green-GO: One of the achievements that are most proud of is to have our products used in each and every league one football stadiums in the USA. This is no small feat, and is testimony not only to our product’s quality and the support we are able to provide for large scale applications, but also shows how scalable our system is. I’d also like to think that the productions of a great number of musicians and bands are working effectively backstage thanks to communications provided by Green-GO systems, but if I had to choose one particular group or production, it would probably be the work we have completed with Channel-16 and their latest tour with MUSE.

LightSoundJournal: Do you find that people need to be “re-educated” on what they already know about intercoms when moving to your systems?

Green-GO: Absolutely. The whole principle of how comms systems are used has changed, and comms as many in the industry have come to know them couldn’t be further from the systems that are now possible, if not already in place. A channel is not a channel in the traditional sense of the word anymore, and things that were once referred to as party-lines are now referred to as groups. So first and foremost, there is a huge change of vocabulary as well as mindset. When we first brought our product to the market, and started to run demo sessions with technicians and users, we started our introductions by saying “Forget everything that you know about comms!”. This was not just to make our systems sound complicated and revolutionary, but instead to encourage an open mindset and approach to a potentially easier and more efficient method of working.

LightSoundJournal: What do you think for future has in store for Green-GO? How will you continue to keep your products fresh and unique?

Green-GO: If one thing could be said about the nature of our industry, it would be that it is constantly and permanently evolving. Not only does technology change and adapt so quickly, but also our methodology of working changes as we discover more efficient and appropriate ways of approaching challenges and unknown quantities. We pride ourselves on always staying current, by constantly liaising with those in the industry, and developing our products and services alongside their needs. Whether it be a challenge to overcome, or an easier and more efficient way of approaching a task, we are always looking to innovate. Watch, listen, learn and improve.

Info: www.greengodigital.com

Adam Frost

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