Category Archives: In The News

Fraser retakes helm at MULTIVOICE

By The Enterprise – Utah’s Business Journal – Provo-based MULTIVOICE has announced that founder and CEO Ron Fraser will serve as president of the company following the unexpected death of Todd Rapier. Rapier passed away in his sleep from unknown causes earlier this month. According to the company, Fraser, is being supported in his expanded duties by the firm’s experienced executive team and board of directors. “Todd will be sorely missed by all of us at MULTIVOICE along with all those who had the great opportunity of knowing and loving him,” Fraser said. “He came to work every day ready to take on the world with a contagious level of enthusiasm and excitement. Todd made amazing contributions to our company and to society, and he established a great foundation for success here at MULTIVOICE. We will do all we can to honor his memory by building off the foundation he laid and making MULTIVOICE a booming company that will disrupt the wireless communications industry.”

MV-AUDIBLE Wireless Coaching Intercom

By TexasHSFootball.com – PROVO, Utah and HOUSTON, Texas — July 16, 2015 — MULTIVOICE™ today announced the MV-AUDIBLE™ — the company’s newest Wireless Mesh-Network Intercom™ — a system that will be unveiled publicly next week at the Texas High School Coaches Association trade show in booth #5103.

The first Wireless Coaching Intercom™ designed specifically for today’s Up-Tempo game of football, the MV-AUDIBLE is a state-of-the-art coaching communications system with revolutionary technology that enhances the coaching experience. “MV-AUDIBLE takes communications on the gridiron to a whole new level,” said MULTIVOICE CEO and President, Ron Fraser. “The way we’ve designed the MV-AUDIBLE, it’s now possible to start out with a handful of systems and then add more as needed, without having to buy expensive Base Stations to upgrade. That means every single coach can have his own headset — which is absolutely critical to run, and defend, today’s go-go-go offenses. Why? “Because it’s not just about having the right game plan in place; you also need to ensure that every coach and every player is on the same page as quickly as possible. That means having the right technology, on the field and in the press box. And if you really want to perfect your Up-Tempo offense or defense, then you really need to practice while using your headsets — otherwise you’ll never be able to practice perfectly. And that’s what it takes to be perfect on the field come game time.”

A Communications Game Changer Each wireless MV-AUDIBLE Intercom comes paired with either a double- or a single-ear, heavy-duty headset, and each paired system arrives at each school pre-configured by MULTIVOICE specifically for the requirements of each team. MV-AUDIBLE allows up to 17 coaches to speak simultaneously, with an unlimited number of coaches on each system in Listen Mode. However, any coach can quickly switch into Speaking Mode by quickly lowering his boom microphone and entering an open Talk Slot. Teams can also designate certain MV-AUDIBLE units as Priority systems that will always be guaranteed a Talk Slot, such as those used by head coaches and/or offensive or defensive coordinators. Setting up an MV-AUDIBLE network is as simple as powering on the units, connecting headsets, and turning on the microphones. In other words, coaches can be up and operational with MV-AUDIBLE in literally seconds. And because there are no complicated or expensive Base Stations with MV-AUDIBLE, the MULTIVOICE comms system is ideal for use during practices, scrimmages, and games — whether at home or on the road. “We really have done our best to make the MV-AUDIBLE so simple that a coach could have a Fifth Grader run and manage the units,” Fraser said. “But not only that, MV-AUDIBLE has a range of up to 4000 ft. (greater distances possible with upgrades) and delivers up to 18 hours of actual Talk Time. In other words, coaches can spread out all over ‘Kingdom Come’ with our MV-AUDIBLEs during sultry summer two-a-days and not worry about batteries failing or not being able to hear each other. And because we’ve based the MV-AUDIBLE off the same platform we’ve designed for Police, Fire and Military use, this means MV-AUDIBLEs can take a beating and keep on running no problem, regardless of temperature or weather conditions.” Based upon preliminary testing, MULTIVOICE anticipates that many teams will assign their coaches to specific channels on their MV-AUDIBLE networks, such as Offense on Channel 1 and Defense on Channel 2. This approach allows teams to minimize discipline cross-talk and confusion among coaches, while maximizing communications efficiency. This approach also allows the head coach to simply switch from Offense to Defense as needed, while also providing two additional Channels for private conversations among coaches or between a player and a coach.

MV-AUDIBLE Specifications MV-AUDIBLE Intercom enclosures measure 5.3×3.3×1.3-inches and are made from a hardened Polycarbonate-ABS black plastic blend, with each unit weighing 15.98 ounces, that is powered by two internal 3000mAh Lithium-Polymer batteries, supported with a 3.5-inch-high flexible antenna. The MV-AUDIBLE operates in the 900MHz band (specifically, 902—928MHz) and utilizes a patented mixture of TDMA (Time Division Multiplex Access), FDMA (Frequency Division Multiplex Access), 30-millisecond Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum, and proprietary communication protocols to automatically maintain connectivity within each MV-AUDIBLE “wireless mesh-network” while preventing eavesdropping and jamming. The MV-AUDIBLE is priced at $1,500.00 per unit (which includes either one single- or one double-ear heavy-duty headset), with an introductory rebate of $250.00 per unit from MULTIVOICE. MV-AUDIBLE Intercoms are available through MULTIVOICE’s dealer network, including Sideline Power, which is a Silver Sponsor of THSCA 2015 and is exhibiting at the trade show in Booth #10085. Additionally, MULTIVOICE will give away five (5) pairs of MV-AUDIBLE Intercoms at THSCA 2015, one pair each to five lucky schools. This giveaway is limited to high school coaches and athletic directors, but participants do not have to be present at the THSCA 2015 tradeshow/convention to win. Click here to enter the MULTIVOICE THSCA 2015 Giveaway and to learn more about the giveaway.

About MULTIVOICE

Formed in 2011, MULTIVOICE is poised to transform the two-way wireless radio industry (and the football coaching market) with its Wireless Mesh-Network Intercoms — solutions that enable simultaneous and secure group communications among fearless individuals in rigorous environments. For more information please visit https://multivoice.com.

Provo engineer develops life-saving walkie talkie technology

By Kacee Baldwin of The Universe. A scene in 1993’s “Rudy” shows the main character and a friend working in a steel mill. To communicate, one walks the length of the factory, taps his friend on the shoulder of the other and yells. To one Provo businessman, this exchange is just not efficient. What if you didn’t have to yell? What if you could just talk?

Ron Fraser is the CEO of Multivoice, a walkie-talkie technology company born in a Mapleton basement. With a redesign of the common push-to-talk technology, Fraser and his team believe his innovation will not simply provide convenience but also save lives. David Politis, CMO and co-founder of MULTIVOICE, said walkie-talkie technology has been around since World War II but has not fundamentally changed or improved with time. “Radios sounded boring to me. … It’s like, nothing’s changed in radios in forever; what’s all sexy about radios?” Politis said. “(But) as I got into it, it’s like, wait a second, this actually could be a really good deal.”

It all began with Fraser’s humble beginnings. Born in the “podunk” town of Yerington, Nevada, he first came to BYU for a high school track meet. He later enrolled as a non-LDS student for his undergraduate degree. Fraser was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized. Two years later, after feeling impressed during a BYU devotional to serve a full-time mission, he left to serve in Japan. “I went to a talk, and they said every young man should go on a mission,” he said. “That really got to me, so I prayed about it. I heard it many times.” “They died and were injured … because they couldn’t communicate,” Fraser said. “They overloaded the communications, and so I went and figured out what the problem was and solved it for the Air Force.”Fraser graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from BYU the year after his mission. The beginnings of Fraser’s technology interest developed from his work on electronics warfare at Texas Instruments. A fuel leak caused the Titan II missile to explode during a launch, resulting  in a death and 20 injured people. Fraser continued to work in contract with the Air Force while at Texas Instruments in Layton and later joined as a consulting partner with Voyager Technologies. He was approached by Porta Phone in 1995 to develop a radio system for four people to communicate without a base station. Fraser thought it couldn’t be done, but he had the problem figured out two weeks later. “(Porta Phone) basically took over the football market with that radio system,” Fraser said. Fraser worked on a number of different projects, gaining experience and solving communication problems. But it wasn’t until three and a half years ago that Fraser decided to develop an innovation for personal use.

The basement-born walkie-talkie innovation removed the need to drag around hefty cables and push buttons. Fraser first created the invention mentally, then built it, testing until it was apparent that the radio technology could be applied in a real world market. To develop the product, “Ron basically put his whole livelihood on the line,” Politis said. Fraser put a base system into every intercom and connected them over a wireless mesh network, allowing for eight people to converse simultaneously and more than 100 others to listen. It’s not just another radio, Fraser said. The football world first adopted the technology, but not long after that Ron began marketing the technology for industrial environments, the military, construction, law enforcement and heavy equipment operation. “We think it will actually make you safer,” Politis said. “We think it will save lives.” Politis said part of the genius of Fraser’s innovation is allowing workers and professionals to talk without having to use their hands to push a button and to augment what existing radio technologies can do.

Todd Rapier, acting president and co-founder of MULTIVOICE recognizes the potential of the technology Fraser has developed. “The type of radio that you would think of as just a walkie-talkie, that’s a $15-billion-a-year market,” Rapier said. “If we only capture a fraction of that market share, it’s a big opportunity. When we get into consumer applications … the sky’s the limit.” Politis said the fact that a boy from “the middle of nowhere in Nevada ends up at BYU and …  invented something that might change the world” gives him hope for the future of MULTIVOICE. “We don’t have visions of grandeur where we replace all that, but we can make (the walkie-talkies) better,” Politis said. “We think we’re going to change the world in what the world has historically known as radios.” Rapier noted Fraser and the MULTIVOICE company are already doing what many others don’t. “If you look at all of the tech startups, they’re almost all software,” he said. “Very rarely do you see someone actually making something Iike hardware. I think that’s neat that we’re actually producing a tangible product you hold in your hand, and it actually works.” 

MULTIVOICE’s 10-employee team is gaining even more momentum. Electronics company OTTO recently offered to fund Fraser’s project after meeting him at an industry trade show. Fraser accepted after initial hesitation, knowing he would need the funds to make the company grow quickly. Multivoice has raised $5 million in a strategic round of seeding funding. “(That’s) nothing to sneeze at,” Politis said. OTTO,  which manufactures accessories that attach to two-way radios, had been looking for a wireless intercom solution they could add to its products. With a customer list of firefighters, soldiers, police, security and SWAT, they knew people’s lives depend on reliable communication, and they’re prepared to see “explosive growth” in the application of Fraser’s technology. “Imagine a firefighter inside a burning building carrying a child and being able to ask for help hands-free,” said Tom Schreiber, general manager of OTTO. A partner can respond from another room while a chief at headquarters can be monitoring the situation in real-time. “The scenarios for this type of ‘crew-communication’ are almost endless,” Schreiber said. OTTO and those working with Fraser have not only benefited from his innovation but also from his character. “OTTO’s experience working with Ron has been fantastic. It’s going on a year now, and it’s clear he’s an amazing guy,” Schreiber said. “He’s as smart and well-rounded of a technologist as I’ve come across in my 30 years of working in high tech … you name it, and he’s doing it.” Rapier noticed similar qualities in Fraser, both as a co-worker and outside the office. The two referee high school basketball together. “Ron’s one of … actually, I’ll just say it flat out. He’s the most brilliant guy I’ve ever worked with,” Rapier said. “Ron is just incredible, a very talented man. Just from a character perspective, he has incredible integrity; he’s honest and kind and very humble. He knows he’s the smartest guy in the room, but he doesn’t act like it.”

Provo-based MULTIVOICE receives $5 million in funding for radio that could save lives

By Rebecca Lane from UtahValley360 PROVO — Provo-based MULTIVOICE is changing the face of radio interaction with it’s new Wireless Mesh-Network Intercom, and now they will be able to take it further with its new investor OTTO Engineering, who announced their contribution of a $5 million round of strategic seed funding Wednesday morning. “As a leader in the design and manufacture of critical communications accessories, OTTO has been searching for a cutting-edge solution for local team-talk or ‘wireless intercom,’” said Tom Schreiber, general manager of OTTO, in a press release. “When we saw the advancements MULTIVOICE had made that bring new capabilities to the wireless industry, we knew we wanted to do everything we could to support their efforts. We’re very pleased to now be a part of Team MULTIVOICE and to help take MULTIVOICE’s technology throughout the world.” In exchange for its investment, Chicago-based OTTO receives a minority stake in MULTIVOICE at a post-money valuation of $25 million. OTTO, which specializes in designing and manufacturing radio accessories for military, public safety and industrial use, will help raise awareness of MULTIVOICE’s new wireless communications platform. MULTIVOICE has been in “stealth mode” since it was founded in 2011, but now with the new funding, MULTIVOICE is able to break deeper into the technology market. MULTIVOICE intends to use the funding for research and development efforts, expanded sales and marketing programs, and general operations.


In the beginning


Ron Fraser had spent 30 years designing and developing wireless communications for companies such as Texas Instruments, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Porta Phone and more. In 2011, Fraser wanted to take a risk by venturing out on his own to develop technology that would make a difference for the criminal justice system. So Fraser came up with an idea to change the push-to-talk (PPT) radio — an industry that hadn’t changed in nearly 60 years. Fraser began to research by learning what problems businesses face with PPT radios. After a crowd stormed the field at a BYU football game, Fraser hung around after the crowd dispersed to talk to the officer managing the chaos. When Fraser asked the officer how he communicated with fellow officers while they are busy controlling a crowd, the officer answered, “We don’t.” This disconcerting answer motivated Fraser to find a way to make radios hands-free. “There is no way for them to push a button — it is so loud — and talk through their microphone which is on their chest and be able to communicate,” Fraser said. Fraser worked to develop the technology, got feedback from demonstrations and eventually brought on MULTIVOICE’s other co-founders Todd Rapier and David Politis.


What makes it different


The 10.9-ounce radio can reach up to a 4000 ft. range (greater distances possible with upgrades) and seeks to fulfill the company’s slogan, “BE HEARD”. Fraser was able to invent a hands-free radio where people don’t have to hit the button in order to talk — but that isn’t all that he invented. Whereas most radios only allow one person to talk at a time, Fraser found a way to allow eight people to talk (or be part of the conversation) at one time and have up to 20 more people listening in. Not only that, but Fraser invented Whisper Technology, where people listening over the radio can clearly understand everything you whisper. “You could be sitting three feet away from me and could not here me whisper and yet everyone can hear me (on the radio),” Fraser said. The headset, by OTTO, protects the ears and eliminates the sounds, but allows for conversations to still be held. The co-founders tested this at a shooting range where they held a conversation while shooting machine guns, shotguns and handguns. “Normally when you are shooting a gun, you don’t want to be talking because the gunshot sound will blast over the system,” Fraser said. “But with this you can shoot a gun and talk at the same time, so it actually takes out the gunshot.” Another difference Fraser developed in the radio is through eliminating the base station. Instead the system uses Spread Spectrum Frequency Hopping where the network switches frequencies every 30 milliseconds, making it relatively impossible to jam. “Even if someone was trying to … eavesdrop, they would have to know the exact pattern of the frequency changes to be able to listen in,” Politis said. “And if bad guys are trying to zone in on your radio signal, they can’t do it.”


Where it will make a difference


All of these technology changes add up to what MULTIVOICE’s co-founders say will save lives. “Any time you’re involved in an endeavor that potentially changes the way people are able to behave and interact, it’s an exciting proposition,” Rapier said. “We’re talking about individuals who otherwise are doing their job, but are not able to interact with the group, that are now able to validate and be heard in the group.” Politis even believes it would have been a different game for the Navy SEAL in killing Osama bin Laden if MULTIVOICE’s technology would have been around. Before troops invaded bin Laden’s camp, the team had to train for six months in a replica of bin Laden’s compound. They trained because once they were in the mission they could only communicate through hand gestures. “We think that if they would have had our technology they could have shortened that at least by half,” Politis said. “It would have changed the way they could have gone in.”


Where it’s used


Currently, MULTIVOICE’s radios are being used in coaching for high school and college football games, the military, industrial/manufacturing settings and public safety. They even had their first police department purchase the radios. As Fraser figured out the solutions to radio issues, he realized that the radio could be used for many regular-Joe activities including skiing/snowboarding, paintballing, motorcycling, hunting and more. However, they haven’t quite developed the simple technology necessary, but that is in the works. And MULTIVOICE has plans to continue solving the “Can you hear me now?” questions in the future.