Multi-channel production intercom on the devices you already own is the promise of Unity Intercom, an IP intercom system that allows you to use smartphones as intercom stations. According to distributors, Vortex, it is now possible to have a complete intercom system ‘for about the price of a couple of conventional belt packs’.
It connects over Wi-Fi or via a mobile network to a Mac running Unity Server, which provides Talk and Listen on multiple independent channels, as well as an independent programme audio feed. The free iOS or Android apps convert smartphones into wireless intercom stations from which the Talk and Listen channels can be selected. It works in both 4-wire (broadcast) and 2-wire (user to user) mode with a large Push-To-Talk button that can be momentary or latched. Unity can also display camera On-Air Tally and integrates with hard-wired communication systems like Clear-Com or RTS, letting you use Unity as a wireless station.
The Unity Server software handles the audio and user permissions for each connected Unity client. Any number of users can be created with as many enabled at once as licences purchased. Permissions are assigned to users so that when the mobile device logs on, different users can see and use different parts of the Unity system.
There is also a Unity Desktop Client for those sitting in front of a computer, running lights, computer graphics, etc., who also need intercom communication. The Unity Client can be set to float on top of other windows where a click gives access to all of the features of Unity – including Tally which can show when the workstation is On-Air.