Today we’re going to meet with Arnaud Saurois and Anthony Petron from ana.B solutions. We’re interviewing them on their latest project: a waterproof communication system called odi.O.
It’s more than just a waterproof headset. This waterproof communication system includes a headset and a walkie-talkie which allows professionals to communicate with their client; and the client themself can take a water sports class safely while improving faster.
Hello to you both, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
And I’m Anthony Petron, I’m an intern for ana.B solutions.
Can you introduce us to the company ana.B solutions?
ana.B solutions is originally a company that was founded to assist professionals on safety and pedagogy matters. We created a surveillance platform for lifeguards with video assistance. A platform that meets the needs of public pool professionals.
The idea is to offer the possibility to monitor what happens in the water to licensed lifeguards. It’s not like a tennis referee chair beside a pool, as can be found in almost every pool.
Lifeguards have encountered difficulty monitoring both the surface and the bottom of the pool for a long time. And unfortunately, the bottom of the pool is where serious accidents happen. Therefore, it’s crucial to spot what is going on quickly, including at the bottom of the pool, in order to intervene and limit the risk that an accident becomes a tragedy.
In the end, we realized quickly that while the video part was useful, so was the audio. Hence why we developed our second product: the waterproof connection system odi.O. This product will facilitate both learning and enforcing safety.
Using tech ensures safety and education in aquatic (pools) and nautical environments (in general). We have noticed it ourselves as we use this system in our electric foiling activity.
Can you describe your new product, the odi.O waterproof headset, in a few words?
So, it’s a bone-conduction headset connected to a walkie-talkie, which allows people such as coaches and swim instructors to stay in touch with their clients, their students, in a nautical or aquatic environment.
In the first place, it allows, for instance, lifeguards to remain in touch with their students while they are in the water, learning how to swim. That prevents them from having to shout in an environment that is often loud. But it also enables people who practice water skiing, wakeboarding, electric foiling, kitesurfing, sailing, and surfing to talk from a distance with their clients, their students, who are discovering a new water sport.
Do you offer multiple types of headsets?
We only offer one product that meets the needs of the vast majority of people.
The odi.O waterproof headset has a long distance range, that can go up to 1000 m, and 2m below the water! This enables people submerged under water to hear what the coach is saying in the walkie-talkie.
This headset can be used in any environment and is easy to recharge. We paid special attention to its practicality for users.
Do you sell any accessories to go with the odi.O waterproof headset?
Yes, we sell various accessories to go with our product.
For nautical activities, we have leashes. This accessory ensures that the rider cannot lose their headset in the sea, lake, or river. Leashes are directly bound to the person, for example on the vest or helmet.
We also sell neoprene headbands, an accessory particularly used by long-haired girls and young children. This accessory helps maintain the headset directly on the ears to ensure good sound quality.
Additionally, we have a jack plug to connect the user’s phone or any other device. This enables the user to listen to music should they want to.
We also offer headband microphones for coaches, which allows them to keep their hands free.
And we sell pouches to protect the walkie-talkie from splatters. As well as pouches for the waterproof headphones to store and protect them at the end of the session.
For now, we offer all these accessories. However, we’re already trying to come up with new accessories that we could add, in order to maximize the headphone users’ experience.
We are notably developing a “push to talk” button. Which is a button that you “press, then speak”. We’re developing this and are going to sustain this momentum during the next few weeks.
In case of breakage or other technical problems, what happens for the client?
We offer an after-sales service for any problem that our clients may face. This on top of the fact that there is a guarantee on our products. This after-sales service is provided by our company ana.B solutions.
How long are the products guaranteed for?
They are guaranteed for 2 years.
How long does the delivery take for customers who purchase the odi.O waterproof headset?
There are two possible scenarios.
We have the products in stock. In which case the delivery will be quick, about 3 to 4 days.
Depending on the product’s success, we will have to produce more. In which case there may be a few weeks delay.
It is possible to purchase the headset by the unit. There is also the possibility of doing so for the walkie-talkie. This being said, there are different packs depending on the customer’s needs:
1 walkie-talkie and 1 headset
1 walkie-talkie and 2 headsets
1 walkie-talkie and 5 headsets
1 walkie-talkie and 10 headsets
Who can purchase your products? Is it only professionals?
It is primarily for professionals, but if you have your own boat and practice, for instance, water skiing with your friends, you may find yourself interested in our products to monitor your friends. I’m using the example of water skiing, but it can be used for any other activity like buoying…
So the products can be for personal use.
If you wish to keep in touch with a person practicing a water sport, the headset is serving its purpose.
What is the added value of your odi.O headset?
There are many audio systems out there, but ours allows you to keep in touch while in the water. And they are truly efficient and practical.
The other advantage, which is rendered possible by bone-conduction, is the possibility to go underwater. Our headsets are not simply waterproof, they are truly made for water.
We have tested our products, including in swimming pools. People who were one meter underwater could hear their coach’s voice distinctly. This is an undeniable advantage for both instructors and clients, and it cannot be found in regular audio systems.
It is also very easy to use for everyone. Note that there are different options available.
For example: if there are three groups of two students, and one instructor. The instructor, who has the walkie-talkie, can change the frequency and speak to one group, and then the other, etc. They could talk differently depending on the groups. And that can go up to 7 different canals.
Does the headset allow students to talk to the coach?
There is currently no reliable system that could allow a two-sided interaction. For now, it’s only the coach who can speak to the students.
If two instructors each have a walkie-talkie, can they talk to the same group of students?
It isn’t possible to have two walkie-talkies on the same frequency as they would compete with each other. They are FM radio waves, so classic waves. Using two walkie-talkies simultaneously on the same frequency would not work.
How many people can you talk to with one walkie-talkie?
A walkie-talkie will enable the user to communicate with as many people as they wish. There aren’t really any limits.
But then again, an instructor won’t typically give a lesson to 70 people at the same time. It wouldn’t really be useful because he wouldn’t be able to teach and give individual advice to each and every student.
What is the maximum range of the odi.O headset?
It can go up to 1000 m far and 2 m underwater.
Can the headset be used in every environment? Freshwater, salt water…
Yes! It is resistant to seawater, freshwater, chlorine…
In terms of battery life, how long can the headsets and walkie-talkies be used for?
It depends on the conditions. But for the headsets, the battery life is around 3 to 4 hours. And for walkie-talkies, it’s a bit longer.
How do you go about recharging them?
Our products are easily recharged, and the chargers are supplied with them.
For the headset, it’ll be with a magnetic charger. It consists of pliers on the headset, there’s no plug, which strengthens its resistance to water. Hence why water cannot penetrate the odi.O waterproof headset.
Next, all there is to do is plug it in a USB socket, like you do with your phone. It’s the same idea.
Same goes for the walkie-talkie. There’s a cable to plug in a USB socket.
Are the odi.O waterproof headsets adjustable? Are there different sizes?
No, it isn’t as it rests on the ears. So it fits everyone.
It’s kind of like glasses, but backwards. It lies on the back of the head and on the nape of the neck. It can be wedged in place with a bathing cap (in the pool), or with the neoprene headband. Women with longer hair sometimes need extra support to hold the headset in place. The neoprene headset will offer that support and prevent it from moving, hence facilitating communication.
What are the advantages of your odi.O system for a professional?
There are various educational and safety advantages, but it’s also economical. There’s no need to get close to the boat. Which allows you to save gas.
With the headsets, the instructor has a central position, which provides them with a more global vision of the group. They must obviously remain ready to intervene if necessary.
Having the headsets prevents professionals from having to shout. Due to the ambient sound and the distance, it can be difficult to communicate, and the circumstances can create a lack of understanding.
And the advantages of the system for the students?
Bone conduction allows the user to hear with vibrations. It allows you to keep your ears free. Which means that the user will hear both the coach and external noise at the same time.
When you run, you need to be able to hear surrounding noise like cars for your safety.
In the nautical world, it allows you to keep in contact with nature and the environment while hearing your instructor’s voice, which may be reassuring for some.
Two days ago, I had a client who needed to keep her earplugs on. So thanks to our headphones, she was able to hear us while keeping her earplugs.
Do the headphones facilitate learning?
In general, students are never very far away from us, but with the wind, and water noises, they can’t hear anything. Or the instructors are forced to shout so that they can hear.
With the odi.O solution, the instructors have a microphone. They can guide and give advice to the students: “move your back foot”, “speed up a bit”. That allows the instructors to give out advice calmly and make sure that they are heard.
In pools, we’ve come to the realization that lifeguards always have to shout to make themselves heard. Children, who are learning how to swim for the very first time and are discovering water, wind up with a lifeguard who has to shout at them to be heard.
Using our odi.O waterproof headphones allows lifeguards to whisper instructions and have a more reassuring voice.
The idea is the same for every water activity. There, we can be close to them through the voice and give them the help they need to succeed.
Did you test it?
We’ve been using it for a whole season. And for that matter, those who have had the same experience without the audio system told us how useful it was to improve faster.
People who are unwilling to comply, who are a bit scared, and who don’t have access to the headphones are a bit lost. So, especially at the beginning, it is truly useful, especially to give the practitioners confidence.
We use it during electric foiling sessions. It works very well and it allows us, in terms of education, to gain time for safety and the learning of the activity. In fact, in real time, we can correct the students, even when their or over a dozen, a hundred meters away. It works right away.
Can professionals or students use it for land activities as well?
Yes, it’s possible to use it for groups of mountain biking. If you have a group of 10 people who are mountain biking, you can place the headphones below the protective helmet. The instructor only needs to wear the microphone and they can communicate clearly with the students.
It’s not necessary to be in the water. But the fact that it is an option is what differentiates our headphones from other products.
If this article has made you want to purchase the product, do not hesitate to go on their website to order it! And to further discover NoWay le Spot and their electric foiling activity, this article is made for you!