Preston city centre’s high street has become the first destination in the country to install an audible messaging system in the high street to welcome people back to their city centre and say ‘thank you’ for their continued support.

In partnership with local audio technology company, Audiebant, the Business Improvement District (BID) has commissioned two audio-messaging systems, one on Friargate and one on Fishergate.

The system will play scheduled messages sharing information on key events, activities, and campaigns within the city centre to passers-by.

Whilst discreet, and non-intrusive, the announcements are currently interspersed with some festive music whilst people visit for their Christmas shopping!

The system also provides for key safety messages to be shared, especially relevant in light of the recent changes to legislation surrounding the wearing of face masks. A new message has been recorded and installed thanking people for playing their part and wearing a face covering inside retail premises, where they are not exempt from doing so.

The audible messages also include some ideas of where to visit, what to do in the city centre, and also details of free events and activities for the family.

Whilst it is hoped that it is never needed, the system has the option for officials to dial in to the speakers to issue urgent, real-time, safety and emergency messages to people on the high street. The system also has the potential to ask for public support in certain scenarios.

A spokesperson for Preston BID said: “We’re happy to be teaming up with Audiebant to be the first high street to install these discreet speakers to share important and useful information with visitors.

“Preston’s high street relies on the unwavering support of local people choosing to spend time, and make purchases here, and we wanted to say ‘thank you’ to those people in more personal way way.

“We also don’t want visitors to miss out on any exciting events or opportunities for the family, and the Audiebant system is a great way of reminding people of what’s on in Preston”.

The messaging system currently has two units installed, one outside of Marks & Spencers on Fishergate, and a second outside McDonalds on Friargate. There is a third unit in commission which is mobile and can be used anywhere across the city centre.

The messages, which will be changed on a frequent basis play every few minutes from 8.30am to welcome shoppers and people off to work at city centre businesses. They cease playing at 8.30pm, earlier on a Sunday.

Gary Dean, Managing Director of Audiebant, creators and installers of the technology, said: “We were approached to develop a system that would make it an improved customer experience for people visiting Preston City Centre.

“We have worked closely with Preston BID to provide them with an informative community engagement and promotional system which can also be used in emergency situations.

“We’ve had really positive feedback so far and we look forward to our continued work with both this and other BIDs across the country.”


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What is Preston BID?

Who Is benefitting?

  • Stimulates wellbeing and economic growth
  • Gives competitive regional advantage
  • Develops partnership between private & public sector
  • Encourages corporate social responsibility
  • Provides sustainable investment for on-going capital projects/services
  • Creates a positive sense of place and enhanced community pride
  • Destination events in the city centre
  • Profiling of their home/city
  • Opportunity for businesses to have “a voice”
  • Increased footfall
  • Fairer to smaller businesses
  • Fair system, those that invest, benefit