25 Jul 2023


by Michael Vrklevski

This year, the 42nd ASEAN Summit, the bi-annual Heads of State meeting of ASEAN Member States, was held in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, on the 10th-11th of May 2023. It was chaired by Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia.

The attendees of the meeting include leaders and representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

An event as high-level as the ASEAN Summit requires equipment of the highest quality and reliability. Congress Indonesia was chosen to supply an end-to-end solution that covered conference microphones and interpretation equipment.


Setup and Testing

During the two-week setup, Technical Producers from Congress Indonesia meticulously checked and tested the conference microphone and interpretation configurations, ensuring all microphones corresponded to the schematic to suit each leader’s position. Throughout that period, different government agencies dropped by to test the system, which even included an unscheduled visit from the Indonesian President himself!

President Joko Widodo officially opens the 42nd ASEAN Summit at Meruorah Hotel Labuan Bajo. (Photo credit: ASEAN2023 Host Photographer)

Conference Microphones


ASEAN leaders spoke using Bosch Dicentis Wired Conference Microphones. These use internationally recognised encryption and open standard security technology, ultimately assuring the best protection against unauthorised access. They also allow for uncompressed digital audio to be fed straight into the system, meaning latency-free interpretation channels are easily accessible through the unit itself.

Live simultaneous interpretation was available in nine languages

Interpretation Equipment

Interpreters worked in a nearby room from a remote interpreter hub. The hub had eight side-by-side ISO 4043:2016 compliant soundproof Audipack Interpreter Booths. Each Interpreter, seated in a booth, used a Bosch Dicentis Interpreter Desk and had a live feed of the meeting on the screens through the front window of the booths.

Interpreter Booths


Live simultaneous interpretation was available in nine languages. These include English, Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Each leader could use their provided headphones and select their desired language channel directly from the touch screen of the Dicentis microphone. For delegates that didn’t have access to microphones, handheld Bosch Integrus receivers were made available so that they could listen to the interpretation channels too.

With this equipment, each member in the room or leader participating in the meeting could listen and speak in their languages, maintaining seamless multi-lingual communication throughout the meeting.


Logistics: Every event has its logistical challenges and the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit was no exception. Labuan Bajo is a remote island not accessible by land from Congress Indonesia’s Bali office, meaning necessary equipment had to be prepared and allocated months before the summit’s date. The amount of spare equipment increased significantly because of the inability to access additional equipment at short notice. This practice came in handy when required equipment quantities changed, and lighting challenges emerged last minute.

Room turnaround: The room’s layout changed considerably from the first to the second day. The main meeting was split into two rooms for the second, and all the tables were completely rearranged. Knowing this would happen, Congress’ technicians planned a cable arrangement that was versatile enough for a wide range of different microphone positions.

The layout had to be changed in only a couple of hours overnight, meaning the technicians had to be quick on their feet. Extensive pre-planning of different potential radiator positions ensured a quick and smooth transition while maintaining an optimal signal.

Setting up the microphones


With a high-level event like the ASEAN Summit, security is a prominent feature. Military and presidential guard occupied almost all sections of the considerably small building. The venue was on lockdown during the President’s visit, including rehearsals. There was no moving in and out, so all the equipment, including spares, had to be on-site.

Signal jamming is always expected at an event like this too, and there was the potential that this could interrupt the meeting. Considerable communication between the Congress team, venue team and presidential guard ensured that jammers were moved to locations that would not impact the meeting’s equipment.

Signal coverage

The biggest challenges were around the main conference room itself. With all the blinds open, excessive sunlight threatened to compromise the infrared system. This issue was compounded when additional truss- mounted lighting was added to compensate for the backlight from the windows.

Congress Indonesia countered all the lighting interference by adding more radiators than they had initially planned to use, adjusting the position and angle of the radiators, optimising the signal, and effectively eliminating the interference.

The Results

From a technical perspective, the 42nd ASEAN Summit was highly successful, despite its considerable challenges. The meeting enjoyed seamless communication and no major issues were reported.

Paula Luciana, Event Producer for Congress Indonesia commented: “Without smooth communication, the summit wouldn’t have run well. The outcome was the result of close collaboration with all the vendors involved.” Ardan Yogi, Operations Manager for the company, added: “With our experience delivering the G20 Leaders’ Summit last year, we were very confident in our ability to deliver on ASEAN. It was an outstanding experience all round.”

Leaders of ASEAN member countries pose for a family photo at the 42nd ASEAN SUMMIT 2023 held in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. From left to right, President of the Philippines Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister/Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai, Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Minh Chinh, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Prime Minister of Lao PDR Sonexay Siphandone, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Seri Haji Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Timor Leste Taur Matan Ruak) (Photo credit: ASEAN2023 Host Photographer)


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