Today, I want to talk about a problem that I’m sure you’re all familiar with – excessive background noise during video and audio conference calls. And more to the point, what can be done to put a stop to it?
A Remote Revolution
Over the past year, the reality of work has changed beyond recognition. Even before the advent of COVID-19 on the world stage, with its unprecedented economic shutdowns, the concept of working remotely was already gaining serious traction.
Now, as enterprises look to the post-pandemic future, it’s clear that the hybrid model is here to stay with more and more workers likely to split their time between home and office. But although this development is certainly popular with the majority of workers, remote working is not without its challenges.
This was vividly brought home to me recently when I participated in a weekly international sales call with around 15 of my colleagues. Like everyone else, I’ve had to quickly adjust to conducting almost all my meetings on my trusty IP phone, not the easiest thing in the world for someone who likes to conduct business face-to-face as far as possible.
And this particular get-together was a perfect illustration of why I prefer the personal approach.
With most of the participants working remotely, the meeting was constantly interrupted – pretty much from the moment it started – by intrusive background noise ranging from vacuum cleaners, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, traffic and other assorted street sounds.
Not to mention, of course, the perennial favorite – hungry toddlers demanding their lunch right now. Cute, for sure, but also somewhat distracting when you’re trying to put the finishing touches to a quarterly sales forecast.
And for those team members joining the meeting from their rooms at HQ, the well-known sounds of office life – like humming air conditioning units and colleagues on their way to a quick coffee break – seemed to be much more noticeable than usual.
Quite clearly, busy workers – wherever they are located – wanting to eliminate these irritating interruptions will be sorely tempted to set up a dedicated working space well away from all the racket, but this is much easier said than done.
A Loud Round of Applause for Background Noise Blocking
That’s why we at AudioCodes created an improved background noise block especially for our market-leading business IP phones.* In a nutshell, any time a user speaks on the phone in handset mode, this premium feature weaves its sonic spell by decreasing the dynamics of the signal and suppressing any ambient noise when no speech is detected.
What this means in practice is that nobody gets disturbed anymore by the unavoidable sounds of everyday life seeping into their video and audio calls.
Nobody needs to sit there ready to hit the mute button just because the neighbor is mowing the lawn or putting up shelves, or because the office cleaning crew have chosen that precise moment to fire up their industrial vacuum cleaner in the corridor outside. And nobody forgets to unmute their mic and talk to themselves ad infinitum until they realize that nobody else can hear what they’re saying.
Best of all, meetings end up being way more productive because nobody needs to bring proceedings to a halt every few minutes to ask – yet again – for all the participants to please mute their devices.
All of which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is definitely worth making a noise about.