UC Advanced - issue #7

know what’s going on. Certainly, all the remote participants are maybe only hearing from half the people in the room.” Hybrid working This new challenge to emphasise the importance of audio has come about from a poor experience in meetings between disparate participants. As businesses seem to be on the precipice of giving up on remote work and enforcing mandatory office days, you’d think they might have a point. We’ve all been on calls that have been dominated by a dog barking or an overactive microphone, despite the participant having nothing to say. This poor experience is exactly the scenario that Smith’s team are hoping to rectify, leaning on nearly 100 years of expertise to improve the experience for everyone. “With the growth of hybrid working, the challenge we’ve got is that quality audio has to be in place for every room,” said Smith. “Otherwise a CEO joining remotely won’t be able to hear half the participants because the microphones are at the front of a room that is too big for the solution that’s been chosen. That’s a waste of quite an expensive amount of time. “What we’re trying to do, as a company, is provide premium quality audio to every meeting room and education space, because it’s no good only having three or four per cent of meeting rooms in the world being useful. “We’re trying to apply our expertise of nearly 100 years in other spheres to every meeting room, whatever the size, everywhere in the world.” Speaking from Experience These hypothetical scenarios turn into real- world experiences when Smith talks about his background. Smith joined Shure five and a half years ago after establishing himself in the AV industry in various guises for 27 years, from building visitor attractions and museum exhibits, up to meeting rooms, auditoria, corporate government and education-type solutions, working in roles from engineering, to sales, and then management. In these roles, the concept of working from home or being able to do work away from an office has become commonplace, with Smith explaining he has been frustrated in the past when communicating with the office. “Using the built-in camera and microphone

Large Meeting Room Setup

For the larger room, just using the speakers on the screen or a couple of speakers at the front generally means that the people at the front will end up going deaf but the people in the back still can’t hear... ...What you have to do is place speakers throughout the room and then you start to create an easy listening experience at both ends.

in a laptop might work,’ said Smith, “but to be sure businesses should want to have a good setup, and it’s actually quite easy to do if you spend a few hundred dollars. “The challenge is when you’re a remote participant joining a large meeting room, particularly if you’re the only one. “I’ve had the experience in a previous company where I was being introduced to the entire sales team, but I could only hear about half the room because the microphone was stuck at the front. “If the people at the back of the room were having a conversation, I was excluded. If someone at the back was asking a question, I had to ask someone to repeat it, so I wasn’t a full participant in the meeting.” This isn’t a new phenomenon for many of us, and as Smith points out, repeating contributions and battling unavoidable technical issues disrupt the flow of meetings and can inhibit creativity too. “A significant number of remote participants have challenges finding a natural discussion flow,” continued Smith. “That means that they’ll start to zone out. “I was lucky in the example I described because it was an introduction to me so I didn’t have too much trouble getting attention. But if it’s a big meeting and a participant can’t be heard, or discussions are happening that they’re not part of, they’ll tend to become just an observer in the meeting, which is a waste of talent and a waste of time.” Blending into the Furniture At this point, many of you will be reclining in the back of your chairs reminiscing – no, reliving your own worst experiences dialling into a meeting I’m sure. One of the common themes of the past couple of years has been the fine-tuning of the meeting room solutions that had to be




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