With more and more teams meeting remotely, the challenge for employers is to ensure they can do so in such a way that is at least as productive as what they might have expected when meeting face to face.
Presentation and collaboration technology can go a long way towards creating a seamless experience, but environmental factors must also be considered, especially in busy offices.
Which significant advancements have been made in display technology, studies have also shown that problems with audio can have an immediate detrimental effect on collaboration sessions. Hence all care needs to be taken to ensure the best sound environment with minimal audio distractions.
But it not always possible to create a quiet working environment or provide sufficient dedicated rooms, especially given the increase in remote meetings that has occurred through 2020.
One mechanism that can assist in achieving better audio environment for remote meetings is the use of microphone array technology.
How microphone array technology works
Microphone array technology (also referred to as beamforming technology) allows the audio sound pickup scope of an environment to be defined, meaning that the microphones essentially focus on a specific area, or speaker, and ignore sound coming from other locations.
This makes it possible to eliminate the impact of ambient noise, and hence ensure that remote listeners can focus on what is said by the speaker, rather than being distracted by the other noise that is coming from around them.
The key to making this technology work is the use of artificial intelligence, which can determine what the focus of the microphones should be, and then automatically adjusts each microphone’s pickup.
This ‘shapes’ the direction in which the microphones are listening (hence the term beamforming) and is incredibly effective in enabling extraneous noise to be ignored.
This makes it possible for remote participants to hear individual speakers clearly even when they are in the midst of noisy environments.
Huawei’s microphone array technology
Huawei incorporates microphone array technology into the Huawei IdeaHub line of smart office productivity tools. These whiteboard-style collaboration systems combine high-definition video and other smart technology with an array of 12 microphones that use beamforming technology to pick up human voices over an eight-metre radius.
Combined with technologies such as echo cancellation, noise suppression, automatic gain control (for automatically normalising output for a consistent sound experience) and use external microphones, the IdeaHub can provide the best possible audio environment.
And the use of fast and accurate camera tracking ensures that remote participants can easily see as well as hear which participant is speaking.
This makes the IdeaHub ideal for use in shared spaces and other noisy environments, meaning that units need do not need to be installed in specialised meeting rooms or other acoustically isolated facilities.
Huawei’s implementation of microphone array technology is unique and is created using industry-leading proprietary algorithms built on 27 years of audio-visual experience. This technology is are accurate within 0.5-degrees of the audio source.
With more and more meetings being conducted between teams that are geographically separated, it is vital that organisations employ technology that makes those interactions as seamless as possible.
By investing in technology that creates a clear audio environment such as the Huawei IdeaHub, they can help to create scenarios that are almost as good as being there.