The Problem with Videoconferencing

by | Aug 31, 2020 | Workplace

The importance of videoconferencing in the modern corporate environment can not be underestimated. It offers a flexible, efficient and cost saving means of correspondence providing that the communication links are sufficient. 

Providing the right room acoustic environment is essential in ensuring the clarity and understandability of speech and audio communication content. However this is one element which is often overlooked in the design and construction of most videoconferencing suites.

The continuing rise of video communication

Providing the right room acoustic environment is essential in ensuring the clarity and understandability of speech and audio communication content. However this is one element which is often overlooked in the design and construction of most videoconferencing suites.

Videoconferencing suites are often primarily built, furnished and fitted with aesthetics at the forefront of architects, builders and end users thoughts. However if the success of a videoconferencing suite is to be judged by the effectiveness of communication (which is should be) then acoustics and room acoustic is an extremely important barometer.

Here are some of the typical problems with videoconferencing: 

 

1. Reflective fixtures and fittings

 

Inappropriate fixtures and fittings creating a noisy acoustic environment. The fixtures and fitting installed in a room can have a dramatic effect on the acoustics within the videoconferencing suite. Sound reflective materials can result in a noisy acoustic environment. This noisy acoustic is picked up and amplified by the highly sensitive microphones and results in a racket over the other end of the videoconferencing line.

2. No sound absorption at all

Lack of sound absorption in the videoconferencing suites. Specialist acoustic panelling is one the most effective and aesthetic means of introducing sound absorption into a videoconferencing suite. Its installation into a videoconferencing suite helps reduce the reverberant noise or echo in a space thus creating a comfortable acoustic environment. To provide clarity in speech a low reverberation time is essential.

Author: Glen Plunkett

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3. Poor Sound Insulation

 

Inappropriate levels of sound insulation between the videoconferencing suite and adjacent office spaces. If there are poor levels of sound insulation between the videoconferencing suite and adjacent spaces then unwanted noise can be picked up by the audio and microphone equipment distorting the essential speech content. The location of videoconferencing suites within your office building should be considered. It should be located away from potentially noisy office spaces (e.g. open plan offices, canteens etc). Furthermore specialist advice should be sought with regards to the sound insulation of walls and ceiling elements. Particular attention should be paid to materials used, construction methods and junction detailing.

4. Noisy Services

Poor integration of services such as heating and air conditioning can result in high levels of background noise within the videoconferencing suite. This can make it very difficult to hear the audio content of the videoconferencing meeting. Such issues may require correspondence between your acoustic consultant and service providers so as to ensure the successful implementation of such essential services.

In conclusion: Solutions to videoconferencing audio issues

The acknowledgement of such issues and the integration of acoustics at the design and building (or refurbishment) stage of your videoconferencing suite will ensure the success of videoconferencing communication. Even if acoustic problems exist in your videoconferencing suite remedial work can be done to create a more desirable room acoustic. The importance of videoconferencing in today’s business world should merit the integration of acoustics so as to ensure the foundation of effective communication is in place.

 

 

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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