Audio should always be a top priority when you’re designing a meeting room.
Well thought out acoustics can do a great deal to help a company by streamlining collaboration and enhancing business reputation. Not only will it give essential communications between employee or clients the best possible chance of success but also go a long way to improving perceptions of a company and lifting staff morale.
But in certain cases, audio is neglected by project designers in the development of meeting room spaces until it’s too late: the room is built and there are serious acoustic issues.
So what can those responsible for meeting room audio (perhaps a member of the AV team or, increasingly, the IT team) do to mitigate the challenge of poor room design?
Every meeting room scenario is different and it’s always best practice to make audio a priority at the start of a meeting room build. But not everything goes according to plan. Here are some hints and tips on how to get the most out of a poorly designed room.
Think carefully about your technological solutions - no one size fits all
Every room offers different acoustic challenges. Perhaps there are too many hard, reflective surfaces so audio reverberates noisily around a room. Or distracting ambient or outside noise bleeding into your meeting room from other parts of the office.
These state-of-the-art audio solutions feature numerous digital signal processing (DSP) technologies that can enhance the clarity of a meeting or video conference. IntelliMix offers various innovations to help your audio including noise reduction to beat challenging room acoustics by minimizing unwanted background sounds including HVAC noise and echo cancellation to prevent the far-end talker’s audio from leaking into a microphone.It’s important to remember that technology can be used to overcome certain issues but, despite the power of the solution, it can only do so much.
Utilise treatment and materials to enhance room acoustics
Treatment can be added to walls to enhance poor acoustics by softening the impact of certain surfaces on sound. You can add treatment to any walls that aren’t glass. If the room isn’t carpeted then putting one in will help improve audio. Treating the ceiling with absorptive materials will also improve how sound travels in a space.
On the walls you can utilise materials such as stretched fabrics, fibre glass panels or a decorative belt. These are good mediums for architects and designers to work with to create a visually pleasing working environment and we recommend trying to cover at least 50 percent of the room surfaces if possible.
Enforce strict meeting room etiquette
Meeting participants can help improve conference audio by following some simple guidelines around etiquette and process.
Instead of providing paper handouts, host your agenda on a screen or board within a room. If you do need this information to be disseminated as hard copies, then request that attendees do not handle them near microphones. Also request that participants don’t type loudly on laptops - request they use tablets instead to record details less noisily. Although minor measures, they can have a potentially large impact on your meeting experience.
There have been significant advances in AV technology in recent years, yet even with the algorithms and devices available, technology can only overcome poor spatial acoustics to a certain extent.
So while these fixes can help, project designers need to invest time early on in a project to get the most out of a space. Doing so will ensure you get the most out of your technology and the best meeting experience possible.