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Why you need more than a basic audio device for your meeting rooms

A meeting without video is still a meeting; a meeting without audio is cancelled. 

In fact, 81% of IT Decision Makers say audio has the biggest impact on improving the quality of virtual meetings. Good sound is easy to overlook, but poor sound cannot be missed. It causes fatigue, increases distraction, and reduces comprehension.

As business communication has evolved in recent years, demands on technology have also changed. The technology required to effectively support a successful video conference has historically required a combination of audio components from multiple manufacturers: microphones from Brand A, audio processing hardware from Brand B, amplifiers from Brand C, and loudspeakers from Brand D. It can be complicated and expensive to set these up to work well together. Then, when a problem arises (either during commissioning or down the road), each supplier claims that their component is working perfectly, so the problem must be someone else’s fault. As a result, AV and IT managers are caught in an endless troubleshooting circle in which they try to extract enough useful snippets of information from each manufacturer to gradually sort out where the trouble actually lies.

On the surface, an all-in-one soundbar-style appliance would seem to be the ideal solution. With the microphone, some rudimentary echo cancellation and noise reduction processing, loudspeaker, and perhaps even a camera built-in, the interoperability of the components is guaranteed. The appeal of having just one box to monitor and manage is understandable, and these types of units can work well in smaller rooms. But applying the same ‘one size fits all’ audio components to every meeting room means they still aren’t ideal for many meeting rooms where they’re installed. Users of these combined solutions often report significant shortcomings; in fact 96% of business users say that they are frustrated with their virtual meetings.

The problem is that any but the smallest huddle rooms have characteristics that defy a standardized approach. Variations in table size and shape, room elements like glass walls, ambient noise, and even user preferences all introduce complicating factors. These dictate a unique configuration of microphones, audio processing, and loudspeakers that will deliver good sound from every seat in that specific room. What is right for that room is probably not the right solution for even a room down the hall.

The Shure audio ecosystem for conferencing provides a scalable set of options that work together in big rooms, small rooms, rooms with poor acoustics, and rooms that have a different seating layout every day. Because it’s all from Shure, it’s as reliable and easy to work with as an all-in-one appliance, but it does things that a mere appliance can’t possibly do.

The result is a better experience for every user in every room. 

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