Why more than minimal audio equipment is needed in meeting rooms

05 months - july 2021, Ridderkerk

A meeting without video is still a meeting. A meeting without audio is cancelled. In fact, 81% of IT decision makers say that audio has the most impact on improving the quality of virtual meetings. Good audio can be easily forgotten, but bad audio cannot be missed. It leads to fatigue and more distractions, and reduces intelligibility.
As business communications have evolved in recent years, the demands on technology have also changed. As a technique to effectively support a successful video conference, historically a combination of audio components from a variety of manufacturers was required: microphones from brand A, audio processing equipment from brand B, amplifiers from brand C and speakers from brand D. It can be complicated and expensive to install these in such a way that they work well together. And then when a problem arises (during commissioning or at a later stage), each vendor claims than their component works perfectly and therefore the problem must be the fault of someone else. As a result, AV and IT managers get caught up in an endless troubleshooting mill, trying to get enough scraps of information from each manufacturer to gradually determine where the problem actually is.

Superficially, a device like an all-in-one soundbar seems like the ideal solution. Since the microphone, some basic engineering to eliminate reverb and suppress noise, the speaker, and maybe even a camera are built-in, the components are guaranteed to work well together. It's clear what's appealing about having one box to monitor and manage the audio, and this type of unit can work well in smaller spaces. But using identical audio components in every meeting room does mean that they are still not ideal for many meeting rooms where they are installed. Users of these combined solutions often report significant shortcomings, and 96% of business users even say they are frustrated with their virtual meetings.

The problem is that only the smallest huddlerooms have features that can be accessed with a standard solution. Variations in the size and shape of the table, elements in the room such as glass walls, environmental noise and even the preferences of the users all represent complicating factors. Those require a unique configuration of microphones, audio processing and speakers that ensures good sound from every seat in that particular room. What's right for that room is probably not even the right solution for a room down the same hallway.

The Shure conference audio system offers a scalable range of options that work together in large rooms, small rooms, rooms with poor acoustics, and rooms that have a different seating arrangement every day. Because everything comes from Shure, it's as reliable and convenient as an all-in-one device, but does things one device never could.

View our Shure portfolio here.