Head into your meeting spaces that feature videoconferencing systems and take note of the components.
There is likely a large-format commercial display. It might even be a touchscreen display for collaboration among in-office and remote employees.
There is most likely a high-end camera to capture the participants in the room. It might even feature auto-zoom on people speaking, or cropping to only cover the portions of the room where people are sitting.
There is some kind of audio system as well. Ceiling microphones? Gooseneck mics? A soundbar? Is there a sound masking solution? Are there acoustic panels fitted to the walls to mitigate echoes and the like? Or is it simply a conference phone in the center of the table – maybe even the same one that was there before the five-figure videoconferencing system was put in?
The truth is, many technology managers overlook the importance of audio when it comes to videoconferencing environments. While it’s true that videoconferencing offers an added layer of communication – facial expressions and body language primarily – poor audio completely negates that benefit. You can have a crisp, 4K image of the participant on the other line, but unless you’re a lip reader poor audio disrupts communication no matter the video quality.
A recent whitepaper discusses how audio-over-IP delivers quality, centrally managed conferencing benefits. Obviously that quality is something that should be coveted by technology managers when it comes to conferencing environments. However, centrally managed audio is also something IT pros should be excited about:
- Scalability – provide more microphones and devices for larger groups conferencing, where endpoints can be added as needed with little complexity.
- Flexibility – Microphones and speakers can be placed where they are needed, rather than being restricted by the length of cabling.
- Superior Solutions – better microphones that audio professionals tout can be added to audio-over-IP environments
- BYOD – Users can bring in their own laptops and equipment and easily connect.
- IT Resource – the IT department can bring devices into toolsets for managing connected devices, and monitor them as they would any other.
Check out the whitepaper to learn more about the benefits of Audio-over-IP conferencing environments, and make sure your participants can be heard, not just seen.