How Bad Audio Can Kill Great CollaborationIt’s fair to say that much of a company’s success is tied to how well its employees communicate with colleagues and clients, creating an environment ripe with productivity and profitability. Because today’s professional climate has shifted to accommodate more telecommuters and global business partners, face-to-face conversations simply aren’t possible all of the time. Conference calls, then, play a significant role in keeping big business communicating.

When audio quality is lacking during a teleconference, people notice. In fact, a 2014 market study found that 66 percent of corporations were shopping around for new collaboration services, and 40 percent of those surveyed were doing so because they wanted a “better user experience.” This telling statistic proves that businesses are realizing the necessity for great audio as part of their successful UC systems, and they’re taking steps to make it happen.

Poor Audio Means Poor Productivity

Because audio is a key element in UC, poor quality can have a trickle-down effect into other areas as well—employee productivity, for example. When audio is poor, productivity is negatively impacted for the following reasons:

  • Meeting flow can be disrupted by attendees talking over one another trying to be heard, whether they aren’t attuned to an audio delay or they’re simply trying to interject. When the flow of a meeting is disrupted by poor audio, company time is wasted.
  • Conference call attendees often can’t discern one another’s accents or tones over a poor audio connection, so they waste time having to ask for clarification or points to be repeated.
  • At the beginning of a traditional 20-30 minute teleconference, most attendees expect some level of misunderstanding and occasional repetition to occur. As the meeting progresses, however, even the most professional person on the conference call can suffer from “audio fatigue.” All that extra energy spent trying to decipher muddled audio can wear an attendee down, causing them to eventually tune out altogether. Meeting productivity at this point, then, is severed.

Common Audio Shortcomings and How to Avoid Them

It’s established that poor audio can lead to poor productivity, so companies should be aware of common audio shortcomings and how to avoid (or fix) them:

  • Often, companies have huddle rooms for spur of the moment meetings or small group sessions. Because these spaces are intentionally equipped with the minimum in teleconferencing/videoconferencing equipment, they’re not ideal spaces for important or long calls. While huddle rooms do serve a valid purpose in modern office buildings, companies should ensure they’re used for the proper purpose.
  • Some companies are not using the proper codecs for conferencing. When narrowband codecs are employed, audio range is limited compared to how one naturally speaks. Wideband codecs should be deployed over IP instead (like G.722) to support a wider range of audio.
  • Some end points (like various mobile devices) don’t have HD capabilities. If businesses can’t control every output device involved in company communications—an almost impossible task—a necessary balancing step is to employ purpose-built, HD-compatible endpoint solutions whenever possible. Rooms strictly for teleconferencing should feature well-located speakerphones and/or extendable HD microphones to keep conversations flowing smoothly.

Bad audio can sink your UC ship, while great audio can increase production, efficiency and profitability. It’s a win-win for companies, then, to pursue better audio conferencing solutions.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.
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