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Meeting room technology for the 2020s

By Rob Smith, senior director, integrated systems sales for Shure in Western Europe

Audio is now finally being recognised as the most important factor of a video conference. Historically, there’s been a focus on good quality video performance, but this has changed to audio clarity as companies realise that without any audio VC meetings can’t take place. As an audio manufacturer, it means that Shure has focused on reliability and providing a system that works effectively, especially as AV has gone from being ‘useful’ to a daily business-critical solution.

Two technological improvements have improved meeting room technology; user interfaces have become much easier to operate, in the sense that it’s now not necessary to have an AV technician to help start a meeting. 

With so many rooms, having a technician present at each meeting just wouldn’t be practical these days. A good, intuitive user interface is a must for efficient and effective meetings. 

The other development which Shure has been at the very forefront of is building systems that work -and are designed for – a conference room environment, rather than audio systems and microphones designed for other uses. 

We’ve also seen a rise in creating a more natural meeting space, devoid of microphones and other equipment on tables, further reducing extraneous noise. 

The development of array microphone with onboard digital signal processing has made the achievement of superior, off-the-table microphone quality possible, creating an environment whereby a meeting can take place and the user isn’t conscious of the technology around them providing the solution. Simplified setup and an immediate, out-of-box performance is also crucial to these applications.

As we move more towards meeting room technology becoming a fundamental corporate necessity, Shure will continue to keep developing technology which is just as understandable for IT teams as audio professionals, more reliable, more intuitive and less obtrusive.