AV Technology: Even post-COVID, businesses are going to be looking to create touchless environments. How can audio solutions play a role in this?
KT: For voice-operated workflows, you will need a good audio input, and for the playback, you will need quality audio output. Adaptive beamforming microphones such as TeamConnect Ceiling 2 support this—you can move around a room and are captured with absolute clarity, without the need to ever touch a microphone. Software-aided workflows will extend possibilities even further, without users having to interact with hardware.
AVT: What cautions and/or tips do you have for AV/IT directors in creating touchless environments?
KT: The best practice is and always has been to bring the microphone close to the spokesperson. To ensure proper distancing, we encourage the use of microphones with higher directivity to get a better speech-to-noise ratio. In this respect, adaptive beamforming microphones offer the best intelligibility and also maximum flexibility for speakers to move around.
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AVT: What solutions does Sennheiser offer that will help enable the touchless environment?
KT: TeamConnect Ceiling 2—or TCC 2—is the most advanced beamforming microphone for the ceiling. It captures speech with great audio quality and high intelligibility within a 4-meter radius. As TCC2 works adaptively, you can freely move around the room. The microphone tracks and follows you while you speak—making sure that you are always in its sweet spot. Also, conversations of several meeting participants in the room are picked up without any loss—ensuring seamless collaboration with remote participants. TCC 2 is Microsoft Teams certified and Zoom compatible, and works with any key UC client. The beam can also be used to trigger a camera—allowing for audiovisual collaboration. Thus, meeting participants cannot only listen to each other, but even see who is talking and from where in the room.
Beyond that, Sennheiser offers touchless audio with MobileConnect—an assistive listening solution over Wi-Fi. Focusing on the education sector, MobileConnect of-fers a fully customizable hearing experience for students, who listen via their own smartphones. The system has many advantages for students, but also for operators and universities. To name just a couple: Operators can simply use the existing Wi-Fi for audio transmission and do not have to invest in separate technology such as induction loops; and students don’t have to sit in dedicated areas or use hardware which identifies them as being hard-of-hearing, for example.
We’re also making it easier for users of more traditional digital wireless microphone systems in corporate and educational environments. SpeechLine Digital Wireless is really the most convenient “bring-your-own-microphone” solution on the market. Although it’s not 100-percent touchless, its easy-sync functionality limits the amount of contact required.