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Why It's Time For a SMART Approach to Your Audio Tech

Meetings and learning – whether in-room, remotely-accessed (from home), or a hybrid of the two, succeed or fail on the quality of audio. In other words, poor audio stops meetings.
December, 20 2020 |
man and woman at conference table

While this post refers to businesses based in China, Shure has observed the same trends worldwide.

The significant shift in focus towards corporate business by China’s leading technology firms has been widely reported in the past year. Tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei, and ByteDance, just to name a few, have recognized that the massive move to remote working and studying affecting millions of its user base demands new collaboration platforms for business. So, it is no surprise that these technology leaders have accelerated a push into the workplace collaboration market. Not dissimilar to international players like Microsoft and Zoom, who have also seen significant growth in the past year.

Enterprise communication and productivity clearly has been maintained – and even boosted – during the global pandemic of 2020 by high tech, cloud-based video conferencing tools. But are professional users realizing the full potential? We think they can do better. That’s because despite investments in new smart tech, many organizations still rely on dated audio visual (AV) solutions which don’t deliver the IT-integrated, high performance audio results needed in this new era of collaboration.

Meetings and learning – whether in-room, remotely-accessed, or a hybrid of the two, succeed or fail on the quality of audio. In other words, poor audio stops meetings.

A Shure research report into the current and future state of meetings published in early 2020 (pre-COVID) revealed that

  • 96% of professionals are frustrated with their virtual meetings.
  • 4 out of the top 5 frustrations relate to audio.
  • Flawless audio is 4 times more important to meeting attendees than video.

This is even more critical as businesses and schools resume their operations in the new post-COVID environment and people have to collaborate with colleagues, partners and other stakeholders who remain remote, either full-time or part-time. 

Maximizing Investments With SMART AV

So, what’s the solution? Companies need to integrate their new cloud-based platforms with effective, networked audio technology that meets modern IT standards. Put simply, it’s time for audio technology to get smart. 

Shure’s Michael Jiang, Senior Director, Greater China and Korea explains why. He says “The rapid adoption of new cloud-based conferencing solutions is accelerating the replacement of comprehensive hardware codecs that are traditionally used to connect users between fixed office locations. Further expedited by the advent of 5G networks, people can now connect from anywhere at high speed and keep productive while working remotely. 

“However, a challenge of these software tools is that they are technically relying on hardware devices to capture the clear sound that’s needed for an effective call, especially in larger meeting spaces, streaming and distance learning applications. That’s where dedicated audio technology comes into play to complement those platforms with highly intelligible voice capture at the source.”  -- Michael Jiang

Getting SMART

Shure is doing just that. With close to 100 years of audio expertise and investment in modern software, security and networking capabilities, we are helping companies achieve extraordinary collaboration experiences through smart audio technology.

Michael says: “Shure isn’t new to innovation. We constantly evolve our products and services to ensure we remain relevant for our customers and at the forefront of new technology trends. For example, we early on pushed the digital revolution with our digital wireless systems like ULX-D®, QLX-D®, and now our latest SLX-D system. Then there’s our Microflex® Advance™ (MXA) series of array microphones which sets a new benchmark for touchless conferencing audio. This year, we’ve revolutionized collaboration audio with our first software-based digital signal processor IntelliMix® Room. And with new networked Microflex™ MXN5-C loudspeaker, we now have solutions for an end-to-end, secure, digital audio signal chain, with highest intelligibility from voice capture through to reproduction, all from Shure.

Shure IntelliMix Room software

“All designed, configured, managed and automated through software tools, the combined performance of our networked ecosystem builds a crucial foundation for the future of modern enterprise collaboration.” 

Transforming with SoundSMART

This brings us back to our ongoing SoundSMART initiative – which is Shure’s definition of smart audio and includes Software, Management, Automation, Reliability, Technology. Designed to help IT decision makers master the scale and complexity of modern networked AV systems, SoundSMART is driven by technology and engineering prowess. Shure’s customers benefit from robust, IT network-based and software-enabled audio solutions that are flexible and interoperable, addressing the specific needs of your infrastructure and existing or new technology choices.

Shure audio ecosystem products

Michael is excited at the transformational potential of SoundSMART for both end users and the system integrator community. He says: “It will transform the AV/IT experience in rooms of all type and size, from courtrooms and clinics, to meeting rooms, classrooms, conference venues, and auditoria. 

“China has forged a path towards smart IT solutions in all areas of industry and life, embracing everything from software and cloud to artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and mobility. Now audio solutions are heading in the same direction.” 

Visit SoundSMART  to learn more.  (Note: This content is in Chinese.)

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