Acoustics

 

Acoustic Comfort

Acoustic comfort is one of the most influential aspects of workers’ health and well-being. Yet, the benefits of good acoustics is an often critical and overlooked aspect of workplace design.

 

An acoustically comfortable office is a productive office

In offices, noise can come from different sources. From external noise pollution, traffic or nearby construction work, to that generated inside by computers, printers, photocopiers or air conditioning/ventilation systems. But the most distracting noise comes from other people’s conversations or phone calls, which can be more destructive than continuous noise ‘with no content’. We also have a tendency to speak louder in noisy environments in order to hear and be heard, compounding the negative effects produced.

As the workplace evolves, some organizations are trying to drive efficiency by pushing more workers into smaller open plan spaces, often compromising acoustic comfort for employees.

 

Acoustics in restaurants

Consumer surveys have found that excessive noise is the top complaint diners have ahead of service, crowds, or even food issues. Coffee shops and restaurants strive to create an atmosphere with a unique identity. Large glass facades, hard floors, reflective walls, ceilings and bare tables is the current trend today. The minimalistic open plan decor allows for sound to reflect off many hard surfaces resulting in a buildup of noise due to a sustained reverberant field.

When a restaurant becomes busier and more people try to communicate, the noise levels increase. To compensate, diners begin to raise their voices in order to be heard. This is referred to as the Lombard Effect. Whilst noise conveys a sense of energy and creates a vibrant atmosphere the effort and concentration required to communicate leaves one feeling exhausted and mentally fatigued. Poor acoustics has implications. Diners could leave without dessert or coffee and repeat business becoming more difficult to attain.

 

 

 

Acoustic treatment solutions help improve the comfort of those who use any space by helping reduce unwanted noise caused by reflections from hard surfaces. If the goal is to improve the sound quality within your space, acoustic treatment can help control the levels of unwanted ambient echo. If the echoes are allowed to carry in the room, background noise can build to uncomfortable levels as your guests strain to hold a conversation. Eliminating unwanted noise distraction results in a healthier environment and greater ease of communication.

 

Who benefits from Acoustic comfort?

Employees: A more comfortable work environment with fewer distractions; reduced stress, improved health and overall well-being

Business Owners / HR Managers: Improved working conditions for employees; productivity, revenue, and customer retention

Facility Managers: Helps increase satisfaction among guests, customers, and workers; reduces operating costs

Property Managers: Increases the value of your space, reduced level of complaints

Architects: Improve the acoustical environment of new or retrofitted spaces

 

 

Where can Acoustic Treatment be helpful?

Open Offices, Private Offices, Meeting Rooms, Lobbies, Atriums: A positive work environment plays a key role in worker productivity and the success of a business.  The goal with any office soundproofing strategy should be to maximize the sound values within the space, so that the employees perform at peak levels.

Restaurants: Progressive restaurants with a long term view for success in their business plan understand that their customers are there to not just eat, but to converse with family and friends. Restaurant soundproofing is a necessary step to control noise levels, so guests can be more comfortable.

Education: Libraries, Classrooms, Lecture Halls, Testing Centers

Church Acoustics: Straining to Hear? Producing premium sound quality is a must for understanding the spoken word and an overall feeling of comfort within your House of Worship.

Open Public Spaces, Studios, Museums, Theatres, Malls, etc.: Too Loud? Echoes can greatly diminish the function of public spaces. As sound waves spread throughout a space, the hard surfaces reflect the echoes back, producing blurred sound signals and elevated levels of background noise. This will compromise the intended use of the space.

Hospitality: Hotel Rooms, Reception Areas, Spas

Technology: Engineering and Research Labs, Co-share Spaces, Huddle Rooms

 

Sound Masking

 

Workplace Design is Changing

Sound masking helps create acoustic comfort and privacy for companies implementing a new office structure.

Speech Privacy, White Noise, Ambient Noise System – no matter what it’s called, the goal of Sound Masking is to reduce the intelligibility of human speech.

 

Sound masking is the process of adding background sound to protect speech privacy and reduce distractions and increase office comfort.

The main use for sound masking in open office environments is to ensure privacy. People often discuss sensitive issues in these environments. In, say, a law firm or a healthcare facility, client privacy is not just a priority, but a legal necessity.

Sound masking in open office environments not only ensures privacy, it can also help you work harder. By eliminating outside distractions, studies have shown that sound masking can increase productivity by around 20%. It can also reduce errors in basic tasks, such as data entry, by around 30 to 35%. The better your employees are able to concentrate, the more efficiently they’ll be able to work.

 

Boost Productivity   /   Protect Speech Privacy   /   Reduce Distractions   /   Better Office Acoustics

 

 

 

Who benefits from sound masking?

Employees A more comfortable work environment with fewer distractions

Business Owners Protect speech privacy and increase productivity by reducing noise distractions

Facility Managers Help increase worker satisfaction and reduce operating costs

Property Managers Increase the value of your space

HR Managers and Privacy and Compliance Managers Comply with the speech privacy requirements of HIPAA and GLBA regulations

Healthcare Managers Increase HCAHPS scores and HIPAA compliance

Architects Improve the acoustical environment of new or retrofitted spaces

General Consultants Create a collaborative work environment without sacrificing acoustics

Contractors Improve speech privacy and lessen the level of distraction without adding further absorptive and blocking materials

 

Where should sound masking be used?

Corporate Open Office, Private Office, Outside of Conference Rooms

Technology Engineering and Research Labs, Co-share Spaces, Huddle Rooms

Education Libraries, Classrooms, Testing Centers

Hospitality Hotel Rooms, Reception Areas, Spas

 

Sound Masking Deployment Options

Sound masking is emitted into the environment through loudspeakers installed in or above the ceiling. The best sound masking systems for you depends on variety of factors including:

Ceiling ArchitectureCeiling Height

Office LayoutMusic & Paging Needs

 

The Hybrid Workplace & the Work-From-Anywhere Workforce

Backman Vidcom’s end-to-end solutions elevate the experience of Teams, Zoom, or any other meeting service allowing organizations to adapt their infrastructure to changing work styles and technologies. We are here ready to assist you with the design, deployment, and optimization of your AV systems to help you communicate better in order to achieve your organization’s business objectives. Contact us today!

 

Resources available for download:

Poly’s The Modern Communication & Collaboration Handbook

Legrand’s Workspace Solutions for the Hybrid Workforce

PSNI’s The Guide to Refreshing Your AV Equipment

ClickShare’s Outlook for the Post-Covid Workplace

 

WORK IS NO LONGER A PLACE.
IT’S WHAT YOU DO.

Work doesn’t happen the way it used to. It’s no longer a single place to go or a time of day. It’s no longer about sitting in the same office or cubicle every day. It’s about having meaningful conversations with your colleagues, partners, and clients that inspire new ideas for innovation and growth.

It’s a wherever, whenever reality that continues to evolve. But some things haven’t changed. Work still means getting stuff done. It still depends on clear communication and collaboration. On technology that promotes connections, while tuning out distractions. On devices that set up your workforce for success. And on easy device management that means less work for you.

As employees get back to work around the world, things are anything but business as usual. Companies and organizations in every sector, including corporate, education, and government are faced with many new realities about how work gets done.

The new reality is that technology has allowed employees to have the flexibility and freedom to work from any location at any given time. That means companies need to respond with audio visual and other technology solutions that support those employees no matter where they are.

It’s about creating environments that foster productivity, collaboration, innovation and safety. Together with our manufacturing and supply partners, we have compiled a list of resources, guidebooks, and white papers to help organizations navigate the “next normal” – the hybrid workplace and the work-from-anywhere workforce.

 

Trending: 

Fast Company: What we will need in post-pandemic conference rooms

Forbes: How To Lead Hybrid Working Successfully With Technology

How PepsiCo is rethinking the office: More remote work. No assigned desks

Microsoft seeks to solve ‘hybrid work paradox’

Gartner: Make the Future of Work a Win-Win for People and Organizations

 

Edu-BLEND

The Hybrid Classroom Solution

 

Edu-BLEND

Designed to make things simple and easy for the instructor

With Edu-BLEND, students can effectively stay connected to their classroom should they need to self-isolate at home or if the physical classroom cannot accommodate social distancing for all students. Teachers simply continue to teach the way they normally do at the front of the classroom. A camera and microphone follow the teacher in the room creating a more natural user experience for students who are participating remotely. At the push of a button, a teacher can share content from a computer to all students.

Edu-BLEND‘s simplicity and ease of operation enable instructors to use the room without compromising their individual teaching styles.

Free from the rigidity of complex hardware systems, Edu-BLEND is flexible and can be deployed in a vast range of spaces. Even non-experts can set up the system in just a few minutes. And because the system is already
preconfigured, it is ready for immediate use. It’s plug and play simplicity at its finest.

A simple, safe and scalable way to combine distance learning with traditional classroom instruction

Simplicity & Ease-of-Use:

  • Teachers conduct lessons as they normally do at the front of the classroom.
  • Technology is simply “plug-and-play”. Connect one cable to device and simply start teaching.
  • The display allows instructors to see, hear and address remote students while teaching to a local classroom.
  • Integrates with any platform used by the teacher and students (Zoom, Google, Teams, Blackboard, etc.).

System Features:

  • High quality audio and video components for a much better user experience.
  • Fixed or portable setup that can easily be moved from one room to another
  • Easy and efficient set-up without any disruptions
  • Allows instructors to use existing teaching aids like Mimio while teaching to students online
  • Universally compatible equipment

 

Edu-BLEND

Combining remote learning with the traditional classroom

Adopting hybrid learning technology is becoming essential for educators to meet the needs of today’s learning environments amid the pandemic.

Converting the traditional classroom to accommodate distance learning can be a challenge both financially and logistically. That’s why Backman Vidcom’s Edu-BLEND classroom technology solution offers an affordable, scalable, easy-to-implement way of bringing a unified communications platform to almost any space, even ones without any existing AV infrastructure.

Our technology brings flexibility to the classroom. That means no disruption for students or faculty, because there’s almost no learning curve. From day one, our solution allows instructors to focus on teaching
rather than technology.

 

Redefining The Classroom

From primary schools to university campuses, the global pandemic shutdown tested our ability to shift educational approaches and adapt to unknown variables. As a result, the ability to change how we deliver learning—even dynamically shifting between models—is becoming part of the standard operating procedure, extending well beyond the end of COVID-19

 

In this guide, we’ll share insights and resources from certified, PSNI Global Alliance integrators, partners, and other industry leaders to help you find and assess technologies that will create a safe and effective learning environment and enable rapid and frequent changes to your delivery model.

  • Solutions available to implement in-person learning with an emphasis on safety
  • Steps for a hybrid learning environment including  capturing, transmitting and recording  content and ensure the audio and video is sent where it’s needed.
  • Remote and virtual learning solutions that  focus on improved access and quality
  • Ideas on how to get the most out of a technology investment including  integrating  with existing systems when possible

MimioPad

MimioPad – A Useful Tool for Teachers during a Pandemic

In this time of social-distancing and remote-learning, many teachers are searching for innovative ways to address the changing classroom environments. Even for schools that are meeting in person, many of the hands-on lesson plans that teachers might have previously utilized are incredibly challenging under distancing and cleanliness guidelines.

The MimioPad wireless tablet allows teachers and students to collaborate using an interactive whiteboard while walking around the room up to 30 feet away from the classroom computer. The cost-effective MimioPad tablet works with a slim pen stylus powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and included MimioStudio software.  The award-winning MimioPad tablet gives you more ways to encourage class participation.

 

Features:

  • Wireless operation with included receiver
  • Works right out of the box, with no set-up required. It’s plug-and-play simplicity.
  • Long-range operation—works up to 30 feet (10 meters) from the computer
  • Frees teachers to move about, so they can help individual students and manage the classroom more effectively.
  • Slim and lightweight.
  • Connect multiple MimioPad tablets to a single computer to enable multi-student collaboration
  • Easy-to-read LCD display shows number of connected pads along with pen, battery, and connection status
  • Easy battery charging via the included USB computer cable (battery life is an amazing 16 hours!)
  • Control your MimioStudio™ lesson on the front-of-the-room display – from anywhere in the classroom. What’s more, students can collaborate right from their desks.

 

MimioPad brochure

 

What’s in the Box?

Wireless pen tablet, lithium-ion battery, stylus with lanyard, USB cable, replacement pen cap, MimioStudio hardware license, and shortcut reference card. MimioHub™ wireless receiver available separately.

 

For pricing, to purchase, or to learn more, contact info@bvcl.ca or call 902.450.5005

 

 

Teacher Testimonials

 

“The MimioPad allows me to move about my math classroom freely so I can help students from their desks. With COVID restrictions as a Jr High teacher, I have to change classes and can take the MimioPad into any classroom. The MimioPad is so versatile and easy to use, I cannot recommend it enough!”
– Jodie (Grade 9 math teacher)

 

“When online learning happened, my MimioPad was like magic. I used it at home to create virtual lessons for my students. It would have been a lot of work to deliver my math lessons without my MimioPad.”
– Danielle (Grade 10 math teacher)

 

“The MimioPad has made it easier for students to show their classmates their work without walking up to the whiteboard. Mimiopad has been a fantastic and useful addition to my classroom!”
– Crystal (Grade 8 math teacher)

 

 

 

 

MimioTeach

MimioTeach (video)

Portable Interactive Whiteboard

Turns any whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard with your classroom computer and a projector – you get whole-class learning in under a minute!

The MimioTeach™ interactive whiteboard includes all the hardware and software you need to launch your interactive classroom, so you get more for your budget dollars.

The small, portable MimioTeach bar attaches magnetically to a typical dry erase board. When your teachers plug the MimioHub™ wireless receiver into their computer and connect the computer to a projector, you can enjoy a projected display area up to 5 feet by 8 feet. Your lessons come to life, quickly and easily.

The MimioTeach interactive whiteboard comes with award-winning MimioStudio™ classroom software – the power behind all our products -so adding on additional Boxlight tools is a breeze.

  • A complete interactive whiteboard system that uses the dry erase boards and projectors you already have.
  • Straightforward interface lets you get up and running in minutes.
  • Full-featured MimioStudio software helps you create engaging interactive lessons.
  • Lightweight and portable, so you can move it between classrooms and store it safely.

 

MimioTeach Specsheet

 

What’s in the Box?
MimioTeach bar with embedded wireless interface, rechargeable stylus, MimioHub wireless receiver, USB micro-B cable, magnetic mounting bracket, 5V 1.2A USB power supply, and MimioStudio software license.

 

To learn more, contact info@bvcl.ca or call 902.450.5005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backman Vidcom achieves Zoom Integrator Certification

Backman Vidcom has achieved Zoom’s specialized certification requirements in video collaboration and is now officially recognized as a Zoom Certified Integrator.

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) brings teams together to get more done in a frictionless and secure video environment. Their easy, reliable, and innovative video-first unified communications platform provides video meetings, voice, webinars, and chat across desktops, phones, mobile devices, and conference room systems.

Zoom certified integrators are required to undergo intensive technical training of Zoom’s infrastructure and solutions. The requisite training touches on all aspects of Zoom Rooms including deployment, integration and management. As an accredited Zoom certified integrator, Backman Vidcom provides professional solutions in collaborating all the equipment such as video camera, conference phone, sound system, display etc. with Zoom Rooms software.

“End-users looking to scale Zoom from their desktop to meeting rooms throughout their organization now have the ability to engage with Backman Vidcom as a trusted Zoom Integrator,” says Tom Murray, Vice President of Backman Vidcom. “We can give end-users the confidence that Zoom’s easy-to-use interface, one touch-to-join, consistent experience, among many other customizable features that adopters of Zoom technology have come to enjoy, will meet their expected outcomes.”

Video Conferencing Etiquette for Today’s New Normal in the Workplace

The havoc that COVID-19 is causing on our global economy has led to many empty office buildings and a new workplace dynamic. Many companies have mandated their staff to work from home. As employees adopt new ways of communicating with their colleagues, suppliers, and customers, the use of videoconferencing technology can be a very effective tool for businesses to facilitate continued productivity and move forward without further disruption.

As the world deals with the fallout from the virus, it is important for everyone using video conferencing technology to understand its importance as a business tool. For many new users, there could be a bit of a learning curve before they feel comfortable.

The following videoconferencing etiquette tips can help guide your organization’s transition to remote work:

 

1. Be on Time

In fact, you should aim to arrive 5-10 minutes early just to ensure that the technology works. Always come prepared and make sure your devices are charged. You should set a reminder that you have a call coming up, just like you would do for any normal meeting.

 

2. Turn on the camera

If you don’t like to look at yourself on the screen, don’t fret. You’re not alone. Nobody looks perfect on a computer screen. But it’s a fear that most people quickly get over after a few meetings. Most video applications actually allow you to hide your individual feed. Use that feature if you think it will create less of a distraction for you.

 

3. Appearance

Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in work mode. You still need to be professional and look presentable. Sit up straight and be engaged. Dress for the people you are conferencing with, just as you would if you were at an office location. It might be uncomfortable for other participants if you have joined the virtual meeting wearing your pajamas.

 

4. Smile and Be Yourself

The purpose of videoconferencing is to replicate a face-to-face meeting as much as possible. Just because your physical setting is different, it doesn’t give you permission to act or behave any differently. You should use the same facial expressions you would use in a face-to-face meeting. If someone makes a joke, smile. Make sure you’re reacting the same way as you would in a physical meeting. Relax and just be yourself.

 

5. Presentation

If you’re working at home, make sure your surroundings are presentable. If you have a home office in a separate part of your home dedicated to your remote work, great. If not, you should find a quiet space in your house or apartment that has very few distractions. Make sure there’s nothing embarrassing or unprofessional on the wall behind you. You should treat a video conference call the same way you do when you invite guests into your home.

 

6. Lighting is important

Make sure you can see yourself clearly before you join the call. Don’t sit with your back to a source of light or a window. It doesn’t have to be studio-grade lighting equipment, but the room should be well lit.

 

7. Remove Distractions

Make sure everyone in your home knows you have a call. As adorable as it might be for young ones running into the room to jump on mom or dad’s lap, it takes away from productivity. Also, nobody likes trying to talk over barking dogs or a lawnmower. Keep pets out of your office or work area when you’re on a call and close the window.

 

8. Mute yourself when you’re not speaking

Consider muting yourself when it’s not your turn to speak, especially if there’s a prolonged stretch of the conversation when you are not up to speak. Sometimes the technology is too good and can easily pick up noises like breathing, sneezing, tapping pens, helicopters, and even road traffic can get picked up by microphones and cause unnecessary distractions for those participating.

 

9. Invest in a quality headset

Most laptops are equipped with microphones and speakers located near each other. This causes something call echo. Echo can be very unpleasant for all participants involved. A quality headset can help eliminate echo and provide more clarity to both you and the other participants on the call.

 

10. Speak normally and clearly

If you followed step no. 9, then there’s no need to raise your voice or speak too quietly. Chances are that people can hear you just fine, as long as you’re speaking clearly.

 

11. Troubleshooting

In the event of an audio or video failure, most video conferencing platforms have a chat feature for the participants to communicate with each other. If not, use these hand signals to troubleshoot:
Thumbs up = yes
Thumbs down = no
Hand by ear = can’t hear
Raise a hand = requesting to speak

Protecting AV Clients from Cyber Attacks

Each year, we hear about cyber attacks and breaches from companies of all sizes. Hackers are getting smart and know to look for the weak link to gain access into a company. Network-connected AV equipment is vulnerable, and clients need to understand how to guard against malicious intrusion.

AV professionals should be well-versed on the subject of cloud security and have the ability to provide you with all the information and support you need to stay vigilant and avoid attacks.
With that in mind, here are the Top 3 threats our clients are facing when it comes to AV security, and the strategies they need to have in order to respond.

 

1. Cloud-Connected Equipment

Network connectivity is the root cause of AV cyber vulnerabilities. We’ll explore some specific vulnerabilities, but this is where all threats start. To understand how vulnerabilities spread, here are a few terms to understand.

  • An attack surface is basically all of the exploitable vulnerabilities in AV installations. This can include hardware, software, and the humans who interact with either of these. It includes applications both outside and inside of the firewall, and any software that processes incoming data, email, and attachments. It includes the people who work in these networks and use any of the hardware or software in the company’s AV ecosystem.
  • An attack vector is the means of egress – it is the path a hacker takes to gain access to a computer or network server.

Any cloud-connected device is vulnerable. If you use a digital display, or video conferencing platform, or microphones and speakers, you are potentially at risk. If an interactive whiteboard being used in a conference room, and which some participants are accessing remotely, that whiteboard, with all that great information about business plans and strategies, is vulnerable.

 

2. Voice and Smart Technology

Newer vulnerabilities come from voice controls and other smart technology. AV technologies like smart digital signage, voice-controlled smart speakers, AI-based video security platforms, and AV automation systems are all avenues for hackers to gain a foothold in an organization’s network in order to do harm.
There has been a lag in getting up to speed on how to manage voice and smart technologies as they interface with AV systems. As AV and IT continue to converge, organizations will need to become as immersed in smart technologies as much as they are in other aspects of IT. Your AV provider can assist with understanding how to manage the vulnerabilities inherent in the use of voice technologies.

 

3. Internal Threats

Did you know that over 30% of cyber-attacks are the work of current or former employees? From deleting data to an outright attack, internal threats should not be overlooked. All businesses want to build a culture of trust but also remember to not get too trusting of employees when it comes to cyber-security. There is just too much risk at stake.

 

Correcting Vulnerabilities

How can you best be prepared? Here are some steps to take to correct vulnerabilities to cyberattack in AV:

  • Restrict Access – You are likely familiar with multi-factor authentication and role-based access control. These are ways of restricting access to only those who need access to perform their job functions. But when deadlines loom and task lists are large, sometimes access protocols get sidelined. Stress the importance of ongoing vigilance in restricting and monitoring access.
  • Update Continuously – Hopefully, updating software and installing patches are standard operating procedure for you. Make sure they are.
  • Segment Networks – While total segmentation may not be possible, become familiar with the principle of Least Route to limit the physical and logical connections between networks.
  • Filter outbound traffic – Security breaches often rely on outbound connections sending data to hackers. By vigorous filtering protocols, you can reduce this risk.
  • Monitor logs – Most AV devices now have the ability to log activity. But that doesn’t do any good if the activity is not monitored. Have your AV provider help set up procedures for monitoring activity logs on networked AV devices.

 

Whatever the surface or vector, the threats inherent in networked environments are out there and the threats are real. But these threats can be mitigated. Understanding vulnerabilities and keeping strong, clear communication will go a long way in helping to establish cyber-threat protocols. This is how to keep everyone vigilant for threats and aware of how to handle them.