Technology

Soundscaping gets smart: a natural solution for office noise

How can the office environment be responsive to noise distractions? Beau Wilder of Plantronics talks to WORKTECH Academy about nature, noise and how we can react proactively

Noise is the number one complaint in the workplace – if this isn’t understood from first-hand experience, it is certainly demonstrated through the research. Just one study from US Berkeley’s Centre for the Built Environment found that of the 65,000 end users they surveyed, the majority identified speech distraction in the open office as the biggest issue in the workplace.

Beau Wilder, speaker at WORKTECH San Francisco 2018 and vice president of Habitat Soundscaping at Plantronics, explains in this exclusive video that, as humans, we are programmed to tune into speech. This means that when people are talking around others trying to do concentrated work, it can be extremely distracting. Wilder believes that the answer lies in enabling technology that allows us to disguise distracting speech in a more sophisticated way than just masking the sound.

Plantronic’s Habitat Soundscaping is designed to disguise speech through natural sounds and images using a responsive intelligent system. Research has found that water has just the right acoustic properties to disguise human speech; complemented with visual aids, such soundscapes create an environment people want to be in. Is it finally time to turn down the volume on noise complaints in the office?

More on the scientific evidence for soundscaping in the Innovation Zone here

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