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    What does bad audio mean for your business?

    What does bad audio mean for your business?

    What does bad audio mean for your business?
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    By CNBCTV18.com Contributor  IST (Published)

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    As per research, only 38% use Skype for Business in their company, 27% use Microsoft Teams, 10% use of Zoom

    We're all familiar with the disruptions bad audio experience can have on day-to-day working life whether it be during internal and external meetings to more critical events such as shareholder debriefs and C-suite level interviews. However, is a call dropping out or overall poor-quality audio more than just an annoyance? According to EPOS’ latest global study, ‘Understanding Sound Experiences’ – the repercussions of bad audio reach far beyond just a simple irritation. Whether it be a decrease in productivity, to dissatisfied clients the consequences of bad audio are many.
    Over the last decade, we’ve seen our workspaces and the way we work undergo a dramatic transformation from an increase in open-plan offices, to developments in technology most notably, unified communications and voice assistants. With almost half (43%) of the workforce expected to be more mobile by 2022, one thing is clear - audio technology will play a crucial role in facilitating a more flexible, functional working environment for the future workforce. However, if companies ignore and fail to address the small annoyances, they currently have with their audio technology, they risk a substantial loss in productivity and resultant revenue loss. In fact, our research has shown that some decision-makers have even lost a new business pitch/tender as a result of low-quality audio, highlighting the detrimental impact bad audio can have on a business.
    The productivity puzzle
    It is common knowledge that there is a global productivity deficit – the productivity puzzle has been going on for over a decade now and doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon. To remedy this, the recent increase and introduction of more flexible, remote, and on-the-go working measures are aimed at enhancing productivity levels across industries. By equipping employees with the right tools, it allows them to be more time-efficient as well as focus on the more strategic tasks at hand. Without having to worry about noisy commutes, getting peace and quiet in a busy office environment, or battling it out for meeting rooms.
    However, our global research study, which surveyed 2,500 end-users and decision-makers of audio equipment, revealed that 69 percent of employees spend extra time on their work tasks due to poor sound quality, with an average amount of extra time being spent on work per week totaling 29 minutes. This time could not only be put to better use, but it also negatively impacts workers’ wellbeing, causing unnecessary stress. With a staggering 87 percent of end-users surveyed having experienced at least one pain point due to poor sound quality, it shows that if the audio technology being used is of poor quality, instead of helping with productivity levels it is hindering them, making it difficult for the many benefits of good audio to be realised.
    Furthermore, with just under 90 percent of those surveyed having had difficulty making phone/internet calls because of background noise, bad connection, interference on the line or having to repeat themselves on more than one occasion, how can employers realistically expect their teams to be efficient?
    Luckily for us, in today’s digital era, the technological breakthroughs we’re seeing in the audio sector - such as artificial intelligence being integrated into headsets to monitor the users’ auditory preferences, to collaboration software being used in speakerphones - are bringing us closer to an age of convenience and ease of connectivity. In fact, 79 percent of those experiencing audio pain points believe good audio equipment (such as headsets, headphones or speakerphones) is the right solution to solve their workplace challenges.
    Considering this, it is clear that companies have a responsibility to not only their business but their employees, to provide them with the best equipment to ensure optimum productivity levels as well as maintaining their competitive edge in the market.
    Encouraging collaboration – no employee left behind
    As we move towards more remote and flexible working, one pressing worry businesses have is how to keep morale and communication levels high, preventing employees from feeling isolated and distant from what they’re working on and who they’re working with. In response to this, we’re expecting a renewed commitment from the industry to foster better tech collaboration and integration into our day-to-day lives to ensure no employee is left behind.
    According to our research, of all end-users surveyed, only 38 percent use Skype for Business in their company, while 27 percent use Microsoft Teams, and 10 percent make usage of Zoom. We’re expecting to see these figures rise in the coming years. With collaboration software still in its infancy, many companies are yet to fully realise the benefits they can bring into day-to-day working life. There is a lack of awareness of how this type of software will not only enhance work performance but also radically improve employee health and wellbeing, which is quickly becoming the key differentiator for employees choosing a new job.
    However, with many Enterprise headsets and speakerphones being Teams certified with a designated button on the device, anyone with one of these certified audio solutions can instantly activate the Teams app, giving users instant access to schedule meetings, organise calls via your contacts and call history, initiate video calls as well as access to your calendar - helping to not only drive efficiencies but allowing them to stay connected wherever and whenever.
    It is clear that employees would benefit from high-quality audio solutions to keep productivity and well-being in an increasingly remote working environment. Luckily, we see that 93 percent of decision-makers are planning to purchase these within the next 12 months to keep up with the latest technology as one of the primary drivers. This is expected to include collaboration tools like headsets and speakerphones that match the ongoing UC deployments, where the importance of the endpoints is getting clearer. You simply won’t get the full benefits of a UC deployment without thinking about the full experience to end. So, in the future, we will also see organizations naturally deploy headsets to employees joining – just like laptops and phones – having even more focus on all-around work tools that match the needs of the modern worker.
    Video conferencing use in the workplace over the next year and beyond is also expected to surge, hoping to resolve these issues. Long gone are the days of being stuck to your keyboard, staring at your computer screen for hours on end – this scenario has been replaced with a world where you can work anywhere, and do most tasks with the sound of your voice. The benefits of video conferencing are endless as it gives workers the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, its cost-effective and time-efficient as it saves employees from having to travel long distances for meetings. By introducing all these measures, businesses open themselves up to a whole new talent pool enabling them to recruit the best of the best.
    Overall, for these new measures to be successful and beneficial to businesses, it comes down to the quality of audio. Without clear sound and undisrupted connection, video conferencing, as well as headset and speakerphone use will be redundant, and successful remote working will be a pipedream. Enterprises must ensure they’re investing in high-quality audio solutions/endpoints to safeguard employee productivity and overall satisfaction with the total solution. Ultimately, those businesses that fail to keep their finger on the pulse of the latest audio developments risk being left behind and losing out to their competitors.
    The article is authored by Theis Moerk. He is the Vice President of Product Management, Enterprise Solutions
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