With the world well underway into the new normal, the future of hybrid work continues to take shape. As some people opt to return to the office and others choose to continue working from home, the trend of virtual collaboration bringing teams together is likely to continue. According to recent research from IPSOS and EPOS, we now spend an average of over seven hours a week in virtual meetings – up two hours per week in the past year. With more and more businesses needing to ensure seamless communication for employees both in and out of the office, ensuring that the quality of those meetings isn’t compromised is of the utmost importance.
High-quality audio is arguably the most critical factor to enabling this seamless collaboration, however finding success in the hybrid working model is about more than just headsets. Rather, it’s about having an entire ecosystem of devices, including both audio and video solutions, to enable today’s professionals to thrive in the world of hybrid work – no matter where they are working from.
To do this, organisations will need to invest in technology that people on both sides of the conversation, can have confidence in. Research has shown that 88 per cent of decision makers say that bad audio has caused their company issues in the last 12 months, but 77 per cent of those decision makers also think that the right technology can alleviate those problems. This underscores the urgent need for businesses to equip their employees with the right technology so that they can focus their full attention on the content of the conversation at hand and engage fully with their fellow colleagues.
When considering this ecosystem of virtual collaboration tools, headsets or headphones are likely one of the first to come to mind, but it is important to understand the difference between the two. Headphones have an integrated microphone that is not attached or visible, and they are mostly used for listening to audio files such as music. Headsets on the other hand have an attached microphone that lets the user talk and are primarily used in video conferencing or video calls. So, when it comes to the workplace and the world of hybrid work specifically, headsets are ideal.
Products like the EPOS ADAPT 200 series are designed for a workforce whose audio devices need to reflect and enhance their shifting work environments and as such provide the versatility, flexibility and high-quality audio needed for online, on-the-go communication. Their lightweight and comfortable wearing style makes them ideal for use across office, home, remote and travel environments. Meanwhile, a noise cancelling microphone allows for enhanced concentration, removing unnecessary ambient noise and augmenting the conversation experience with EPOS Voice technology.
But, as I said, hybrid work is about more than just the headsets. At EPOS, we recognise that being able to read facial expressions and body language improves our ability to gauge people’s reactions to our ideas and allows conversations to flow more smoothly. Earlier this year we took our first steps into the video collaboration space with the introduction of the EXPAND Vision 3T – a video bar certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android. This simple and intuitive device was designed specifically for focus groups and small meeting rooms of up to seven participants. It also includes an integrated camera and microphone array beamforming technology that optimises conferences by delivering some of the clearest communication possible for all participants. Between the EPOS ADAPT 200 series headsets and the EXPAND Vision 3T video collaboration bar, today’s workers will not only be able to hear more clearly, but also see more clearly as they collaborate with partners and colleagues around the world.
The last component making up the ecosystem of devices for hybrid work is a speaker, such as the EXPAND Capture 5. This intelligent speaker for Microsoft Teams Rooms levels the playing field and empowers professionals whether they’re working remote or from the office. With a high-quality speaker that automates live transcriptions, remote participants can easily follow along with what is being said and by whom – allowing for optimal collaboration and communication.
Hybrid work is here to stay, but there is still something to be said for the ‘human connection’ people get from face-to-face interactions. This means that replicating a natural experience in the virtual world is more important than ever – a feat which can only be achieved by investing in the right technology. Equipped with premium audio and video solutions, employees will truly gain the best of both worlds, regardless of location.
Theis Mørk is vice president of global product management at EPOS
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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