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Losing the Echo – The Primacoustic Principle
UK – Stuart Leader is a tech-savvy veteran of the AV industry. At the beginning of the year, in his role as director of POLAR’s integrated solutions division, Stuart was travelling around the UK, overseeing progress, managing the team, developing customer and supplier relationships, and bringing new brands into the POLAR portfolio. The company has moved from strength to strength since its foundation, and Stuart has played a significant part in its success over recent years. As always, there were never enough hours in the day.
And then, by mid-March, like the greater proportion of UK citizens, Stuart was in lockdown. Of course, it was not in doubt that POLAR would adapt to the profound circumstantial changes presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. So much of its range – be it in MI, Pro-Audio or Integrated Solutions – is all about improving communication and making life easier. In a world where everything from business meetings, live music and university lectures has migrated online, technology products and solutions to support and enhance the processes are in great demand.
Stuart already had an office at home, but the realisation that it was to become his base for the foreseeable future, prompted him to make some improvements. The occasional conference call was one thing, the daily demands of increased phone and video call traffic was another. With a comprehensive knowledge of AV and IT at his disposal, not to mention access to the most innovative products on the market, it might be imagined that the Leader home-office would now reach further into the realm of high level tech.
As Stuart himself says: “There’s no question that access to good technology can make things a lot easier when working from home. At POLAR we work closely with customers to help them deliver the solution that best fits the job, whatever the size and scale of a project. Our expertise helps to guide them to what will work best in a given scenario and that doesn’t always have to be the most complex or expensive solution.”
In his view, the pandemic has demonstrated how effectively, given the right tools, large numbers of people can comfortably work from home. It may be too early to speculate upon the extent to which this revolution in working practice will remain in place in a post-COVID-19 world, but the chances of the ‘home-office’ becoming more widely used, look strong.
The principal improvement Stuart made to his own office was one which he considers to be all too often overlooked: “Before you even think about the technology you're going to use, it pays to actually think about the physical characteristics of the space you’re in. Spare rooms for example, by their nature are often square boxes with lots of hard surfaces. This can mean they reflect sound and create highly reverberant settings, giving the impression to your colleagues on the other end of a call that you have relocated to a bathroom. If you’ve ever been on a call, particularly for any length of time, where one of the participants is in an acoustically bad place, you’ll know just how tiring and distracting that can be. Tackle the room first and the other things follow far more easily.”
The principle, he would argue, applies across the board. The application of audio technology in the wider world can often become a compromise, with integrators fighting against architecture and often facing the blame for poor hardware which ‘fails’ when in reality, it simply can’t compensate sufficiently for poor room acoustics. The creative use of acoustic solutions to address the inherent problems within a room go a long way to providing the platform for subsequent optimal use of technology. Something that’s as true of a spare room as it is of an entire floor of glass-fronted, open-plan offices. Taking his own advice, Stuart invested in a Primacoustic room kit.
Primacoustic manufactures acoustic treatments for the widest possible variety of applications.
The company’s ceiling and wall panels, diffusion products, bass traps and room kits are to be found everywhere from professional recording studios, through commercial, educational and worship settings, to the humble home workspace.
“I used the London 8 Room Kit, which is effectively Primacoustic’s starter kit for rooms of up to a hundred square feet. As would be the case for any POLAR customer, I spoke to one of our acoustics experts for advice about optimum placement and went for the paintable Absolute White option so I could match them to the decor. The high-density fibreglass panels tackle the fundamentals that affect any room: primary reflections, flutter echo and standing waves, and once they were in position and I’d added some carpet tiles for the floor, the effect was immediate. I’m far more comfortable with the ambience of the room and colleagues have remarked on the difference it’s made on calls.”
If work-from-home is indeed destined to be part of a new cultural norm, then equipping those work spaces with AV solutions that help create a relaxed, efficient and professional environment will be key. POLAR offers the full range, and in Primacoustic, possesses a useful, affordable starting point for a myriad projects. Lecture theatre, call centre, home office, home studio – the principle remains the same.
4th June 2020
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