The hybrid work model is here to stay. What started off as a temporary response to the Covid-19 pandemic when organisations scrambled to provide employees with the tools necessary to conduct business outside of a traditional workplace is today an integral part of every business. As collaboration solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Webex were employed to maintain communication with employees and customers, video technology emerged as a vital tool. And pivotal to this video conferencing experience is robust, professional-grade audio technology, without which no collaboration portfolio will work. Video is only a part of the solution, as a meeting or conference can still be meaningfully conducted without it, while a video conference without audio will make no sense.
This makes integration of flawless, high-quality audio into a collaboration portfolio essential for a hybrid work model to be effective. “The ability to see and hear who is talking in a crowded meeting room gives a greater sense of connection. And the greater the connection, the better the employee experience and levels of productivity,” says Cyril Matar, Regional Sales Manager at Shure MEA. Matar says there are several challenges that businesses face when it comes to collaborative technology. These include products with limited capabilities being deployed in unsuitable environments, budget restrictions, complexity of installation and scarcity of AV professionals with the necessary technical skills. “In AV and conferencing systems, there are several solutions and technologies involved: video, audio, software, and it’s fundamental that they collaborate and connect seamlessly. When they don’t, it negatively impacts teams’ productivity and creates unnecessary frustrations, leading to time waste and mental burnout.”
This is where the choice of right technology that strengthens collaboration assumes great importance. While integrating remote and in-room meeting participants with flawless audio, businesses should focus on deploying a flexible product portfolio that works seamlessly together. It is also important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There is no better solution than leveraging a comprehensive ecosystem of solutions to right-fit your collaboration spaces.
“Our audio solutions can help solve those issues as they are easy to integrate and combine with other AV platforms while remaining user-friendly. With our audio devices, teams can connect, collaborate, and communicate efficiently – focusing on what is important: their meeting,” says Matar, pointing to the product portfolio of Shure, which has been a market leader in professional audio technology ever since 1925 when Shure Radio Company was established in downtown Chicago.
From designing huddle and small meeting rooms and enabling mid-size and large meeting rooms, to outfitting demanding or challenging collaboration spaces and ensuring flawless and collaborative audio experiences, Shure has a solution that fits the hybrid work requirements of any size and scale. The brand offers entire ecosystems that offer customisable solutions to integrate collaboration technologies.
“The Microflex Ecosystem and Stem Ecosystem provide high-quality audio for customers, whether their needs are simple or complex,” explains Matar. For corporations, governments, higher education, or greater organisations that might have bigger investment possibilities, he recommends the Microflex Ecosystem portfolio, which recently added the MXA920 Ceiling Array Microphone that brings outstanding audio quality to even the most difficult meeting and teaching spaces. “These devices undergo exhaustive development processes and quality tests in our labs and easily integrate with third-party AV equipment. They also allow spaces to adapt to different situations. We know that some broadcasters and film production companies have been using some Microflex Ecosystem solutions on set and in studio.”
With its Stem Ecosystem portfolio, Shure offers a customisable solution that require a more straightforward audio and control package that local IT teams can deploy in standard meeting rooms.
For small businesses or simply smaller meeting rooms within a larger AV project, these solutions can make sure consistent and effective audio is provided. Thanks to the recently announced firmware 2.5, it is easy to use, scalable and can be combined with other communication platforms. “Stem Ecosystem is a great solution, as it can be installed and scaled by IT teams without specialist AV skills; it can be configured for every type of meeting and teaching space to give a cost-effective, and user-friendly communication experience,” says Matar.
Shure’s Microflex and Stem ecosystems also promise to let users seamlessly expand and manage an entire audio chain over any network infrastructure and even remotely manage several conference rooms across an organisation. Given these capabilities, the brand has made sure there are technologies in place that help secure sensitive data in these ecosystems. Shure Network Audio Encryption uses a user-configured pass phrase on each Shure device. Only Shure devices with the correct pass phrase will permit audio to be heard. With Shure Network Audio Encryption enabled, Dante (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet) audio is encrypted before being sent over the network. When it is received by another Shure device that supports this feature, it is decrypted and forwarded for IntelliMix processing or analogue conversion.
“This is a valuable tool in the IT manager’s security toolbox,” Matar points out. “While no network is completely secure, Shure Network Audio Encryption can be combined with other network security measures like device access control and network partitioning to create a multi-layered security solution.”
Shure’s main focus remains providing reliable and high-quality audio gear wherever customers and the industry need them. The brand has supported companies in different spaces such as pharmaceuticals, finance, local and national governments, higher education institutions, and more. Apart from products for conferencing, Shure also produces wireless systems for live events and broadcasting, as well as microphones for podcasters, gamers, and content creators. “We make products for high-stakes moment on stage, in the studio or in the meeting room with the goal that our customers sound extraordinary and can always rely on Shure,” says Matar.
Shure is showcasing its state-of-the-art audio solutions at Gitex Global this week.