The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way organisations operate, with the accelerated rise of hybrid working increasing the importance of audio in business
The sudden mass shift to home working in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to embrace collaboration technology in ways they hadn’t previously. The result was a widespread realisation not only of the strong productivity people maintain at home, but of the crucial role reliable audio solutions play in maximising that. Importantly, it has ushered in an age of hybrid working sooner than expected.
When it comes to staying connected in this hybrid world, audio quality is clearly no longer a luxury. A recent global study of 2,000 business leaders by high-end audio solutions company EPOS found the role of audio is changing and it has never been a more significant business tool. Effective call quality leads to better customer service, employee engagement and collaboration, with four in five business decision-makers considering audio content to be very important and two in five saying it is essential.
“Working culture is changing and it’s changing very quickly,” says Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, president of EPOS. “More of us are connecting with customers, colleagues and other professional contacts using audio technology than at any time in history. And with this rapidly growing reliance, the grade of equipment and technology we use to have these conversations is, or should be, becoming increasingly important.”
With the already emerging hybrid-working trend accelerated by the current public health crisis, it is perhaps unsurprising that 83 per cent of leaders told the EPOS study that audio equipment has become more important to their business in the last two years. However, this is by no means a temporary trend that will be reversed when the pandemic is over. Just 2 per cent of decision-makers expect investments in audio equipment to decrease in the coming years, with 57 per cent anticipating an increase.
This is because when it comes to recreating a face-to-face conversation, audio is king. Two thirds of business leaders said the quality of audio technology is more important than the quality of a laptop or PC equipment in enabling good communication with clients. Across the board, audio quality is outpacing other equipment considerations in the unified communications decision-making process, with 49 per cent listing it as the most important factor, 56 per cent considering it essential to their business and 34 per cent saying it is desired.
“It is encouraging to see employers across all markets and sectors taking their responsibility to provide quality audio equipment seriously,” says Dalberg-Larsen. “Now is the time for leaders to ensure they have the right technology for the tailored experience that will help them deliver on their goals.”
Business leaders can’t afford for any parts of their conversations to be disrupted, which is why EPOS’s research found quality of sound was cited as the highest priority when searching for an audio solution. Companies also want to help employees work at their full capacity, requiring equipment that is effective, long lasting and easy to use. Premium audio, supported by technology such as artificial intelligence, will influence the optimal layout for businesses in a post-COVID world, helping companies to personalise their hybrid work experience.
“The 0.5 per cent you miss during a call becomes 100 per cent of your concern,” says Dalberg-Larsen. “EPOS audio devices allow you to not only hear, but fully understand everything being said, from explicitly stated information to implicit details carried by pauses and tone of voice. Users can also be confident their message is delivered loud and clear, thanks to noise-cancelling microphones that filter out background noise and enhance speech.
“In the future, I expect to see the global workforce move to fully embrace hybrid working, to a model where we won’t be in the office all the time, where people will work in a place that suits them. This will change the future of work forever, and audio and collaboration technologies have a vital role to play.”
For more information please visit eposaudio.com
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