IMAGINE a protected space around you where nothing but your voice is heard despite the near proximity of, in this temporary age of work-from-home, children, noise from the tricycles outside and the neighbor’s chicken’s crowing.
Called the Polycom Acoustic Fence, the technology uses multiple microphones to create an unseen “audio fence” so that sounds from “outside of the fence” are blocked completely and only the voice of the person using the system is transmitted.
This is one of many technologies Plantronics (a.k.a. Poly) showcased to tech journalists in a virtual press conference. The gathering also revealed a report that highlights a granular shift in focus from “place” to “purpose” of work as businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Companies that can are redesigning their operations to include even greater work-from-home activities and are reinvent operations to not only include but consolidate out of city co-working spaces, ergonomic at-home work setups. These conditions require having new physical arrangements for audio and video transmissions outside of the usual PC camera and headset, as the effects of the pandemic epitomize a new age of hybrid working.
“We think that current practices will evolve into a hybrid arrangement in the long run, where employers and business leaders will rethink working patterns and work towards new work policies that instead place more emphasis towards flexibility on when and where work is done. This can include efforts to look beyond the traditional company office space to create collaborative and tech-enabled personal workspaces anywhere,” Samir Sayed, Managing Director, ASEAN & KOREA, Poly said replying to a question from Malaya Business Insight on how long does he predict
Drawing on experts in the future of work, workspace design and psychology, the Poly report, “Hybrid Working: Creating the “next normal” in work practices, spaces and culture,” sets out the path to the “next normal,” where employees enjoy flexibility and choice, and businesses thrive through motivated, collaborative and productive teams.
“The ongoing pandemic has upended the way businesses operate in the region, with organizations forced to either adapt, or risk being left behind. Looking beyond the first phase of workplace transition to adopt Remote Working, we are now witnessing a shift towards a new way of work – Hybrid Working. Businesses that stand to thrive in this ‘next normal’ will be those who prioritize human connections and collaborations as they look to reinvent current work practices, spaces and culture for their employees,” Pierre-Jean Châlon, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Poly said.
According to Sayed there can be in several ways by which companies can support the creation of a professional home office.
“Whether enterprise home setups where workers are supported with enterprise-grade technology such as noise cancelling headsets, or dynamic video bars like our Studio X series. Organizations may also choose to invest in co-working spaces outside major cities to attract talent, as well as establishing smaller satellite offices dispersed across more locations to access a more diverse pool of talent,” he said.
When asked if these device can thrive in the slow speeds and intermittent connection in the Philippines, Hee Bun Low, APAC Product Manager, Poly replied saying, “while bandwidth speed and stability remain as important criteria, technology has come along so far in Poly’s devices as well as Cloud video platforms (eg: Zoom, Teams). As such, the solution as a whole will try to adapt to the situation and ensure that the user still gets video. For video conferencing nowadays, suggested bandwidth is around 768Kb/s to 1Mb/s, for 720p HD.”
Sayed also said that the future of “Hybrid Working” as defined in Poly’s report, requires a new playbook, and one that we are having to write on the fly as we learn what works, and what does not.
Thus, as organizations respond, redesign and reinvent their business models, technology will play a fundamental role in enabling the shift to hybrid working.
“As teams become more disconnected physically and connected virtually, technology becomes the key that bridges communication between and across teams to optimize work efficiency and productivity. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses will need to respond, redesign and reinvent their practices and meet their challenges head on, adapting to whatever changes they face,” Chalon concludes.