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Sound and vision in MTRs

Although the camera position in Microsoft’s enhanced meeting room at The Hive caused a big reaction, the audio treatment here created longer aftershocks. Why?

Sound and vision in MTRs

Using a small form-factor camera and moving it out into an optimal position in the free space of the room marked a design move which can only but be developed from here.

However, its deployment in the form of a soundbar raised additional questions in terms of achieving Microsoft’s overarching objectives of creating a seamless interaction between in-person and remote participants.

The visual cues from the large projected Front Row layout screen here are strong, with the array of remote participants self-presenting at near lifesize and eye-to-eye height with the in-person participants. But how do we deliver the auditory cues whereby each remote participant’s audio apparently comes from their onscreen position?

When many vendors are showing products that apparently can deliver Microsoft’s stated vision of delivering a true spatial audio experience, why is a soundbar the preferred option to be promoted?

I’m not going to speak for my friends and colleagues within Microsoft, but I’d express it like this. What we are seeing at The Hive represents somewhere near the top of the pyramid in terms of what an MTR can be like. But what’s your budget cap? What are your particular performance priorities?

Senior personnel in any organisation will be happy to spend the money to have a handful of premium workspaces for their own use. But what about mass deployment for the troops? 

This is where a critical analysis of the required user experiences and their workflows is required: a detailed planning phase before the budget is drawn up. Or. A reverse engineered analysis of what has to be prioritised once the budget holder says you can’t afford 100% of the functionality you think is needed, and you have to settle for less!

My team and I consult in these specialist areas of standards, display design, space design, lighting and VC lighting design. Our services are provided through AV consultants and integrators to be compatible with your existing working practices.

Posted: 3rd August 2022

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