The Cone of Silence – A Lesson on Sound Masking:
I met with a client recently. They have remodeled their law offices and have some privacy problems. The biggest problem is that conversations conducted in the Board Room can be clearly understood in the adjoining reception area. The rooms are separated by a beautiful glass wall with frameless glass doors. The air gaps around the doors allow sound to travel freely into the reception area for all to hear.
In the course of the conversation, we learned that they had purchased sound masking from the AV Company that had installed the beautiful video conferencing equipment in the Board Room. After listening and searching for equipment, I was not able to find any sound masking.
We found the local expert and learned that to activate the sound masking, you just press a button on the video conference room controls and boom, the speakers in the conference room light up with white noise.
The result of this is that people in the room talk louder so that they can hear each other. “What?! I said turn that down!”
The noise had no effect on the folks sitting in the reception area. They continued to listen to the conversation unimpeded. The Board Room had become The Cone of Silence from Get Smart.
Lesson 1: Put sound masking where the listener is listening.
Lesson 2: Hire a specialist for sound masking. When it comes to speech privacy, many AV guys don’t know what they don’t know