Since Covid-19 started, there has been an exponential increase in the use of videoconferencing solutions all around the world. As many businesses decided to keep their employees working from home, videoconferencing has become part of the new normal for business.
Due to this demand, there was a great deal of competition going on between different videoconferencing solutions. However, for many professional individuals and organisations, Microsoft Teams came out on top as the best solution around. Companies like TechQuarters – who provide managed IT services London businesses used a lot during the pandemic – ended up deciding to go completely remote, even getting rid of their offices, and relying on solutions like Teams to support both internal and external business communications.
Teams’ AI-Powered Audio
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Microsoft have actually put extra focus on developing the meeting features in Teams. This is because meetings have become particularly critical to businesses that are remote – it is the primary way in which colleagues, teams, and departments communicate with one another in the absence of face-to-face communication. According to TechQuarters, Microsoft’s goal is to make their video meeting experience as effective as in-person collaboration. One of the ways they are achieving this is by investing in AI and machine learning to power the experience.
Let’s look at how AI is powering the audio capabilities of Microsoft Teams meetings…
Background Noise Suppression
The first aspect to look at is one of the first AI-fuelled features that Microsoft began working on for Teams. Background noise can be distracting and disruptive in meetings, and thus Microsoft Teams is able to reduce background noise. It is able to do this with the help of machine learning, which enables the platform to learn what background noise sounds like (based on common examples like dogs barking, doors slamming, etc.) Microsoft have been working on this for a while, and now background noise suppression is a standard feature of the meeting experience for all users.
This audio capability is about reduce the instance of audio feedback loops that can arise when a participant’s microphone and their speaker are too close to one another. If the mic picks up sound from the speaker it can create a feedback loop that sounds like an echo. Using machine learning and AI, Microsoft Teams is able to detect the presence of unwanted audio signals (such as this type of echo), and therefore is able to cancel it out and isolate participant’s voices.
Room acoustics refers to the way that sound bounces off – or is absorbed by – walls and furniture in a room. Sometimes, the room acoustics of a room can affect the way a microphone pics up a participant’s audio. Microsoft Teams’ machine learning and AI is able to isolate the sound of a participant’s voice, regardless of the room acoustics, and then apply enhancements to the voice to make it sound clearer. This features ensures that people in a meeting always have clear vocal audio.
Two-Way Audio Transmission
Using the same types of tools and approaches with the previous capabilities, Microsoft Teams are able to isolate participant’s voices in a meeting, which enables participants to speak over one another. Normally, when a computer tries to transmit multiple different audio streams at the same time, the results can be unpredictable, and random audio signals may be created, making neither voice easy to hear. In isolating participant’s voices, and eliminating unnecessary audio signals, Microsoft Teams is able to support two-way audio transmission that is much closer to in-person human conversation.=
The audio capabilities of Microsoft Teams are among the most advanced of any videoconferencing solution currently available on the market. TechQuarters, for instance, rely on it heavily when providing IT support Birmingham and London businesses rely on, as it enables them to communicate with customers easily. Many businesses now rely on Teams for internal communication two, and hopefully by looking at the audio capabilities, one can see how suitable it is for all businesses.