Every quarter IBERIABANK, a 127-year-old subsidiary of IBERIABANK Corporation, hosts an earnings report between 200 industry analysts through recorded audio conferences. When its New Orleans location outfitted an executive conference room with upscale audio conferencing solutions, it wished to ensure that the system would perform to the high standard needed to provide the best communication for these reports, as well as the many collaborations it takes place in throughout the year.
Designed to accommodate up to 24 participants, the room’s initial setup included two hanging ceiling microphones for capturing audio across the space’s entire 30-foot conference room table. This arrangement posed several challenges for ensuring optimal audio quality. Participants sounded distant to call recipients since the ceiling microphones could not be adjusted, nor could they be placed closer to executive team members. This problem particularly impacted members at the far end of the table and participants with more soft-spoken voices. Additionally, the microphones were picking up ambient noise that would disrupt the calls, such as rustling papers on the table and sirens from ambulances driving through the city.
The ceiling mics were picking up ambient sound from the city outside.
Raising the ceiling microphones’ volume was initially considered yet quickly deemed unhelpful for solving this audio challenge since it increased noise and amplified the discrepancy between loud and soft-speaking participants’ voices. It became clear that a new solution would be needed. They called on Summit Integration Systems (SIS), the same integrator that had performed the initial install, to come up with a solution to their problem.
“Audio quality will always be better when a person’s mouth is closer to the microphone,” says Cliff Stromeyer, Systems Designer for SIS. “With a table mic, the microphone can be about two- to three- feet away. It’s a difference of it sounding like someone is talking to you on a speakerphone with the ceiling mic, versus, with microphones on the table, it almost sounds like someone is talking on a handset.”
It was clear that IBERIABANK would need a table mic solution, but several other problems arose with this type of system. The company wished to maintain the clean, upscale design of the room, which meant installing a solution that covered the space without running wires throughout. The only storage area was a small closet with insufficient ventilation for rack-mounted gear, so any equipment would need to be stored in a location 250 feet away. This meant finding a solution with remote capabilities.
"IBERIABANK and SIS eventually agreed on Revolabs’ newly introduced Executive Elite wireless microphone system. Twelve microphones were initially purchased, with four more added post-installation. Slightly tilted in their design, the angled microphones are modeled to best pickup participant voices while rejecting ambient tabletop noise such as paper shuffling and laptop fans. The mobile, tabletop mics allow for two participants to share a microphone that sits within a few feet of each member. Audio quality within the room is further improved thanks to Revolabs’ “Designed for Speech” technology, built-in equalization, and advancements such as an improved signal-to-noise ratio.
The Executive Elite architecture allowed for two remote antennas to be placed within the small closet in the executive conference room. A standard CAT6 cable with Power over Ethernet support connects the antennas to two base units stationed in a separate location 275 feet away. The wireless microphones can be placed anywhere in the room and still receive full reception. When not in use, the microphones are held in a charging base that also fits into the slim closet attached to the conference room.
Fulfilling the need for easy operation, the tabletop microphones feature a simple single-button interface that enables muting and un-muting for users while integrated indicator lights clearly identify the mute status of each unit. IBERIABANK can also use a “chairman override” function that allows a single person to mute/unmute all microphones at the touch of a button. The Executive Elite microphones allow up to 20 hours of operation on a single charge, while intelligently conserving power when not in use for stand-by times of up to 72 hours.
The Executive Elite microphones allow for two participants to one microphone.
“We found a need for extended battery life with some meetings being held from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.,” says David Erwin, Senior Vice President of Telecommunications/Executive Support/AV/M&A at IBERIABANK. “The new generation mics are bigger and tilted toward the speaker, which gives it more of a directional approach. That little design change helped tremendously. Meeting attendees can have paperwork behind the mic, turn the pages and it cannot be heard.”
Executive Elite’s functional design, distributed architecture, and cloud-based capabilities allow IBERIABANK to conduct conferences calls with superior audio quality and clarity. The enterprise is completely satisfied, stating that the overall sound performance at the latest earnings report conference call was the best to date.
“We record all earning reports so we go back and listen to previous meetings,” says Erwin, “It’s just a world of difference.”
About the author
Jonathan Blackwood is an editor for Corporate TechDecisions, aimed at bringing important information to tech decision makers in the corporate world. Jonathan joined Tech Decisions in 2014 and specializes in technologies that help to innovate and improve business practices for companies of all sizes.