Panelists, from L to R: Rob Badenoch, TAD Associates; Andy Niemann, Sennheiser; Greg Harper, Harpvision /Gadgetoff
Greg Harper, led off with a presentation on the evolution of office design philosophies up to the current trend of open floor plans with small collaborative (or huddle) spaces. He then demonstrated how he has gone about outfitting this kind of environment by example of Neuehouse, an membership-based, “airline club”-like shared workspace and collaboration facility with locations in Manhattan and Los Angeles.
“Basically today, to be connected, all we really need is a connection screen—that can be a laptop, a phone, or a tablet—but we still need audio to collaborate,” Harper said. “We all worry about the video, but in fact audio is probably the more important part.”
What makes audio a more important factor, he explained, is because today’s open floor plans, like the core areas at Neuehouse, involve people working on different things in close proximity. To prevent this from becoming a productivity-robbing distraction involves careful acoustic design, as well as users having a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
“Really high-quality audio is really important for business communications,” Harper said. “There are times you want to just go into an office and close the door, but you can’t do that; there’s no more door to close. So having something you can put on your head that will do that, and will actually sound good, is important.”
As for his personal choice of headphones, Harper extolled his Sennheiser MB 660 UC MS model of wireless, Skype for Business-certified noise cancelling cans, as an ideal solution for conducting calls in close proximity to others—as well as for uninterrupted relaxation with entertainment.