Polycom Gets Smart with the Cone of Silence (aka Acoustic Fence)


A new Polycom feature called Acoustic Fence reminds me of one of my favorite childhood TV shows, a Mel Brooks comedy from the 60’s called Get Smart.  The show featured a plethora of futuristic gadgets including telephones that were built-in to almost everything.  Anyone that has seen the show will remember the shoe-phone, a device  that required the show’s protagonist, Maxwell Smart, to take off his shoe in order to talk.

Another gag on the show was the “Cone of Silence“, transparent plastic spheres that ensconced participants in a top-secret bubble.  Invariably, the device would malfunction, requiring the characters to shout loudly in order to be heard by each other (and allowing them to be heard by anyone else in earshot).

While the schtick was quite funny on the show, the new Polycom feature is anything but because it promises to solve a problem that plagues telephone users working in the “open plan” offices that are popular today.  Specifically, the new technology is designed to eliminate background noises by creating a ‘fence of silence’ around a Polycom VVX series  phone running UC Software 5.3.

Although it was originally developed as part of Polycom’s video conferencing suite, the feature has recently been added to VVX phones.  It is perfect for receptionists that frequently handle phone calls and in-office visitors simultaneously, contact center agents that work within close proximity to other agents, or anyone that uses the phone in an inherently noisy environment.   The technology uses algorithms to detect and block noise.  It eliminates unwanted background noise – such as peripheral conversations or printer rattle – by matching the sound level between the VVX phone’s speakerphone microphone on the one hand, and the handset (or headset) microphone on the other.  By selectively cancelling out sounds from beyond the ‘audio fence’ only sounds within the “bubble” around the handset are transmitted – everything else disappears. This ensures that conversations are not superimposed by the surrounding noise of an open-plan office, but remain clear and understandable.

As with all telephone features, this option can be easily enabled for a single user or an entire office with a simple 1-line override in the fully-automated SkySwitch Device Provisioning Server.  When combined with the many advanced features of the SkySwitch hosted PBX and Contact Center solutions, the new Polycom technology contributes to a solution that is truly futuristic.

Remember:  Your success as a hosted PBX reseller depends on your ability to customize the look and operation of the phones that you deploy.  SkySwitch makes this easy to do. The SkySwitch device provisioning server enables remote provisioning and management of all the major SIP phone and ATA devices, including Polycom, Yealink and Cisco among others.   To learn more, contact a SkySwitch white label VoIP specialist today.