We all know what noise is and that it can come from many different sources. From the nice neighbor next door drilling holes in the wall, the air conditioner, roaring traffic from a nearby highway, approaching airplanes etc.
Whether we interpret it as disturbing or not is based both on the volume and whether it’s positively or negatively perceived. Compare your favorite song for example to the whining sound of a dental drill in an adjoining room.
During a teleconference, noise can come from the room, a fan or from general office buzz. It can come from cables or from the actual device.
The way the brain works is like this: if you can see the noisy fan on the wall, the brain understands where the noise is coming from and will gradually filter it out. This phenomenon is called psychoacoustics. Since the person at the other end of the line cannot see the source of the noise, he or she will not be able to ignore it and consequently, the noise will be much more disturbing to that person.
To solve this, some sort of integrated noise cancelling is required. Static noise, that always sounds the same, is easier to filter out than temporary noise that resembles speech. The challenge for a conference phone is that the solution has to be adaptive and adjusted to varying conditions. A little like the brain adjusting for the fan.
The device has to “learn” the disturbing sound and create a counter-phase sound that subtracts the noise so that it doesn’t cause disturbances.
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