Zoom and Krisp

We started using Zoom for video conferencing last year and it has been a huge success. We began with one mobile cart affectionately dubbed the “Zoom Mobile” and now have three Zoom Rooms, each with its own hardware. For those unfamiliar with Zoom, it is a newcomer to the video conference scene, particularly popular among educational and research organizations. Zoom offers a simple and intuitive interface that the big names, including WebEx and GoToMeeting, lack.

Among the raving reviews, the one complaint that I get from our research and admin teams is background noise. We are using high-end, sensitive, MLX boundary microphones that pick up any sound in a 25 foot radius. Unfortunately, this includes computer typing, paper shuffling, and chair moving. At the beginning of our last meeting, one of the remote participants asked everyone to keep the typing and background noise to a minimum - not so easy with a packed boardroom.

I have observed that once you learn about something you are more likely to find it in your daily interactions. You have a higher subconscious awareness and it seems that all of a sudden that new thing you learned about is everywhere. I find this particularly true with learning new words. Your brain skips over words that you don’t understand, so when you learn a new word, your brain suddenly starts picking it up in conversation. It’s not that people are using the word more often, but it seems that way.

I’m not sure if it was this effect or luck, but I opened Hacker News when I got back from the meeting and clicked on the following link: “GKrisp.ai – Mute background noise during your calls”. Krisp claimed to not reduce, but eliminate/mute the background noise during calls. I tried it out with our board Zoom Room and it worked like magic. Voices were crystal clear and background noises were gone. Krisp is now installed in all of our Zoom Rooms and will provide a better experience for everyone.

This lightweight app saved me hundreds of dollars on new microphones to cut back on the background noise. It is a fine line between a microphone being too sensitive and not sensitive enough; now with Krisp, the line has vanished and we can focus on the meeting again, typing and all.

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