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Immersive Audio in the Pandemic

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Immersive is a term that is widely used in AV tech these days as we explore new ways of making experiences both more engaging and more natural. This often applies to video, but although less commonly discussed, immersive audio is a trending technology that is being revisited in a time when less face-to-face contact has become a predominant theme in every industry.

Immersive audio can be defined as sound that is distributed from multiple sources in multiple locations enveloping an audience to create a more dynamic and multidimensional sound experience. It mimics the realism of sound in a natural environment in which it comes from every direction resulting in an audience who feel as one with the environment. Just as in the real world a listener can hear footsteps coming from one direction, a plane roaring overhead and a siren wailing in the distance. Combining this with visuals forms a complete experience that gives the audience a feeling of being an active participant rather than just a spectator.

Immersive audio has a role to play in the ongoing pandemic. The unique characteristics of this technology lend themselves to providing opportunities that can assist in maintaining safety, wellbeing, and productivity.

Sound Social Distancing

Because immersive audio is distributed from multiple locations, it is not concentrated in any one area, so audience members don’t need to congregate together to listen. They can remain socially distanced when there are groups to reduce the chances of spreading the virus. This can allow people to safely attend events.

Immersive Collaboration

Virtual meetings are here to stay, not just until the pandemic retreats, but for the foreseeable future. People have discovered the convenience of being able to quickly meet online without a long drive in rush hour traffic. However, these meeting lack the ability to engage participants in the same manner that a face-to-face meeting can. Immersive audio can assist in recreating that engagement by allowing people to experience a meeting from an audio perspective much as they would in person. From hearing the whisper in your ear from the person sitting next to you to experiencing the movement of sound from a person who is walking around the room this technology can give virtual participants the feeling of actually being there.

More Exciting Experiences

As businesses are attempting to recover from reduced turnout due to the pandemic, immersive experiences can provide unique and exciting entertainment to engage audiences and draw more people to an experience. Whether a movie theatre or museum, immersive audio can add a bold new element to renew interest and attract more people.

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