Today workers often don't have private offices, but instead work from a cube farm. This office design maximizes the use of expensive office real estate. Its open plan and high person-density often leads to background noise; people talking and office machines whirring. It’s not an environment appropriate for speakerphones, with users more likely to use a telephone handset or wear a headset when using the phone or participating in a video call. A headset works well at picking up the speaker, but it often also picks up the background noises, distracting people on the other side of the phone or video call.
To solve this problem, Polycom developed the Headset Acoustic Bubble. It is built into RealPresence Desktop for Windows clients. While it is still an "experimental" feature, this Headset Acoustic Bubble dramatically reduces the background noise from the office by comparing sound on the headset microphone and the built-in microphone on the laptop or web cam. If the sound comes from inside the bubble, it’s allowed. If the sound is outside the bubble, then it’s automatically muted, without requiring any user intervention. The goal is to make it easier for people in a noisy environment participate in voice and video calls.
Headset Acoustic Bubble is built into the RealPresence Desktop ver 3.1 for Windows, and is enabled under Settings/Audio Devices. It works today with USB headsets. Full support (e.g. not "experimental") including support on Mac OSX is expected in ver 3.2 of RealPresence Desktop.